What to Do When You Hate Your Job

Have you ever experienced a feeling of dread creep up on you as your Sunday fun day slowly fades to a case of Sunday night blues?

It’s not just you: nearly 3 in 4 people reported feeling anxiety on Sunday night because the start of the workweek loomed over them, according to a survey on Monster last year.

What’s more, 18% of American workers admit to being “actively” disengaged, according to Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace Report. Or, as Gallup CEO Jim Clifton put it in the report, “roam the halls spreading discontent.”

If you fall into one of these groups, you may be in the wrong career field and ask what to do when you hate your job. How can you improve your situation? Should you get a new job?

These are important questions to consider. You’ll spend nearly one-third of your life with your job if you work 8 hours per day. Knowing how to switch careers is important if you chose the wrong field and are now unhappy because if it.

But before making a dramatic change, make sure you honestly evaluate your situation.

Remember, work is work

There’s a difference between not loving your job and absolutely hating what you do. Don’t be fooled by the idea that if you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.

Work is work. Even the happiest, most successful people face tasks and projects they’d rather not do. We will all face challenges and difficult problems that don’t come with easy solutions.

So before you start considering your options on what to do when you hate your job, be honest with yourself. Are you frustrated with your entire career, or a single aspect of your current company? Do you like the actual work you do, but that one coworker drives you up a wall?

Look for the source of your unhappiness. Is it a small issue that you can take action to address? If so, changing your career may be an overreaction to a single source of irritation that you may be able to remove from your work life.

You may be desperate to figure out what to do when you hate your job, but it’s important to make sure the negativity isn’t tied to a problem with an easy solution.

No job is perfect — not even your “dream job.” Even if the work you do is something that you truly love, you’re bound to have bad days. Remember that the goal for choosing the right career field is not perfection, but satisfaction, fulfillment, a sense of purpose and value.

If you’ve chosen the wrong career field

If the source of your stress, frustration, or depression around your job is not a small or simple issue that you can resolve, then you owe it to yourself to seek out a new line of work.

Here are a few red flags to look out for:

  • You do what you need to do and never anything above and beyond what’s minimally acceptable.
  • You’re disengaged, constantly bored, and take no pride in your work.
  • You don’t care what happens at work, with your position, your team, or your company as a whole.
  • You feel exhausted — all the time, day after day.
  • You feel stuck and limited; there’s no opportunity for advancement, change, or growth.
  • You consistently think about how to get out of your current job.

If any or all of these red flags pertain to your situation, you may be in the wrong career field and it’s time to make a change.

How to pick a career

If you’re wondering what to do when you hate your job and it’s causing serious anxiety in your life, it’s time to learn how to switch careers. But where do you start?

“People are always trying to find an immediate step to take,” says Eric Roberge, a certified financial planner who founded his own business Beyond Your Hammock to help other entrepreneurs and professionals. “They want to know what’s next, right now. It’s a very short-term view.”

Instead of trying to create a linear process, Roberge suggests determining where you ideally want to be — and work backward from there to create a plan of action.

“Set a goal first,” explains Roberge. “Where do you want to end up? Once you throw that out there, you can say, ‘okay, here are all the ways I could make this happen.’”

In other words, you can’t know what to do to switch careers until you determine where you want to go.

“It may not be direct or obvious and it’s more about experimentation and discovery,” Roberge says. “You need to explore and look for common themes in what you want to do. There are probably many options for you within that one common thread that can provide you with job satisfaction — and the means to financially support yourself.”

Getting started on your new career

Now that you know what to do when you hate your job, it’s time to take action.

Start by updating your professional social media profiles. While you don’t have to widely advertise you’re looking for a new job while you’re still in your current position, make sure your LinkedIn account features a nice professional-looking photo.

Additionally, make sure your LinkedIn account is fully filled out with all of your work experiences, accomplishments, recommendations, and other relevant information. You can update your headline to include keywords that hit on the kind of work you’re now hoping to do.

Consider creating a personal website to showcase your expertise, resume, portfolio, and other credentials as well. Creating a site using your name is a great place to start. Or think about developing a blog to demonstrate your knowledge, share what you know, and put your abilities on display.

You’ll also need to create a new resume to speak to the kinds of positions and companies where you might want to apply.

How to switch careers by developing your skill sets

If your new career direction is in a different field, look for classes or additional education. This doesn’t necessarily mean an expensive graduate degree. In fact, you might be able to sign up for free classes in your community or online through free continuing education programs.

You can also commit to freelancing or consulting in your new field. Be proactive and look for opportunities, gigs, and work you can do on a project-basis. Join communities of others who do work you want to get into, and engage with people there.

You can also ask questions and get guidance from people who have already walked the path you’re interested in going down. You may be able to pick up freelancing work or leads from these groups as well.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to experts, influencers, and organizations. Offer to help in some way or ask about internships and volunteer opportunities to build your experience and connections.

Don’t lose hope

If you’re wondering what to do if you hate your job, your first step is to determine what’s really causing your stress. Anyone can make a distinction between a bad day at their job and a bad career that affecting their entire well-being

Then, if you need to make a big change in your career, be proactive. Don’t give in to frustrations or a sense of hopelessness. Prepare ahead of time, set a goal, and then work backward to map out a plan of action. You’ll be on your way to a better career in no time.

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Published in Jobs, Making Money