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What do you do if you hate your job? Try these 9 tactics

June 21, 2022 - 17 min read

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What to do if I hate my job 

9 steps to take if you hate your job 

Should you quit your job if you don’t have another lined up?

I’ve felt like this before. 

The Sunday scaries hit like clockwork every weekend. You dread opening up your laptop or computer, even if it’s the simplest of tasks. You get anxiety thinking about your email, Slack, or to-do list. You can’t bring yourself to get out of bed because of how much you hate your job. 

So, what do you do if you hate your job? There are lots of different reasons why you might hate your job. It could be your relationship with your boss or manager. It could be the company culture or a mismatch in values. It could be burnout or early signs of burnout, increased workload, and a poor work-life balance

Whatever the reasons, there are a number of factors that contribute to why you might hate your job. And while you might feel stuck, you’re not alone. 

It’s estimated that the average person will spend a whopping one-third of their life at work. That nets out to around 90,000 hours at work over your lifetime. People spend an inordinate amount of time at work, more than some might even spend with family or loved ones. 

If you’re unhappy or unsatisfied with your job, it’s a risk to your well-being to not do anything about it. The good part? You can make changes for the better. 

In this post, we’ll talk about what to do if you hate your job. We’ll also talk through how to identify aspects of your job you dislike — and what to do moving forward. 

What to do if I hate my job 

Let’s first walk through some reasons why you might hate your job. After all, it’s important to reflect and identify what components of your job you dislike.

A bad manager can have a profound impact on your overall employee experience. In fact, according to Gallup, a bad manager can account for 70% of the variance, both negative and positive, in employee engagement. 

Connections also play a massive role in the employee experience. According to our new research, 53% of employees don’t look forward to coming to work because of colleagues. Beyond that, 43% of employees don’t feel connected to their colleagues. And 38% of employees don’t trust their co-workers. 

When we look at how connections impact your emotional well-being and mental fitness, it’s significant. Our data (cited above) shows that those with low social connections suffer. Employees in this bucket experience increased stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout. 

And without that connection, a crisis can brew. It leads to workers that have a 313% stronger intention to quit — and a 176% increased likelihood of serious job seeking. 

You might have found yourself in a job you hate. And for some, that might be looking for a new job. But before you jump into the job search and start churning out applications, take a minute to walk through these 9 steps. 

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9 steps to take if you hate your job 

Let’s break down how you can take action and put together a plan that works for you. We've compiled 9 steps that you can to help if you hate your job. 

1. Pause and reflect 

The first and one of the most important steps is to take inventory of your situation. Oftentimes when you’re in a less than desirable situation, it’s easy to keep going through the motions. Sometimes, it’s easy to overlook what about the job we dislike. 

When I was in a position when I hated a previous job, I took to journaling. I took out a pen and paper and wrote down the qualities and aspects of my job that I liked and that I disliked.

Similar to a pros and cons list, it helped me to physically look at my thoughts on paper. I realized that I liked some aspects of my job (like writing and storytelling). But I also realized that I hated others, like the work environment and workload. 

But had I not taken the time to reflect, I would’ve kept hustling through the grind. It wouldn’t have helped my overall well-being. I needed to bring the aspects that I hated to my consciousness. By being aware of what it is that I didn’t like, I could be more aware of the choices I made in response to those aspects.  

2. Examine your personal values 

If you loathe your job, what is it about your current position that makes you miserable? Take a look at the list you just wrote. 

Now, write out your own personal values. Do your values match your company’s values? Does your current job conflict with your personal value system? 

My husband used to work in the alcohol industry. After six years in the industry, he realized that many of the values in his work environment were in direct conflict with his own. He didn’t like the way leadership treated their employees. He valued integrity and doing what was best for the customer. Yet sometimes, his career called on him to challenge those values. 

So, he quit. He made a complete career change and now is working in his dream job. But it took a moment of reflection on values and values alone. By finding out your personal value system, you can use it as a compass for your life. 

3. Pinpoint what you dislike about your current job 

Now that you’ve reflected on your current experience and your value system, it’s time to identify exactly what you dislike. 

Is it the work itself? Is it the workload? Do you like the people but you don’t feel challenged or that you have a place to grow? Do you like the company culture but hate the job? Or, do you love the work itself but hate the company culture and the people? Is it leadership? Is it your colleagues or co-workers? Is it the industry? 

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Start to think through the exact issues at hand and identify what it is that you dislike. From there, you’ll be able to have clarity on what it is that’s important to you. You also will be better equipped to put together an escape plan that will lead you to a better place. 

If you’re not sure where to get started, consider talking with your coach. Your coach can help guide you through these difficult aspects of your professional life. 

4. Network with people 

If you hate your job, it’s likely you’ve considered making a change. Should you quit your job? Should you try to look internally at other positions? Does your company promote career mobility? Or do you need to learn about other industries, roles, and positions? 

