You have a job that you hate. No, “hate” is too soft a word – you despise it! If you have another job lined up, you’d quit today and not even bother to give notice.
We’ve all been there. And with the increasing frequency of job changes these days, it’s more likely than ever that you will have such a job – sooner or later.
Is there a constructive way to deal with a job that you hate? Absolutely – and here are some recommendations.
Plan An Exit Strategy – Now!
I’ve always thought that one of the worst responses to having a job you hate is one of the following common justifications:
- “I’m tough – I’ll just dig in and work through it.”
- “I can’t afford to leave.”
- “Maybe it’ll get better if I just wait it out.”
- “Maybe I’m the problem – I’ll try to do better.” (This one could be legitimate!)
- “I can’t leave; I have too much time invested in this employer and besides, I have seniority.”
- “I don’t want to give up my vacation time.”
On the surface, each of these responses sound noble, or at least beneficial. But each probably also misses the mark!
If you have been feeling uncomfortable on your job for a long time, chances are the negative feelings that you have do have a basis in fact. There are several possibilities:
- Your boss or other significant co-worker(s) may not like you – and they’re not trying to hide it.
- You’re doing work that doesn’t fit your personality and talents.
- The company is going nowhere.
- The company is very dysfunctional (no matter how long you “wait it out”, it will never get better).
- The job may not be a good fit.
- You’re not particularly good at the job you have.
- You could be doing better somewhere else – and deep down you know it.
If any of these reasons – and it’s usually a combination of several – play a part in the fact that you hate your job, staying there won’t improve the situation.
Do some deep meditation in regard to your job, and make sure that you can articulate the reasons why you hate it. Those reasons are probably totally legitimate. And that means it’s time to plan an exit strategy from your job.
An exit strategy will serve at least three purposes:
- It will enable you to quit your job – at least eventually.
- It will give you a purpose, given that your job probably doesn’t.
- It will create a positive focus, to help offset the negative energy flowing from your job.
An exit strategy may not give you a chance to quit your job tomorrow. But it will point you in the right direction, and give you something to hope for.
Continue To Do Your Best Work
Once you decide that you are going to leave your job, continue to do your best work. This is particularly true if you are a Christian:
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…“ – Colossians 3:23
In addition to the fact that we are all ultimately working for the Lord, there are several reasons why you need to continue to do your best work:
- If you don’t, you may develop a bad attitude that could carry over to the next job.
- You want to do all you can to get a good reference from your current job.
- At a minimum, you want your coworkers to think positively about you – you never know if you might be working with some of them in the future.
- You need to keep your skills up – the best way to do this is by applying them conscientiously each day.
- Your work is a reflection about who you are – make sure that your work continues to reflect the person you want others to see.
- Our work is one of our best faith witnesses to the rest of the world.
Do your best work until the day you walk out the door – everything will go better with you later if you do.
Be Ready To Take A Step Down
If you really hate your job enough, you should be prepared to take a step down in either pay or position, or both. A very good friend of mine used to say from time to time, “Sometimes you have to take a step back to go forward.” Most of us want to believe that we can continue going forward no matter what the obstacles are. But sometimes you have to step around obstacles if you can’t go through them.
This is usually the case with a bad job. You may have to work for less elsewhere in order to get out of that job. No matter how much you want to avoid taking a step back, it may be the cleanest, easiest way to get out of the situation you’re in now.
If you hold out for a better paying and higher position, you run the risk of self-destructing on your current job. Never assume that your boss and coworkers don’t know that you hate your job. Very few of us are so poker-faced that we could pull that off. Sooner or later, you could end up getting fired – and then you’ll have no job.
Also, taking a notch down on a new job could be a necessary step in order for you to gain new skills that will help you to go forward. It may also help to get yourself in a situation that you feel better about your work. The better you feel about the work you’re doing, the more progress you can make.
Plan To Exit Gracefully
Even if you are planning to leave your job, be at peace with everyone in your workplace. And once you leave, keep any negative opinions about the company and its employees to yourself. If you really hate your job, this can be especially difficult to do. But you need to resist the urge.
Jobs today are something of a revolving door. It’s no longer something that you “own” – but rather an experience that should last only as long as it’s necessary. And when it’s time to move on, we should do it with the grace and humility befitting followers of Jesus Christ.