I Hate My Job. What Can I Do?
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The average American spends approximately 90,000 hours at work throughout their lifetime (source). Clearly, a huge portion of our lives is dictated by our jobs. It’s alarming then, to learn that of all American workers, less than 50% report feeling any positive connection to their job, or experience enjoyment as a result of their work. There are countless studies and statistics detailing the widespread levels of job dissatisfaction across the US and the figures are all pretty bleak.
While feeling dissatisfied with your job or even feeling that you actively hate your job can easily leave you feeling resentful, unhappy, and unprosperous, it’s important to recognize that you are not alone in feeling like this. Unfortunately, it’s incredibly common to feel this way.
Thankfully, however, there are several steps you can take to increase the levels of enjoyment and satisfaction you get from your job and allow yourself to reach your potential both in and outside of the workplace.
It’s unreasonable to suggest that you call your boss right now and hand in your resignation, so first let’s consider the many options that are available to you before reaching that point. If your hatred for your job persists, then it might be time to look for something new.
Common Causes of Job Dissatisfaction
Whatever the cause of your job dissatisfaction, it can often feel like you are completely alone in this situation. You might worry about approaching the subject with people within or outside of your workplace, for the fear of losing your job or appearing negative and unappreciative.
It’s important to remember that feeling dissatisfied with your job is so much more common than many people are led to believe. Here are some of the most common reasons people cite for their job dissatisfaction:
1. Your Boss
We’ve all heard the horror stories – nightmare bosses expecting employees to go above and beyond, sacrificing their whole life for a job with little reward or recognition. Unfortunately, many of us have also lived through it. Now, this is a tough one because there’s a good chance you might actually enjoy your job if you didn’t have to answer to your nightmare boss.
Feeling that you can’t approach your boss because of their negative attitude or bad temper creates an incredibly hostile and unpleasant working environment, particularly if you feel that you are being singled out at no fault of your own. Unfortunately, this is an extremely common cause of job dissatisfaction.
2. Your Co-Workers
Working with others presents the opportunity for a myriad of other issues. It’s a fact of life that we are not going to get along with everyone that we meet, and this goes for our co-workers and colleagues as well as anyone else. If you’re struggling to get along with your co-workers, each workday can feel like being back in the playground dealing with childish jibes or unhealthy resentment.
Anyone who works in a communal space will know how detrimental a negative workforce can be to your productivity and general happiness, so this is a big issue for a lot of people.
3. You’re Underpaid
Another hugely widespread issue, it’s thought that around 46% of US workers feel that they are being underpaid. If you feel that your time or work is not being adequately valued and you’re putting a lot into your job without sufficient rewards, it’s easy to become disillusioned with the work and lose your motivation.
The issue might stem from feeling overqualified. If you’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars to gain an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, only to find yourself in a minimum wage job that you don’t feel utilizes your skills and knowledge, you might feel frustrated and underappreciated.
4. You’re Overworked
According to the American Institute of Stress, 40% of American workers consider their job to be stressful, and 29% believe it to be the major stressor in their life. With a huge amount of workers in the US working well over the standard forty hours per week, it’s easy to see why they’re so stressed!
When you’re overworked, your social life, downtime, health, and wellbeing can all be forced to take a back seat. Feeling that your job is taking over your life can be extremely overwhelming and stressful. There is a range of studies and statistics showing that a huge amount of workers believe this to be the case in their job.
5. It No Longer Interests You
As human beings, our interests and priorities are constantly shifting and changing. You might have started work at the age of 20, loving your job and taking a great deal of satisfaction and pride in your work. Ten or twenty years later, you might find that your goals or interests have changed and the job no longer fulfills them.
Personal development and growth are imperative to our own mental wellbeing and stimulation. Unfortunately, however, the somewhat precarious nature of the job market, the fear of having no income, or even the fear of starting something new means that many of us are more likely to stay in a job that no longer interests us than to take the plunge and find something that does.
What Can You Do if You Hate Your Job?
Now that you’ve established the many contributing factors that might be leading to your negative feelings towards your job, let’s consider how you could go about rectifying the situation and achieving more happiness, job satisfaction, and overall better quality of life.
1. Figure Out Why You Hate Your Job
You should always start by thinking about exactly what it is about your job that you hate. It could be any of the reasons listed above or a whole plethora of other reasons, it’s equally likely to be a combination of reasons.
Immediately quitting your job when you start to feel any level of dissatisfaction may be a little irrational, and probably shouldn’t be your first port of call. The only way to tackle your workplace issues and attempt to make your job more enjoyable is to figure out what exactly is making it un-enjoyable.
From here, you have a range of options. The job may be salvageable, in which case you can take various other steps listed below to attempt to get more pleasure from your job. Alternatively, you might decide that the job is simply not for you anymore and there is little for you to get out of it. In this case, it’s probably best that you begin looking into a contingency plan for how you will make your exit.
2. Find Ways to Make the Job More Enjoyable
If you decide that the job has the potential to be more enjoyable, you’ll want to start trying to make that a reality. This might involve taking on new roles or responsibilities that you find rewarding and interesting. Alternatively, it might involve reducing your workload in order to manage stress levels. You could enquire into whether or not remote working is a possibility that may be allowed within your job.
Your line of action here really depends on the specific job and the reasoning behind your dissatisfaction. There might be some things you can do yourself to make the job more enjoyable, but it’s likely that in doing this you will need to liaise with your boss or co-workers. This leads into the next tip…
3. Talk to Your Boss
Whatever the reason for you hating your job, you’re probably going to need to talk to your boss at some point, whether it’s to hand in your letter of resignation or to discuss your options.
