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What to Do When You Hate Your Job and Need a Change

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What to Do When You Hate Your Job and Need a Change

Do mornings bring with them a sense of impending doom? Would your rather have your teeth pulled out, one by one, rather than going to work? If a really stressed yes is your answer, then it’s pretty clear that you would go through anything to be able to send in a scathing resignation letter. It’s time to learn what to do when you hate your job.

The thing is, practically speaking, most of us don’t have the wherewithal to be able to simply quit a job we hate. We have bills that need paid and time to be filled. However, there are things we can do to improve the situation if we’re feeling stuck. Learn how here.

Why Is It So Hard to Quit Your Job?

Moaning and groaning about your job on a daily basis is not only making you miserable but also irritating everyone around you. Furthermore, telling yourself that sticking to a known devil rather than trying out an unknown one is better is a philosophy that won’t serve you very well.

If you hate your job, you are probably not going to be very good at it, which sets you up for a big fall later. Furthermore, if your job is causing you increasing discomfort or depression, you need to find a way out. That said, the five most common reasons people keep doing the jobs they hate are listed below, and they are pretty understandable.

Fear of Testing New Waters

One of the main reasons people keep sticking to the jobs they hate is the fear of unknown waters. This is particularly true for people nearing retirement, women getting back to work after maternity leave, or even employees who have stagnated in the company or in the same position for too long.

If you know you can be relatively successful in one place, it can be difficult to move on to something where that success is nowhere near guaranteed. 

Financial Concerns

The cost of living, unpaid bills, and rising debts can put fear into anyone. Your rather rickety financial situation will be worsened with unemployment, so this is one reason people stay put in the jobs they hate, unable to see a way out.

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A Lull in the Job Market

Sometimes you stay in the job you hate simply because there seems to be a lack of good jobs in any case. Your regular scouring of classifieds and job sites simply tells you that leaving now means you might end up unemployed for a while. What’s the point of leaving if you can’t find something better?

Being Miserable Is Fine

You may be wondering what to do when you hate your job, but so are thousands of other people. It’s part and parcel of life. And if this job is giving your family a good life, then it’s well worth the sacrifice, isn’t it?

These are the ways people talk themselves out of looking for something better. The truth is that it’s not natural to be constantly miserable and stressed, and just because others are doing it doesn’t mean you have to fall in line.

All Jobs Are the Same

Somehow, you think that all the jobs in the world are bad and would probably end up making you miserable one way or another. Bad bosses, jealous colleagues, and a workload that feels like the entire world’s weight – all jobs are like that…except, they aren’t.

What to Do When You Hate Your Job

We’ve established that you hate your job. The main problems is that staying put at a job you hate and not doing anything about it isn’t good for you.

As we said before, a job you don’t enjoy will, if it hasn’t already, turn into a job you are not good at. You will procrastinate, avoid added responsibilities, and basically harp and complain about it all day long – much to the ire of your colleagues and the boss. And if your whining reaches the boss’ ears, you may soon be out of a job in any case.

If you’re really wondering what to do when you hate your job, the good news is that there are specific actions you can take[1]

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What to do when you hate your job.

    Frankly, as Maya Angelou put it, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

    And this holds true for your job as well. There are basically only two things you can do: either you change your job, or at least the things you don’t like about it; or you change your attitude about it.

    1. Ask Yourself If the Job Is Really the Problem

    Being unhappy with your job may be an extrinsic factor, but it may arise from an intrinsic one. Are you unhappy with your life in general? Or is it just the job you hate? If it’s your life you are unhappy about, then decide to make small little changes every day and get all the help you need to make yourself happy, now.

    Check out this article for some ways to find happiness each day.

    2. Identify Exactly What You Hate About Your Job

    The first thing to do when you start wondering what to do when you hate your job is to identify exactly what it is that’s causing the aversion[2].

    Is it the mean boss? Is it the sniggering and overly competitive colleagues? Is there a new and added responsibility that you cannot handle or are not equipped to do well? Has the workload suddenly increased or decreased? 

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    Make a pros and cons list of your current job related to work environments, co-workers, management, etc. This will help you sort out a problem (if it can be sorted). It will also help you identify what you don’t want in your next job if you decide to begin a job search.

