How to Succeed In A Job You Hate

You don’t like your job. Even if quitting were an option, leaving immediately usually is not the best thing for your career.

Usually people hate their jobs for one of two reasons:

  1. The job duties are difficult, unfulfilling or do not match their career goals.
  2. The people they work with are incompetent, have bad attitudes, or both.

Either way, in most situations you need to survive in that bad job until you find a new one that’s a better fit for you.

There are some benefits to having a bad job. Learning how to do your best every day in a job you don’t like can help you:

  • Find your personal or career purpose and clarify your #CareerID
  • Focus on your values
  • Build your Professional Community and networking skills
  • Practice your work and learning style
  • Discover the management style you prefer to embody
  • Plan your next career move
  • Earn income until you go to your next opportunity 

Here are five tips for succeeding in a job you hate.

Stay focused.
It’s easy to forget what’s important to you when working in a toxic environment. You might spend so much energy trying to please a difficult boss, for example, that you lose sight of the real purpose of your job. Find ways to remind yourself of your reasons for working.

Create a focus statement for yourself. For example, “I am here to support my coworkers, and give excellent customer service to my clients.” Keep a copy of your statement at your desk. Recite it as often as you need to.

Connect with your allies.
If you don’t like the company or your job duties, the odds are your coworkers are also unhappy. Connect with one or two people you trust and who want to find ways to stay positive and productive at work. Avoid people who only complain about work and offer no real solutions. Offer support and receive help from your Professional Community. 

Separate your work and personal lives.
Your career is an important part of your life. Your career is not your whole life.

When your job is not going well, be careful to not let that negativity affect your personal life. Focus on your strengths and the positive parts of your life.

Prioritize your mental health. Make time for rest. Spend time with people you like and who like you. See joy and laughter in your life. This will give you energy to deal with conflicts at work.

Look for the light at the end of the tunnel.
All jobs are temporary. When you are in a job you don’t like, remember that things could change for the better. Your job duties might improve, or there could be changes in management that might make your job more enjoyable. 

Have a timetable.
No one should expect to tolerate a bad job for years. Set goals for yourself. Know when you can start applying for different positions within the company or looking for a new job. Sometimes you’re better off job searching after completing a major project at your current work, or finishing school. Know what milestones you want to meet before you turn in your resignation.

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Originally posted December 2011

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