How to Survive a Job You Hate

There’s nothing worse – aside from discovering that you’re married to the wrong person – than to wake up every morning having to go to a job and a workplace environment you simply cannot stand.

unhappy-businessmanMaybe you’re surrounded by an insufferable mob of robotic or unhappy people. Maybe the high-level execs are heartless, sadistic gargoyles. Maybe you work in an office that thinks humor is an unproductive use of your time. Maybe your supervisor dumps the work of two people on your desk to squeeze the life out of you.

I don’t know how to rid the world of this unfortunate malady. What I do know, is that I’m rooting for you, and think you deserve so much better. There are great places to work out there – so keep looking.

But, in the meantime, let me help you with learning how to survive a job you hate.

1. Pick One Thing You Love About Your Job

You may have to drill down deeply, but there’s got to be something about your job that you can appreciate. Maybe the architecture of the building is breathtaking. Or the commute to work might be a phenomenal way to enjoy the sights, people watch, listen to a podcast, or scroll through various Instagram accounts.

2. Make the Most Out of Lunch

There’s no law that says you have to scarf down half a sandwich in the ladies room and get right back to work. So make lunch dates if you can, with a friend who loves you and wants to hear how awful your work environment has become. Hers might be just as bad.

And go shopping! It’s a marvelous world! Go buy a new lipstick or a fabulous shade of nail polish. That alone can often lift your spirits more than you might imagine.

3. Choose One Skill and Excel at It

One way to survive a job you hate is to find one task you love and get really good at it. If you are a strong writer, make everything you pen sparkle, especially because it makes your boss look smart, and you may find yourself doing a lot more of what you love. People will ask you to do more of something you’re really good at. Polish that one stone and make it gleam!

4. Make Your Environment Reflect Your Tastes

You have trademark things about you – Everyone does. Surround yourself with your favorite pens, mouse pads and pictures of people you love. Alter your environment and you alter your thoughts. I think a single flower goes a long way to remind you every minute that the world has beauty, and sharing it at your workplace might also brighten someone else’s workday.

Wear your favorite clothes. Don’t sell yourself short by trying to blend into a corporate culture that does not represent who you are at the core. Be your inimitable self, and fly that banner proudly until someone sees how irreplaceable you truly are. So wear your blue eye shadow if that’s who you are. At least when you look in the mirror you’ll see the face of a true and irreplaceable friend looking back at you.

5. Find a Person With a Sense of Humor

This is of particular importance! Surviving a job you hate has so much to do with moments of laughter. If you can find one person in your entire office who has your brand of humor, cherish them, and keep them as near as possible.

It can brighten you right up if you get a funny joke or meme sent to you from a fellow co-worker, especially one who totally “gets you”.

Final Thoughts
Remember that this job is not permanent. You are not condemned to your current place of work forever. So update that resume and keep learning new skills while letting others outside your company know you’re looking for something meaningful, and make the best of a bad situation.

But mostly, don’t let anyone make you feel bad about yourself or denigrate your work that you know is good or important. It’s more a reflection of them than it is you. Just move on, confident in the knowledge that you were meant for better things.



Lisa Ryan

Lisa Ryan

Lisa Ryan is a relationship expert based in Westport, CT.

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