    3. Discuss Your Woes With Your Boss

    Sometimes bosses are the reason you hate your job. While sometimes they are just nasty, most bosses do care about their employees and want them to be happy in their position. Talk to your boss, and discuss what is making you unhappy[3]. See if a solution, or at least a part solution, can be reached, and then try and compromise a bit from your end, too.

    If the boss is the problem, see if your company can move you to a parallel position under someone you work better with. 

    4. Don’t Quit Without a Back-up

    If your job is not driving you up a wall and is also compensating you decently for your troubles, quitting may not make you as happy as you thought it would, especially if you haven’t landed another gig. Being unemployed will make you miss that salary, overanalyze your behavior, and perhaps think of yourself as a quitter.

    If you have to leave your job, make sure you have landed another one, preferably one that is your dream job, or has all the attributes your current job lacks.

    5. Do Your Best to Be a Good Worker

    You hate your job and no compromise or new job is in sight, but you aren’t quitting either. That doesn’t mean that you should let yourself be unprofessional. Hate your job as much as you want, but you still have to do it to the best of your abilities. 

    Once you arrive at work, focus on doing each task to the best of your ability. This may require a shift in thinking. Try to focus on the aspects of your job that you’re grateful for to give yourself an energy boost.

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    6. Look at the Bright Side

    You cannot hate everything about your job now, can you? If you’re wondering what to do when you hate your job, concentrate on what you do like about your job and mentally block the negatives out.

    Think about the future. You may hate your current job, but if it’s just a stepping stone that allows you to reach your career goals a few years down the line, sticking to it may make sense. 

    7. Don’t Overshare Your Feelings

    No one wants a gripe at the office. If all you do is moan, groan, complain and whine, no colleague of yours is going to like you, and those friends you made at work will soon disappear into thin air. Being a person who always complains will further alienate you at a job you already dislike. 

    8. Change Jobs

    Finally, if your job is simply soul-crushing, and there’s no way to improve it, it’s time to start your job hunt. Again, try not to quit your current position until you have another lined up. Write out positions you’d be happy working in, and focus your search on those areas. 

    If you want to move into a completely different field, start taking classes to pump up your resume. With time and effort, something will come along that will, hopefully, make you happier. 

    Final Thoughts

    If a job starts affecting your life in a bad way and simply makes it impossible for you to feel good in your professional and personal life, maybe it is time to quit. However, it’s always good to have an escape plan beforehand. 

    Until you’re able to move on to something better, try shifting your thoughts into more positive territory and do your best to impress in whatever position you find yourself in. 

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    More on What to Do When You Hate Your Job

    Featured photo credit: Magnet.me via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Rima Pundir

    Health, Wellness & Productivity Writer

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    Last Updated on November 30, 2021

    4 Effective Ways To Improve Your Work Performance Greatly

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    4 Effective Ways To Improve Your Work Performance Greatly

    Peak performance in the workplace is essential for company growth and high-levels of productivity, but what’s easy to do is also easy not to do.  Searching “work performance” in Google pulls up 4,180,000,000 results in less than one second. To say that work performance is a buzzword is a complete understatement.

    Everyone and their mother are interested in finding the latest gadgets and hacks to optimize their workplace productivity and output. Companies are caught between a rock and a hard place as they attempt to navigate the uncharted waters of working from home while keeping their employee productivity levels high. Sadly, if businesses had prioritized the essential components of creating quality company cultures, instilling trust in their employees, and showing high-levels of empathy before the pandemic, most wouldn’t be finding themselves in this situation.

    Work performance, a highly subjective term, essentially comes down to finding ways to maximize an employee’s use of time, energy, and results, as these are things that can be both measured and used as a marker for productivity. While time is fixed and can never be changed, energy levels are fluid in nature and can become depleted over time unless people know how to harness it, and results are the end product of productivity.[1] They can be measured and, to be frank, are usually independent of the time or energy it takes to reach an end goal.

    To truly understand how to improve performance at work, we need to understand what controls these factors.

    The brain controls everything, which is why no single “hack,” pill, therapy, or product will be the cure-all for maximizing productivity at work.[2] The brain isn’t binary. It’s complicated and requires many factors to function at its highest level.[3] So, if you genuinely want to improve your performance at work, you must heavily invest in the maintenance of maximizing your brain and cognitive output.

