I Hate My Job: What Can I Do? (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Dec. 3, 2020
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“I hate my job.” Have you said that phrase before? Almost every single person has at least once in their lives. Whether it’s because there’s something particularly unpleasant you have to do, or it’s your ongoing mantra, and it runs through your head constantly.

Obviously, hating your job once in a while is pretty standard. Maybe you have to fire someone, and that’s hard for you to do. Or you sit next to someone who drives you crazy. Perhaps you have to give a presentation, and you feel nervous. You are working the early shift, and mornings just aren’t your thing. If you’re in that boat, then consider yourself lucky – and pretty normal.

The real problems start if you’re already dreading Monday on Saturday, you get sick thinking about work, and unhappiness bleeds into every aspect of your life. Then you’re someone who truly can’t stand their co-workers and hates their job. These are signs that you need to consider a career change – fast.

Keep Your “I Hate My Job” Thoughts to Yourself

The best piece of advice if you hate your job (even if it’s a temporary thing) is to keep it to yourself. Of course, you can tell your significant other or a close friend. In fact, you should have a trusted soul you can vent to – it helps. But don’t advertise your loathing to anyone else, especially co-workers. That can be one of the best ways to get fired before you’re ready.

This is such an important piece of advice that it needs to be pulled out and put ahead of all other tips. And it needs to be repeated – which it will be.

It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people walk around their office mumbling about how they hate their jobs. And it’s not just the words you say. Think about the attitude of people who hate their jobs. You can see it right away if you start looking. What about the appearance of people who don’t want to be there? It definitely shows. Even the way unsatisfied employees treat co-workers makes it obvious that they hate everything about work.

Is announcing your dissatisfaction going to help you love your job? Most likely, that answer is no. Keep that in mind and use the following tips and suggestions to help rediscover what a job you love can be like.

What to Do When You Hate Your Job

You’ve got that feeling. You’re unhappy, and you dread going to work. You’d go so far as saying that you hate working. It’s more than dissatisfaction; you need a change.

  • Keep it to yourself. We warned you we’d repeat this. And yes, for all the reasons previously stated, keep your unhappiness to yourself for the time being.

  • Find out why you hate your job. This is super-important. Do you hate it day in and day out, or is it just a situational thing? Can you narrow it down to what you hate about it?

  • Look for a solution. If you discover that it’s just one thing you hate, can that be remedied? At this point, maybe you find that there is a solution, and you need to express your unhappiness to a supervisor or your boss. They might be able to help you find a fix to your problem.

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    As an example, maybe the work has become tedious. Letting your boss know you’re interested in learning how you can move up the ladder can be a good thing. Or, maybe your unhappiness comes from sitting in an area that’s noisy and distracting. That’s a quick fix and can boost your job satisfaction immediately.

  • Look for another job. You’re not always going to find that the problems at work are simple or easy to fix. Sometimes you realize you’re in the wrong field. No matter what the situation, just looking for another job can help you feel proactive. It also gives you an idea about what the current job market is.

  • Take time to evaluate. Not just your current job, but evaluate yourself. What makes you tick? What do you love to do? If you could have any job in the world, what would it be? Don’t make the mistake of taking the same job with a different company if it’s the job you hate. It might be time for a career change.

  • Learn new things. If you’ve discovered that you hate your job because it’s something you don’t want to do – congratulations! This is a huge step. It’s not just about a career change at this point; it can be a whole life change.

    Of course, that’s never easy. In most situations, you’re going to have to learn new things to take a new job. This might mean taking night courses while holding down your job. It could mean saving money so you can quit and go back to school. It might also be a good time to bring your boss into things and tell them what your plans are. Maybe your job will pay for education and help you fit into the right position. It’s all dependent upon your situation.

  • The co-worker conundrum. Do you hate your job because you hate your co-workers? It happens. So, what’s the best fix? If you like the work you do, maybe you can find another part of the office to work in. Perhaps you can work from home. Maybe you need to find another company to work for; just remember you might run into the same problem there.

