We’ve all had the experience of working in a job we hate. And it sucks. You feel uninspired, trapped, and just deflated. But the most important thing to remember is that you can take control of the situation.
In this article you’ll learn some of my best tips for ejecting yourself out of a bad career situation. Think of it as an action plan you can start implementing immediately, to inject some fire back into your career!
Start Looking Around For Other Jobs
I know this sounds downright obvious, but the hardest part of getting out of a job you hate is breaking the inertia of “routine.” Too often we put off leaving a bad job because we’re comfortable. We don’t like the job, but we don’t hate it either, and we just kind of settle.
That complacency becomes resentment, and pretty soon you wake up one day and can’t even bear the thought of another day in your job. So be proactive. Get on job sites like Monster, Indeed, and LinkedIn, and start seeing what’s out there. It’s a small, but big step. It shows you’re ready to make a decision, you’re ready to take action towards building a better career, and it’ll instantly improve your state of mind.
Reach Out To Recruiters
Recruiters have pros and cons. Yes, they can be really helpful at connecting you with employers and seeking out opportunities on your behalf. On the other hand, you can’t control a recruiter. You can control how many jobs you apply for online, and how many resumes you send out, but you can’t control how hard a recruiter works on your behalf.
So reach out to a few and make some connections, but don’t 100% rely on them to find your job for you. That said, they’re a necessary part of any dream job getting strategy, so I strongly suggest reaching out to a handful.
Consider A Change Within The Company
Maybe you love the company, but you just hate the job you’ve been boxed into? Or the job no longer excites or challenges you? If this is the case, then you may be able to switch roles within the company. This can be tricky to manoeuvre, as reaching out to another department head about this will no doubt feed through to your manager or executive.
That said, if you’re a great employee then your HR department won’t want to see you go. Especially given your knowledge of the company. Plus, bringing your unique skillset to a different team could even make that team more agile, and stronger. So definitely entertain this option if it resonates with you.
Stay Professional To The End
There’s nothing worse than finishing your job on a bad note. I worked with a guy who was our SEO manager, and during his last few weeks he hardly rocked up to work. And when he did you could tell he loafed around, and even left early a bunch of times. Even though I knew he’d done great work at the company, the way he finished up left a lasting impression on me (ie: I would NEVER recommend him for another company). He showed a lack of character and professionalism.
In the height of workplace conflict, during negotiations, when things don’t go your way, if you’re being retrenched, or if you’re looking to quit, it’s crucial to always be professional. Don’t talk trash about people, don’t dampen morale with venting and complaining, and don’t spread a “woe me” story about your situation throughout the office. Be a pro. Your reputation is a career asset, and you need to guard it at all costs.
Keep Your Intentions To Yourself
If you’re looking to change jobs and step out of the company, keep that information close to your chest. You have absolutely no idea how long it’s going to take to land your next job. It might take a few weeks, a few months, or up to a year, so don’t go around telling everyone you’re looking to quit. Your manager or executive might catch wind of this, and send you on your way before you have a chance to land the next gig.
Even if you’re as thick as thieves with your co-workers, do yourself (and them) a favour and keep it to yourself. It’s also bad for morale to tell your co-workers that you’re looking for another job. They might assume you’ve already mentally checked out and decide to exclude you from certain important projects, and conversations.
Should You Stay At Your Job Just For Money?
This is different for everyone, and it depends on your situation. Generally speaking, I wouldn’t suggest staying at your job just for money. That said, I also don’t recommend quitting until you’ve lined up your next job. But there are lots of things to value in a job other than money…
These can include a sense of community, a sense of purpose, feeling like you’re contributing and growing, and just the enjoyment of using your skills and being around other people. But like I said, if you’ve got kids and a broader family and dependents to support, then it may be worth sticking it out until you line up your next role.
Is There A Way To Stay Happy In A Job You Hate?
This question kind of answers itself. It’s like saying, “is there a way to be happy marrying someone I hate?” It just doesn’t make sense. If you hate your job, then you hate your job. Sure, having a positive and professional outlook, and focusing on the big picture can help. But ultimately, remaining in a job you hate will erode your happiness, not improve it.
The Psychological Effects Of Hating Your Job
Your job is a massive part of your life. You spend at least 8 hours a day there, roughly 40 hours a week, 160 hours a month, and 1,920 hours a year there. Spending that amount of time doing something you hate will take a significant toll on your mental well-being.
Your deflation, resentment, anger, bitterness, and feeling of helplessness that you feel about your job may start to bleed into other areas of your life. It may start to shape your interactions with your friends and family, and even your worldview. This is where you start to find yourself caught in a vicious cycle. You think that just because things are the way they are now, that that’s the way they’ll always be.
It’s Time To Take Action Towards Landing The Next Dream Job!
The important thing to remember is that you’re in control of your career. If you’re in a role or company that you hate, then it’s time to take some action. In my article on landing a dream job, I break down the exact strategy I’ve used to land two incredible jobs in a row. It’s a system for reverse engineering your ideal job, and you can take this system and start using it today!
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Will Vaughan is the Founder & CEO of Your Career Mastery. He’s dedicated to helping young professionals discover and land the job of their dreams using a mix of proven strategies, tips, tools, and mindsets. He currently works as a Content & SEO manager for a 100 million dollar tech company in Melbourne, Australia.