    1. Move Your Body to Activate Your Brain

    If we were able to bottle up the effects of physical movement into a pill, it would be a blockbuster drug for the rest of eternity due to the exponentially growing body of research showing how effective exercise is in improving brain function cognitive processing.[4]

    While physical exercise has traditionally been used to improve our physical structure, lose weight, and increase cardiovascular endurance, the game has completely changed with the growing number of research showing its beneficial effects on mental and psychological processing.[5]

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    Physical exercise is one of the most influential activities one can do to improve their mental performance, which then improves your performance at work. It can change DNA expression and create molecules of emotion that can improve your mood, provide mental clarity, and change the way your brain processes information.[6]

    Movement vastly increases blood flow to the frontal lobe, a region on the brain responsible for cognitive processing, high-level thinking, and maintaining mental alertness.[7] It also increases oxygenation to the body, which improves your body’s ability to create energy and maintain mental focus for long periods. And while physical exercise can be one of the most efficient ways to activate the brain, it can also help you lose weight, which can also have detrimental effects on your productivity.

    Research has shown that visceral fat stored around the body can decrease your brain’s ability to focus and concentrate due to the inflammatory markers fat creates throughout the body.[8] By losing weight and exercising, your can dampen inflammatory processes that are clogging your drain pipes of processing while also improving circulation and oxygenation to tissues that need it the most. And guess what? It doesn’t cost you a penny to take the initiative to get out and move.

    Studies have shown that physical movement for as little as 10 minutes duration can provide significant benefits, vastly increasing your brain’s ability to update your internal software for enhanced memory and processing capacity.[9]

    2. Take a Break to Get Ahead of Your Workload

    People love talking about the number of hours they put into their work, with forums and LinkedIn posts chock full of individuals boasting about how many hours they dedicated to projects during the week. While this may sound great in theory, we know it’s full of fallacies and lies because it doesn’t jive with what neuroscience tells us about brain function.

    Studies show that the brain has a maximum processing time of about 90 minutes before we start to see cognitive processing decline in quality.[10] As we continue down this path towards longer hours with no breaks in-between, we begin to see a vast increase in simple processing errors and mistakes, which mean lost time taking steps backward to retrace your steps to fix your errors.

    It also means the brain can no longer perform at the levels it initially started with, making the tasks more challenging to complete and increasing the amount of time it will take to finish a project. We’ve seen this play out in endless scenarios, but they hold weight when taken from medical emergencies and surgeries.

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    Studies have shown that doctors performing medical procedures and making diagnoses at the 17th to 19th hour have an intoxicated individual’s equivalent mental capacity with a .05 BAC.[11] Does that make you think twice about booking your next surgery?

    Taking a break from your work doesn’t mean you should sit and scroll through social media sites or be a troll on Reddit. You need to break away from work and do something that will replenish your energy stores and stimulate your brain. Taking a walk, laughing with a coworker, or even closing your eyes and doing meditation for a few minutes can vastly improve your performance at work and recovery time without skipping a beat of productivity.

    3. Sleep Like Your Life Depends on It (Because It Does)

    Sleep is a superpower. All organisms in the animal kingdom sleep to some extent, which provides some pretty compelling evidence about the importance of sleep and its role in our general health.

    Sleep isn’t just a time to take a break—multiple chemical and physiological processes take place while we sleep, helping us regenerate tissue and restore our bodies to a high level. We now know that while we’re asleep, the fluid inside the brain (cerebrospinal fluid) increases in both flow and velocity to help the brain clear out toxins that build up throughout the day.[12] This internal housekeeping is a vital component of brain health and is theorized to be a hallmark sign of an aging brain.

    Sleep has also been an influential factor in our mental health. It allows our brain to process information throughout the day and pose theoretical future situations through dreaming and lucid-like states of cognition.[13]

    Memories are also filtered, consolidated, and stored with different sleep stages, which can significantly impact your performance at work and productivity over the long term.[14] If your boss always has to remind you of previous conversations in the boardroom, do you think they will trust you with major tasks and projects to get that next promotion?

    Your memory can serve as your best friend in the workplace, which is why prioritizing sleep and making it a staple in your lifestyle can be a significant factor in your career trajectory—greatly improving your performance at work. Plus, sleep dysfunction can be one of the earliest signs of aging, especially in the early stages of neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s, MS, Alzheimer’s, and dementia.[15]

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    4. Fast-Track Your Way to Success With Intermittent Fasting (IF)

    Food will always be the fuel that powers our internal engine, so why do so many people make such poor food choices?

