It sounds easy. If you hate your job, just quit. Right?
Unfortunately, leaving a job you hate usually isn't that simple. You might need to stay in order to fulfill a contract, finish a project, make your resume look steady, or simply pay the bills. Sticking around in job hell can be a tall order, though, especially if you can’t find anything—literally anything—to enjoy about the gig. You might feel stuck. You might even begin to sink into feelings of hopelessness.
But wait, hope is not lost! If you hate your job, even though the circumstances may seem impossible, you can leave. You can. I swear. Here’s how:
1. Find just one thing to keep you smiling.
If you find yourself struggling to get out of bed in the morning, frowning in the shower, or crying on your commute to work, there’s a good chance you need to get out of the job you hate—ASAP. But the job search takes time, so until you can leave, you need to invest in some serious self-care.
Try to find just one thing at work that you can enjoy. Maybe it’s a mid-afternoon coffee or tea break. Perhaps its happy hour with the one co-worker who doesn’t make you crazy. Maybe you buy yourself a new desk calendar or bring a picture of your partner to tack up in the office. Maybe you schedule post-work yoga classes. Whatever it might be, you need to keep a bit of positive energy flowing into your daily life. That’s the only way you’re going to get through this difficult (but temporary) season.
2. Figure out your finances before you start the job search.
One thing that may be stopping you from leaving that job you hate? Money. You might feel stuck. You might feel trapped. But if you can secure another position, or even dedicate some weekend hours to a lucrative side-hustle, you will be able to buy yourself just enough wiggle-room in your income to transition to a new job.
If you haven’t yet, make a detailed budget. Be sure to identify exactly how much money you would need to make from a new position, or even from a series of part-time jobs, in order to make up the monthly lost income. Once you have that number in your head, you can calmly and reasonably search for a better position.
And when you apply, don’t just apply to one or two jobs here and there. Go bananas! Apply to everything (that you’re qualified for and would potentially want to do for eight hours a day). The harder you go on your job search, the sooner you’ll be able to leave your current nightmare.
3. Examine all the options.
Right now, you hate the job you do every day. But do you actually hate your workplace? Do you hate your boss? Sometimes when we say, “I hate my job!” we really mean that we hate the duties we’ve been assigned recently, or we hate our commute, or we really don’t get along with the one person we have to see at every single meeting.
That sucks! But if what feels unsatisfying is a changeable piece of the job, rather than the job itself, you still have options. You can investigate the possibility of working from home one or two days a week. You can work to get a different position within the company, or talk to your supervisor about switching teams.
4. Speak it into existence.
I don’t mean this in a magical way, but in all practicality... Sometimes you’ve got to speak something out loud before it can be realized in your life! Maybe you’ve been complaining to your family and friends for months, saying things like “I hate this job,” or “I don’t want to go to work.". Try changing your tone to something a little more positive and change-oriented.
Changing your language to include “I’m on the job hunt” or “I’m making moves to improve my daily life” or “I’ve decided to switch careers” can not only help put you in a better mindset, but can also awaken your loved ones to the fact that you are getting ready for a change. Once you start talking about it aloud, you could find yourself with more networking connections and more real life support from others. Your crew wants to see you succeed. They do! Give your gang the opportunity to see and support your deepest intentions. When it comes to getting out of a bad job situation, you don’t have to go it alone.
Just remember: Work doesn’t have to be terrible. You are under no obligation to keep a job you desperately hate. Your worth is not measured by how much dumb stuff you can endure at your job. You do not need to tolerate a horrible workplace environment, and your ability to “get along” has no bearing on your value as a person. You have inherent worth and dignity, and you owe it to yourself to make moves when the time is right, whether that means pivoting within your current company or running for the hills and reinventing yourself.