  • Is your boss to blame? Sometimes it’s not the co-workers that make the job intolerable; it’s your boss. If you’ve got a toxic boss, there might be no way around it. You either learn to tolerate them or quit. If there is another department where your talents fit, you might be able to transfer to it. Or if you’re in a situation where there’s clear harassment, then it’s time to report that person.

  • Your job is a dead-end bore. You’ve hit the apex of your career, and you’re suddenly bored beyond belief. Dead-end jobs are the worst if you’re a go-getter. It’s no wonder you hate your job. If you can’t go anywhere in your current career, then it’s time to move on. Just make sure you’re not quitting without another job lined up. There’s no reason to put gaps in your employment history if you don’t have to.

Tips for What to Do When You Hate Your Job

Okay, so you know you are unhappy, and it might be time to move on, but what do you do in the meantime? What tips can help you wait until a job offer comes along and it’s time to officially give your two-weeks and turn in your resignation?

  • Don’t tell your co-workers. Yes, this is just a different way of saying, “keep it to yourself.” At least for the time being, you don’t want that knowledge to be public information.

  • Change your perspective. Guess what, you now have hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. You’ve pinpointed why you’re miserable, you’ve decided on a solution, and you’re going to work toward it. Sure, things are still the same at work, but just knowing you’re doing what you can to get out can help.

  • Don’t be rash. Too many people just get fed up and quit on the spot; no resigning, no notice, etc. This can really hurt your career, especially if you need the income until you find a new job or need the old job to be your reference.

  • Start searching. Don’t just look for any job – unless you’re in a horrid situation – but look for your dream job. Why not? You deserve it.

  • Make the most of your situation. You’re actually in a pretty good place. You have an income, and you know what you want. All you have to do is figure out how to get there.

  • Have proactive conversations. Sure, you were all about venting to your bestie and spouse in the beginning. Now it’s time to change your tune. Complaining only puts the spotlight on your problems. It keeps you stuck in that rut that you’re desperate to escape. Change your conversations and make them about what you’re going to do to make things better. You’ve got this.

When It’s Time to Move On

Eventually, you’ll get your ducks in a row. You’ve gone through some additional training to make you more desirable as an employee. Maybe you’re switching careers and finally got that degree. Whatever the situation, you’ve lined up a new job, and you finally get to quit the job you hate. Sayonara, horrible job.

But you’ve got to hold it together just a little bit longer. Again, burning bridges professionally can light a fire to your career, and you may see it go up in flames. Follow these steps when it’s time to quit your job.

  • Boss first. Resist the urge to tell co-workers that you’re quitting before you tell your boss. Even when you get that job-offer call on the phone, and you’ve got to tell someone, save it for people outside of your job. Then, when you quit, tell your boss first.

  • Give adequate notice. Sure, the rule of thumb is two weeks’ notice, but this isn’t a law or anything. Some jobs require more time to find a replacement. Other jobs will walk you out the door on the day you give notice.

  • Give formal notice. You need to tell your boss, and in-person is probably the way you’ll do it. But turning in a formal resignation letter is essential. It gives everyone a record of the date you’re giving notice and your last day of work. It can also build goodwill and help you get positive referrals in the future.

  • Be professional. Even if you want to tell them where they can stick their job, and you want to unload all of the unhappiness you’ve had, you shouldn’t. Now, that doesn’t mean that you can’t express some of your dissatisfaction in your exit interview. You certainly can, but you need to do it in a very professional manner.

  • No counteroffers. If you truly hated your job, then a counteroffer with more pay and vacation will not make it better. It might be tempting, but don’t do it.

  • Help with transitions. If you are staying for two weeks or longer, offer to help train your replacement and assist in any way they need it. Again, you’re going to want future references.

  • Celebrate. Whether you ask your favorite co-worker/friends to join you for a drink after work or you have a full-on blast at home with non-work friends and family. Maybe, for you, a celebration is simply a new pair of shoes. Whatever form it takes, you deserve to celebrate your successes and accomplishments.

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Chris Kolmar


Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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