What to do When You Hate Your Job: Six Steps to Take Before Jumping Ship

Whether you’re underpaid, your boss is awful, you’re under-recognized, or the job is just simply boring, there are plenty of reasons why you may be unhappy at work. Many people go through this challenge in a job. But just because hating your job is not an uncommon feeling, that doesn’t make it easier if you’re miserable. Being unhappy at a job can take a toll on your mental health, physical health, and overall well-being. However, before waving the white flag and quitting, try these six steps first because working through a difficult time in your job can be beneficial in the long term.

Try building connections with co-workers:

Making friends at work isn’t just about having others to commiserate with, although sometimes that certainly helps. Developing genuine connections with your colleagues can make work feel more meaningful and fun. It also gives you something to look forward to every day, even if you dread the actual work. Ask a co-worker out to lunch one day or bring coffee and donuts in as a way of starting personal conversations and boosting morale. Try taking advantage of team days and participate where you can. Try getting involved before heading out the door.

Identify problem areas, including what you can change and adjust:

Before making any hasty decisions, consider some helpful adjustments. If you can identify specific things that are causing you stress or unhappiness at the job, take steps to remedy them. Having problems with a co-worker? Set up a time to meet in person – maybe with a supervisor – to talk it out. Don’t understand what’s expected of you? Ask your boss for clarification or request setting up monthly check-ins. Making positive changes where possible can make a world of difference in your overall happiness at work.

Give yourself time:

Did you know that it takes six months to one year to adjust in a new job, especially if that new job is at a new company. Corporate onboarding takes longer than a few weeks or a couple months. But many employees only give themselves 3-5 months to adjust to a new role or job. If you just started a new job and are already unhappy, it can be tempting to just throw it all away and leave. But don’t jump ship just yet. Sometimes all it takes to warm up to a job is getting your feet wet. Acclimating to a new environment, learning your responsibilities, and getting to know your coworkers could change your opinion of the job. So before rushing out the door or branding your new job as horrible, give it a chance. Remember the statistics and give yourself a good year before making any decisions.

Sometimes work isn’t the problem:

It’s called transference—when we transfer feelings about one thing onto something else entirely. Look outside of work and be honest; low life satisfaction can make work a lot worse than it might be otherwise. Sometimes what we think is just aggravation caused by work is actually a deeper issue. Reflect on what’s causing your stress, anxiety, or sadness. Talking with a friend or therapist could help you figure out how to make positive changes in and out of work. If the problem is that work simply isn’t fulfilling you, consider looking outside your job for mental satisfaction. A volunteer position, new exercise or sport, or just a new hobby could help fill the void left by an unsatisfying job.

Burnout is real:

According to the World Health Organization, burnout is a syndrome thought to result from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It comes with feelings of exhaustion, negativity, and reduced productivity at work. If this is the case, you don’t hate your job. Rather, you’re suffering from burnout, which in turn makes you feel like you hate your job – and everything that comes with it. There are many things you can do to restoke the flame, including utilizing employee assistance programs (EAP). You can also talk to your boss about working from home one day a week or creating 40 hours within a four-day work week during off-peak season. Self-care goes a long way to reducing job burnout.

Request more performance reviews:

Doing this allows you to gain knowledge of what your strengths are, what you are getting better at, and what needs to be improved upon. It also allows you to feel more appreciated for the work you do. If you think that your scope of work should be different or that you can handle more responsibility, you’re perfectly justified to tell that to your supervisor – it should be easier, too, since it doesn’t involve giving them feedback on their behavior. This is where requesting more performance reviews comes in handy and goes a long way to helping you feel better about the job you do!

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