Dealing with a Job You Hate

By Paula Santonocito

smw - dealing with a job you hateYou can’t stand your job, but you can’t leave. How do you make the situation more tolerable?

Identifying the Problem

Before you can find a solution, you have to know what the problem is. And so you must honestly ask yourself: What exactly is it about your job you dislike?

Is it the work itself, as in you don’t enjoy your daily tasks? Or do you feel you have too much work?

Is pay at the root of your problems, in that you don’t feel adequately rewarded for your efforts?

And what about job-related expenses? Is the commute getting to you from the standpoint of money, and maybe time?

People can also be a source of displeasure. Do you have problems with your immediate boss? Or does a coworker cause you angst?

Perhaps more than one of these issues pertain to your situation, but answering these questions should help you identify the main problem along with one or two secondary issues.

Finding a Solution

If you still feel bewildered about the source of your unhappiness, ask yourself when you liked this job (or a previous job you enjoyed) and what changed.

Then realize that although you may not be able to leave your job, you have options as far as addressing the situation.

If you don’t enjoy your daily tasks, for example, you can let your boss know that you’d welcome more interesting, more challenging work. Put it in a positive light, as in, “I have more to offer,” as opposed to, “I’m so bored I’m losing my mind.”

In the current climate, where layoffs abound, employers look favorably on people who are willing to pick up the slack by taking on more. Now is actually a good time to ask for additional responsibility.

It may not result in more money immediately. However, if you handle the situation carefully it could result in a new title, with the promise of more income later.

Why not ask for the work, prove yourself invaluable, and then ask for a new or amended title? At that time you can graciously say you understand that no salary increase will come with the position right now but that when the economy turns around you hope you will be adequately compensated for your new responsibilities.

If money is one of your secondary issues, you’ve addressed it as well.

People, People

A lot of women find people problems are the most uncomfortable workplace issues to address. Women tend to be non-confrontational. Nevertheless, you must address these kinds of issues.

If you have any doubt, ask yourself which is worse, participating in a short session with a boss or coworker that may be confrontational, which could address the situation, or waking up every day hating your job, which essentially means hating a major part of your life.

Think through the issue at hand and ask the person, whether your boss or coworker, if you can set up a time to talk. Go behind closed doors and let her (or him) know you want to find a resolution to whatever the situation is. If the conversation becomes argumentative or accusatory, put the brakes on the discussion and ask if you might continue it with someone from human resources present. Explain that you really want to reach an amicable solution.

And this should be your goal, regardless of whether the issue pertains to people or another matter.

When, for whatever reason, you can’t leave your current job, you must do your best to leave the bad feelings behind so you can move forward with your career and your life.

More SMW Career Advice

On Dealing with a Worsening Employment Market

The New Part-Time Worker

Dealing with Coworker Incompetence