Survive A Job You Hate (Before Somebody Gets Hurt) With These 7 Tips

September 17, 2015  |  

You begrudgingly drag your carcass out of bed to face yet another day in the bowels of hell: the office. You near the entrance of the building and your intestines instinctively twist into impossible knots. You say a silent prayer, “Please God, don’t let this be the day that I sock my manager in the face like I’ve fantasized doing everyday this month. Amen.” It’s clear that your job is no longer for you but circumstances won’t allow you to quit quite just yet. In the meantime you’ve tried “thinking positive” and “looking for the silver lining” like all those helpful blogs advise. But what you really need are tangible ways to manage your daily frustrations and prevent a ratchet moment. Fortunately (or unfortunately), many others have already suffered before you so that you may benefit from their wealth of knowledge. Here’s what they recommend to help you survive a job you hate:

  1. Have an exit plan with definitive timeframes

If you do nothing else, do this one thing. Whether you plan to completely shift careers or make a simple switch to a different department, having an exit plan with defined milestones and timelines will tremendously help you remember that your current situation is only temporary. Equally important, an exit plan will help you regain a sense of control over your career.

  1. Listen to music

The positive effects of music on mood and productivity are well documented. If your workplace permits music listening during the day, then the right playlist can help you focus on tasks by drowning out your annoying co-workers, and also give you that much-needed lift to sail through the day. Two of my personal favorite pick-me-up songs are: “Hi Hater” by Maino and “Happy” by Pharrell.

  1. Take timeouts

Small breaks (even five minutes) are essential for maintaining a calm and balanced mind. Try taking a walk outside in the sunshine. If that’s not possible, try stepping away from your desk and doing some gentle stretching. Movement will get your circulation going and make you feel better.

  1. Talk it out

Venting to trusted friends and/or family can provide some relief. Be warned though that blabbing to your co-workers may not be in your best interests! If you are truly working in a hostile environment then you might want to consider speaking with a professional on a regular basis. Deterioration in mental health can be hard to detect and we often underestimate the impacts of chronic emotional stress until we’re on the brink of burnout. If you are experiencing workplace harassment or bullying, it might also be beneficial to have a conversation with your HR department; at least in this way you will have a paper trail in your defense showing that you sought help through the appropriate channels at your workplace, should things go way left. 

  1. Let it out and twerk it out

Find an outlet to release your tension. Dance and other physical forms of exercise are excellent ways to convert negative energy into positive energy. Other outlets like journaling and coloring have been said to be helpful for some. Additionally, having something to look forward to at the end of your work day or work week can propel you through the week.  

  1. Laughter is indeed medicine

We all feel better after a good laugh and there is good scientific reason. Proactively incorporate more laughter in your day by watching funny cat videos on Youtube, listening to Kevin Hart’s latest stand-up set, or reading a David Sedaris novel during your commute.  

  1. Good enough is good enough

You don’t want to get fired for producing poor work, but also understand that perfectionism is for fools. For a lot of people, frustration stems from trying really hard to do everything perfectly but not getting the recognition that they deserve for their efforts. If you are not being rewarded for your efforts and there isn’t an opportunity to negotiate this, then maybe just apply less effort (unless you’re a doctor or paramedic – I’d still like you to do your very best in life threatening situations!) Do what you can at work but set boundaries for yourself in order to preserve some of your mental faculties for other endeavors that fulfill you. 

It’s rough when you’re going through it, but remember the wise adage: this too shall pass.

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