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How to survive in a job you hate

Dr. Elizma van der Smit September 2017

· Work,Relationships,Life Skills

Are you currently in a job you hate? Are you for some reason not able to quit? Then getting through each day might be a battle and you are most probably miserable, uninspired and frustrated most of the time. The work is maybe not interesting; or you deal with a horrible boss or co-worker, but you are stuck!

How do we stay sane?

Please note the following strategies that will help you survive a job you hate:

  • Find meaning in your work.  Please note that happiness is one form of life satisfaction, but finding meaning is another.  You can have meaning without the happiness.  We assume that to have meaning is to save the world, but meaningful work is, according to Todd hall, work that contributes to the well-being of others in some way in a way that uniquely expresses who we are.  Here are some ways to find meaning:
  1.  Know your why

No matter what your situation, you are in your current job for a very definite reason. Maybe you need the income for your family or an illness or to cover debt. This means that your work is indeed in some way contributing to the wellbeing of your family. Your commitment to your family and your financial goals in order to take care of someone is your deeper purpose for being there. Reflect on that often.

  1. Express your goodness

Expressing your unique gifts like creativity, honesty, kindness, or gratitude allows you to help yourself and others, not matter the circumstances of your job. This will fill your life with meaning and satisfaction and inspire others around you.

  1. Connect the Dots

Reflect on a past situation that was really difficult, but that you have overcome. You can look and see how it eventually turned into something good. Now imagine a future where you will no longer be in a job you despise, but one that provides both meaning and happiness. You will get there. By reflecting on the past and connecting it to the future, can make your current circumstances more bearable.

Other suggestions for surviving a job you hate include:

  • Stay away from office gossips and watercooler conversations.  Gossiping is addictive and damaging.  It is non-productive, harm others and yourself and is a waste of productive time and energy.  Make it clear that you are not interested and do not engage further.
  • Stay healthy.  Unhealthy foods can trigger stress.  Have a good breakfast and opt for healthier lunch options that can sustain your energy for longer.  Get enough rest and exercise.
  • Listen to music.  If you have earbuds or headphones, use them.  Not only to prevent people from bugging you, but actually listening to the music is therapeutic and will let your day go by faster.
  • Go for a walk.  Even if you work full time, there might be short breaks that you can use to get out of the office to clear your head with some breathing space.  Walking boost your overall well-being.
  • Get busy.  If you got too much time to think, you will end up just brewing over it.  Being busy can help take your mind off the negativity.  If you are too busy, find creative ways to distribute your workload.
  • Take an interesting project on if you can.  Do whatever you can to get really good at something that you enjoy.  Make it your superpower.
  • Pop the sad bubble.  As soon as you have a negative thought, imagine it floating in a bubble above your head, and pop it with your finger.  It sounds corny, but actually works.
  • Learn what you can.  Find ways to learn new skills that will help you land your next dream job.  Learning is healthy and constructive.
  • Just accept it.  Acceptance is one of our best coping mechanisms.  If you cannot change your current situation now, then you just have to accept the way things are for now.  But keep in mind that this is just a temporary acceptance, not a permanent one to help you cope better.  You still have to work on how you are going to change your situation.
  • Make a plan.  Figure out your next step and start working on that immediately. Setting goals and objectives will keep your eye on the light at the end of the tunnel.  Network and maintain connections with people in your industry all the time.
  • Get some perspective.  Today is not your entire life.  Focus on the good stuff in your life, maybe your family and the fun you have with them.  You have food and a place to live and people who deeply care about you.  Do not focus on how awful your job is.
  • Fill your tank.  Everyone has something that fills their tank.  It might be exercise, spending time with family and friends, or being in nature.  Assign time to refill your tank regularly.  It is your lifeline.
  • Keep going.  Anything worth doing at all is worth doing well – even if it something you hate.  This will give you a sense of pride and accomplishment.

This post is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered therapy. This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental Health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.

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This blog is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be considered therapy or any form of treatment. We are not able to respond to specific questions or comments about personal situations, appropriate diagnosis or treatment, or otherwise provide any clinical opinions. If you think you need immediate assistance, call your local doctor/psychologist or psychiatrist or the SADAG Mental health Line on 011 234 4837. If necessary, please phone the Suicide Crisis Line on 0800 567 567 or sms 31393.