Regardless of where you fall on the job search spectrum, networking can only do you good. Reach out to people on LinkedIn and ask for informational interviews. Grab coffee chats with co-workers in different departments or teams. Make the space for social networking and use the time wisely. Ask questions. Get curious. Listen attentively. Learn. 

5. Take care of your mental health 

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been in a position where I really hated my job. I could tell it was taking a toll on my mental health, so much so that even my close friends and loved ones were noticing. 

As hard as it is to prioritize yourself, it’s so critical to taking care of your mental health. As our data mentioned above, if you’re feeling disengaged and disconnected, it could have mental health impacts. Make sure you’re seeking the support that you need, whether it’s a mental health professional or a mental fitness coach. 

6. Do Inner Work® 

Inner Work® can be a part of your mental fitness and mental health care plans. At BetterUp, we’re committed to the practice of Inner Work®. It helps us achieve more clarity, make better decisions, and increases productivity. It also helps save us from burnout and helps to support relationships and connections with coworkers. 

But what is Inner Work®? It’s simple, really. It’s a practice that allows you to look inward — and it doesn’t have to be fancy or grand. For me, I spend a lot of my ​​Inner Work® time outside. I love hiking, going on walks, any sort of outdoor activity. For my teammates, some spend time relaxing and indulging in self-care. Others journal or meditate. 

Find what works for you. Inner Work® can be folded into your overall mental health and mental fitness care plans. 

7. Try learning something new 

If you’re ready for a better opportunity than your current job, it might be time for some learning. 

Learning something new can help as you upskill and prepare for the job hunt. For example, you can take a LinkedIn Learning course to add to your LinkedIn profile. You can enroll in a workshop or an online course. You can participate in asynchronous learning and learn at your own pace, on your own time. 

Whatever type of learning you want to pursue, figure out how to continue to build your skillset. Especially in a tight labor market, it’s important to diversify your skillset. By doing so, you'll make sure you’re best positioned for when that job interview comes along. 

8. Start looking for a new job 

If you’re ready to enter the job market, it’s time to do some more work. Yes, job searching can be a long, arduous process. Oftentimes, people joke that looking for a job is a full-time job. 

This is why it’s so important to lean into your connections, your skills, and your network. Connections in your personal life could also help lead you to a new position. Start putting feelers out into the ecosystem. Apply for jobs, but network as much as you’re applying. In fact, 31% of job seekers find their next position through networking

Your coach can also help guide you through the job search process. One friend recently worked with her coach through her job search experience. She had been interviewing with a few different companies and knew she wanted to make a career change.

But she wasn’t sure which direction to go. With the guidance from her coach, she was able to clearly identify her goals. And ultimately, she landed her new dream job in a new industry. 

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9. Invest in your personal development 

Your road to success isn’t a linear one. Throughout your career, it’s likely that your life will take a lot of twists and turns.

If I look at my own career path, I started out a high school English teacher. I worked as a freelancer, I worked in PR, I worked in corporate communications. I worked for a small agency and I worked for a large tech company. Yet today, I’m a writer here at BetterUp. And if you looked at my background with simply my current job title, it really doesn’t make much sense. 

That’s where personal development comes into play. How are you investing in you? What personal development goals have you set for yourself? What’s one thing you can commit to that will help you reach your full potential

With BetterUp, a coach can help you reach your personal development goals. We’re on a mission to help people everywhere live with greater purpose, clarity, and passion. And we take that mission seriously — it’s not just words on a website. Get started today

Should you quit your job if you don’t have another lined up?

This is a tough question. And in all honesty, it’s probably a question that only you have the answer to. But we can offer some guidance to help arrive at the right answer for you. Work with your coach as your guide for personalized support. Here are nine questions to consider before you quit without a job lined up. 

  • What does your financial wellness plan look like? 
  • Are you able to financially support yourself without a steady income? 
  • Do you have a side hustle you’d like to focus your efforts on instead? 
  • What sort of learning and development can you commit to if you quit your job today? 
  • Have you explored all of your options with your current company? 
  • Can you move to another team or role internally? 
  • Can you reduce the number of hours you work until you find something new?
  • If you quit your job today, is anyone in your personal life impacted? If so, how? 
  • Do you have access to healthcare and benefits? 

Before you put in your two weeks’ notice and submit your resignation letter, think through some of these questions. 

And don't overlook the value of a coach. With BetterUp, you can help to design an exit strategy from your current position that puts your needs first. With virtual coaching, you can unlock your full potential. 

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Published June 21, 2022

Madeline Miles

Madeline is a writer, communicator, and storyteller who is passionate about using words to help drive positive change. She holds a bachelor's in English Creative Writing and Communication Studies and lives in Denver, Colorado. In her spare time, she's usually somewhere outside (preferably in the mountains) — and enjoys poetry and fiction.

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