I Hate My Job! How to Survive Your Workday While You Look for a New Job

Posted by in Career Success, Job Search | 2 comments

As you drive to work you wonder, “How am I going to get through today?”

You hate your job but right now it’s the only thing standing between you and the homeless shelter downtown.

Drowning under a mountain of paper
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: net_efekt via Compfight

You park your car, turn off the ignition and you begin to feel the zest for life being slowly drained from your inner being. Like bathwater after you pull the plug from the drain.

Sound familiar?

I hope not. However, I’m afraid it’s an all too common occurrence.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help yourself get through the day.

Here are six ways to survive your work day when you hate your job:

1. Know you’re not alone. The majority of American workers don’t like their jobs. According to a recent Gallup poll seventy-one percent of workers are disengaged with their jobs (HR translation: disengaged = hate their jobs). Seventy-one percent! This means when you get together with nine of your friends the odds are six of them hate their jobs too. For some reason it helps to know this.

2. Go outside. If your work environment allows you to take a break outside, do it. Something about being outside helps to calm us down. Take a walk down the street and back. If you already work outside, well, I’m not sure. Maybe go inside. The point is to change your environment even if it is only for a moment.

3. Have a friend at work. Research and polls have found those who have at least one friend at work will find their work more interesting. I must admit I’m lousy at this but I’ve seen it in action. I also think women are better at this than men (in my experience). Those who have a friend or friends at work have a built in support system every time they go to work.

4. Schedule some quiet time. I once coached a client who found he could change his attitude toward his job by scheduling times to get out of his cube. This client would take his laptop and go to the cafeteria to work and would avoid the constant interruptions associated with cube life. If you don’t have the luxury of leaving your workspace you may have to get creative. Put up caution tape around your work area, hang a sign on your back that says, “Do I look like a people person to you?” I don’t know, but do something to give yourself some much needed quiet time at work.

5. Focus on the future. This is the key to everything mentioned above. None of this will ultimately solve the root of your problem. It’s only a band aid. If you truly hate your job then you must start searching for another job or become self-employed. You can survive your workday if you know it’s only a matter of time until you’re on your way somewhere else.

6. Fake it. It does you no good to mope around co-workers. Unless they are your friend, they don’t care. They probably feel the same way. Your boss doesn’t want to see your sad face either. You’re not a victim. Remember, you make a choice every day to go to work or not. You are in control of your attitude. Smile, you’ll be surprised how it will help you survive your workday.

Now when you get to work you will at least have a plan. You may still hate your job, but you’re in control (at least a little more). Remember, this is only temporary. You’re working toward getting a new job or a new career you enjoy.


Question: What other tips do you have for surviving the day in a job you hate?

(Leave your comment below.)


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  • My version of taking a break is going and sitting in our bathroom. We have multiple one-stall bathrooms, so when you are in there, you are completely alone and no one else can come in. Sometimes I do this after moments of complete frustration. I’ll even going in there to stretch or do jumping jacks. 

    • We all need that safe place to go to collect our thoughts. Some personality types will be attracted to more solitary places and others to more interactive places. It sounds like you have found yours Alana. Some days will be better than others so keep looking forward and be kind to yourself in your job transition process.

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