No matter what job you have, there will be some tasks or elements that you don’t like. But what about when it feels like every day you’re unhappy? If the economy was great and the war for talent was still raging, I would say sure, start looking for a new job. But it’s 2020, and we’re in the middle of a pandemic, civil unrest, and an economic recession. So here’s the hard truth. Don’t quit.
“But Laurie, how can I keep showing up for a job I hate?” Good question. I wrote about this four years ago, and many of my tips still ring true. Working for the man sucks. Working for yourself sucks. Working in general sucks. But you need an income, and now is not the time to bail out of your gig just because you do not love the job.
Here are some tips I use when work starts to get monotonous, and I feel like saying screw it.
Look for the Truth
Why do you want to leave? Likely, what’s driving you to quit is actually something unrelated to your job. Is your marriage in trouble? Have you been isolated from your friends? Did you lose hope in your dream? Vet your life and look for shortcomings.
Everybody struggles to find meaning. That’s part of what makes us human. Seek out your coworkers, bond, and make showing up to work just a little better for yourself.
We all have someone in our life who is just downright difficult to work with. People with outspoken political differences, conspiracy theorists, people who send you a voicemail/text/email, and then stop by your desk two seconds later because they need a response. Figure out how to work with them.
See the Usefulness of the Job
Every job has lessons to learn. See what access you have to training sessions, ask to try something new, or teach yourself a new skill. Horrible jobs are often pathways to your next career move. Learn what you can while you’re stuck at a job you hate.
Get Back to Basics
At the end of the day, compensation matters. Does your job provide for what you currently need and want in life? Are you saving money to capitalize on a long-term dream? What’s the right number to help you endure this bullshit for another day? If your needs are covered, you can tough it out a little longer.
Appreciate the Big Picture
Count yourself lucky if your biggest complaint is about culture or workload and not safety. Recognize that although your job may not be great, it still allows you to live your life with security.
Make a Game Plan
Start identifying what other jobs would make you happier. Do your research and figure out how you can make that career move in the future when circumstances are more favorable. Plan how you can use your time at the job you hate to prepare for the job you want. Get serious and come up with your game plan.
Don’t quit just yet. All jobs go through periods of boredom and frustration. If it’s just a phase, find a way to move past it, and if it’s a permanent issue, make a game plan for your next career move.