What can I do if I hate my job?

Dreading Monday morning? You’re not alone. A recent survey found that work makes us feel more unhappy than anything else. We interviewed Chris Baréz-Brown, author of Free! Love Your Work, Love Your Life to discover how to transform the way you feel about work


What can I do if I hate my job?

On average, we only have 27, 350 days on this planet. 10,575 of those are working days. So it pays more than money to enjoy what you do at work.

See below for some possible reasons you might be feel like you hate your job, and find out what you can do about it.

“They didn’t promote me and I feel angry and resentful”

Dig underneath why you feel this way. What’s the assumption you’re making which makes you interpret the fact that you didn’t get the promotion so negatively? Maybe you just weren’t ready for a promotion. Ask your boss and colleagues for honest feedback and really listen, then put it back in their court. ‘I’m not being promoted because of a, b or c and if I can overcome those and get back on top of it – will you promote me – and by when?’ And you’re back in the driving seat again. Make sure you have regular catch-ups with your boss about what’s working and what's not. Be overt about what you need to do to get the next promotion/project/development that you want. Agree tangible milestones for each and monitor your progress towards them.

“I’ve just drifted into this role”

You need to take a good look at your life. You spend a third of your life at work and if you hate it, you’re just flushing your life down the drain. Start asking questions – when has your work felt exciting, rewarding and fun? Equally, think of the times you have felt more restricted? When you ponder these moments, what themes pop up? Do you need structure or do you like creativity? Do you like to lead or be led? Then start with the job you’ve got. It’s unlikely you can change your role or job overnight but you can take on different responsibilities or projects that are more suited to our passions and skill sets. Stop trying to work out what you want to be and ask smaller questions – ‘what suits me and my skills’? What might feel like fulfilling work?’ Notice and rid yourself of other things that weight you down and sap your energy by delegating. Notice what excites you, notice who you envy and go pick their brains, ask them what their jobs are like, interview them, show up for free and work on a Saturday and get a true, visceral experience of what it’s like to step into a new role. Take real, concrete action to discover a role or opportunities that make your heart beat a little bit faster. Whatever happens, you’re going to learn something about yourself.

“I know what I want to do but I can’t afford to retrain…”

You don’t have to leave your job, you can just start using the 5-9pm to explore other options – be it starting a business online or writing a book at the weekend or starting a reflexology business from your spare room. Build some momentum and make it real and measurable. Reduce the risk and take it from big leap to 100 small baby steps. It may take you a while but if it’s simply a whim you’ll soon stop, whereas if you truly want to follow this path, you will find a way to do it. Often people use a ‘fantasy job’ to keep them stuck in ‘I’ll be happy when…’ thinking. Get out of fantasy, make it real and then you can decide for certain whether you really do want to be a musician/ballet dancer/astronaut.

“No matter what job I do, I hate it”

There is no such thing as a perfect job. It doesn’t exist. It’s your responsibility to make your job as good as it can be. No one else can do that for you. The opportunity to craft an extraordinary future lies firmly in your hands. Try a negativity detox for 30 days. Every time you find yourself thinking something negative, ask a different question – ‘how can I see things differently? How can I enjoy what I’m doing? How can I contribute something valuable to the discussion?’

“I’m just so bored of my work”

Find one thing that has been frustrating you at work, and try doing it in a new and different manner (health and safety permitting!) If you were keen to shake up your business, what would you do? What is it you are currently known for in your organisation? And what is it that you would like to be remembered for? What do you need to do to create that memory? On smaller level, mix things up a bit. Dress differently, go for a drink with those Finance guys, clear out all those old files you’ve got and start afresh, sit somewhere else. Challenge the norms and test the boundaries. You may well find that things you think are important and set in stone are anything but.

'Free! Love Your Work, Love Your Life' by Chris Baréz-Brown (Penguin, £9.99) Chris Baréz-Brown is a leader in Life Labs – our new interactive blogging platform. https://lifelabs.psychologies.co.uk/

More inspiration:

Read Unhappy at work? Here's your solution by Obi James on LifeLabs

Read Five Top Tips for getting Ahead at Work on LifeLabs