This can be extremely helpful and often people find that simply by approaching the subject with their boss, they are able to tackle many of the issues they are facing and find ways of adapting the job to make it more enjoyable.
However, for those that experience job dissatisfaction as a result of their boss’s management style or general demeanor, this can be a little more complicated. You should still try to approach your boss with the problems. Regardless of their personal feelings or your relationship, it is part of their job to hear you out and work with you to tackle any workplace issues.
If you find that your boss is unreceptive to your problems or unwilling to help, consider who else you can talk to. Companies should have an HR department or an external union who should be more than willing to assist you.
4. Take Up a New Hobby or Learn a New Skill
Because we spend so much time at work or thinking about work, it’s easy to attribute all our negative feelings to our jobs. Often, this comes down to the fact that we’re simply not taking the time to explore other aspects of our personalities and interests.
Taking the time to learn a new skill or take up a hobby out of work can lead to a huge increase in happiness, self-esteem, and general feelings of positivity. As we’ve established, a huge number of Americans feel that they are being overworked, so might feel that they don’t have the time to learn something new on top of their ever-growing workload. It’s important to tackle this issue and set clear boundaries between your job and your personal life.
Of course, it is important to work and earn a living to support yourself or your loved ones, but it is equally important to take time for the things that interest you outside of work. Sports are great as they increase physical activity levels, meditation or yoga are excellent for calming the mind and becoming more relaxed, and artistic hobbies like drawing or sewing allow you to practice your creativity in your downtime.
Whatever you choose to embark upon, it’s bound to lead to a more well-rounded life.
When you’ve exhausted all other avenues and feel that the job is simply not a good fit for you and your goals, there is absolutely no shame in quitting. Life truly is too short to spend countless years in a job that you’re getting nothing out of and is making you miserable.
If you’ve been saving money consistently and are able to quit your job and take some time out of work to figure out your next move, that’s wonderful. If not, you might begin searching online for new jobs or alternative earning opportunities prior to quitting your job. This means more stability and less time without a regular income.
Whatever your circumstances, strive to exit your workplace on good terms if possible. It’s likely that you might need a reference from your employer at some stage in the future, so before you write a scathing letter of resignation and walk out of the office in a blaze of glory and righteousness, think of your future self.
By all means, be honest when it comes to your reasons for leaving, this could aid the company in providing more job satisfaction for future employees. But always be respectful and maintain your dignity.
Alternative Earning Opportunities
So you’ve quit the job you hate, or you’re looking to at least. Where can you go from here? Standard 9-5 working might be an excellent fit for you and your lifestyle, but more and more of us are looking into alternative ways of earning money.
Your job dissatisfaction could be linked to a lack of freedom and flexibility, limited earning opportunities, or the long commute into the office every day. If this is the case, there are so many options for you to consider that eliminate each of these issues.
Here are just a few ways of earning a respectable income that isn’t your typical 9-5 Monday to Friday job.
The luxury of working from anywhere you choose in the world is a prospect that many people consider being but a pipe dream. Something that sounds amazing, but isn’t possible unless you’re a high-flying social media influencer or a high-earning entrepreneur. This could not be further from the truth.
More and more people are turning to remote working as their sole source of income. Sites like UpWork, Freelancer and Fiverr make remote working accessible to almost anyone. Whether you’re a skilled writer, designer, transcriber, administrative assistant, or even a teacher, the world is moving online, and there’s no reason that you can’t capitalize on this.
The number of companies that are looking to save on office costs or simply to outsource aspects of their work to contractors or remote employees is constantly growing.
If the mundanity of working in the same building every day, carrying out the same commute, and seeing the same faces is contributing to your lack of job satisfaction, why not look into remote working?
Freelancing is another way of increasing the flexibility and freedom afforded to you in your line of work. As a freelancer, you set your own hours and rates of pay, meaning there’s no limit on your earning potential. Many companies or clients look to freelancers instead of hiring internal employees for a variety of reasons.
If you’re highly skilled in a particular area, you can earn high amounts for your work and freelancing is possible in almost all sectors. Whether your expertise lies in administrative work, creative work, manual work, or any other line of work, you could increase your freedom and earning potential by going freelance.
Of course, with freelance work comes an increase in precarity when it comes to your income. One month your work might be in high demand, and the next month less so, but thousands of people overcome this issue through effective financial planning and excellent marketing.
3. Buying and Selling
For those with an eye for a bargain or experience in sales, buying unwanted items and selling them on for a profit can be an extremely lucrative business.
Whether you gather your items at flea markets, yard sales, antique auctions, or online, there are likely to be a host of valuable items being sold for bargainous prices. It’s all about knowing what you’re looking for and seeing the potential in these items.
If you’re skilled in the art of upcycling, you can make a hefty profit by selling old furniture or clothes. Selling the items on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or at local markets is simple and easy.
For lots of people, this starts as a hobby and ends up earning them a full-time income. It’s a rewarding hobby that can earn a nice second stream of income, with the potential of replacing your full-time job.
Feeling that you hate your job can be extremely overwhelming and can lead to other negative feelings and thoughts. It’s important to keep things in perspective and tackle the issue rationally and sensibly.
No one should stay in a situation that is making them unhappy, so use the information in this article to figure out why you’re feeling these levels of dissatisfaction in your job, and how to go about changing that.
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