    For many, it’s usually easier to blame a food than it is to blame our decisions or actions about choosing that food. Poor food choices lead to poor brain function, promoting excessive amounts of inflammation and high levels of blood sugar, which can inevitably tear down your body’s castle walls of immunity and self-repair mechanisms.[16]

    Without drawing a line in the sand about which diet or dietary guidelines you should follow, it’s safe to say that in general, if your food came from the ground, it’s probably safe to eat. While keeping this in mind, there’s an even more critical caveat to consider: Intermittent Fasting (IF).[17]

    Although fasting has been around for millennia and played a pivotal role in religious ceremonies for thousands of years, it has recently made a comeback in the public eye due to its remarkable capacity to prolong life and protect our DNA.

    Fasting from food (especially foods that increase our blood sugar levels) can significantly influence the body’s ability to repair and do internal housekeeping, which is a constant battle that never ends. Fasting from food allows the body to route coveted resources to other remodeling projects in the gut, brain, and body, facilitating a sort of “taking out of the trash” scenario to improve cellular efficiency and output.

    With fasting, we see inflammation levels decrease, blood sugar levels drop off, insulin sensitivities increase, and we’re able to get rid of old cells that slow down the rest of the chain in command.[18] These senescent cells are old cells that are too energy-intensive for the body to demolish, so they stick around and slow down other cellular processes, kind of like the slow group in golf that holds up the rest of the course for the entire day.[19]

    Fasting can also give our brain additional energy reserves through the production of ketones created from the breakdown of fat within the body. This process serves multiple purposes of getting rid of unwanted weight and fueling the brain on high-octane fuel.[20] And the best part about fasting? It costs you NOTHING. Zero. Nada. Zip. It will decrease your grocery bill and help you lose weight, increase your energy levels, sleep better, have more sex drive, and make your brain work at a higher capacity.

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    Putting It All Together

    It will always be up to you to decide how to implement these tools. No one else can make these choices for you, so if you’re looking to take your game to the next step to hit that promotion, finish that project, or improve your status within your company, choose one of these habits and own it for the next 30 days.

    The goal with this is to make it into a lifestyle, not a diet or short-term focus. You can have our cake and eat it too. It will just take hard work and dedication on your end.

    These habits may seem daunting, but try to remember that brushing your teeth, taking a shower, and getting dressed for the day used to be a daunting task for you when you were growing up. Habits become effortless because you do them more often, allowing your brain to use less energy and mental real estate to finish up a task.

    Turning these tasks into daily habits will allow you to neurologically and cognitively maximize your personal and professional life. Make the hard choices now to live an easy life later.

    More Tips on Excelling at Work

    Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Workfront: The Right Way to Measure Work Performance: Results, Not Tasks
    [2] NCBI: Major Structures and Functions of the Brain
    [3] NCBI: Physiology, Cerebral Cortex Functions
    [4] NCBI: The Influence of Exercise on Cognitive Abilities
    [5] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight
    [6] Scientific American: How Exercise Affects Your Brain
    [7] SpringerLink: Acute Effects of Physical Exercise on Prefrontal Cortex Activity in Older Adults: A Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Study
    [8] The Journal of Clinical Investigation: Visceral adipose NLRP3 impairs cognition in obesity via IL-1R1 on CX3CR1+ cells
    [9] Harvard Health Publishing: Need a quick brain boost? Take a walk
    [10] Psychological Review: The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance
    [11] BMJ Journals: Moderate sleep deprivation produces impairments in cognitive and motor performance equivalent to legally prescribed levels of alcohol intoxication
    [12] Scientific American: Deep Sleep Gives Your Brain a Deep Clean
    [13] NCBI: Does improving sleep lead to better mental health? A protocol for a meta-analytic review of randomized controlled trials
    [14] NCBI: About Sleep’s Role in Memory
    [15] NCBI: Sleep dysregulation, memory impairment, and CSF biomarkers during different levels of neurocognitive functioning in Alzheimer’s disease course
    [16] ASPEN: Diet and Inflammation
    [17] NCBI: Effectiveness of Intermittent Fasting and Time-Restricted Feeding Compared to Continuous Energy Restriction for Weight Loss
    [18] NCBI: Fasting induces an anti-inflammatory effect on the neuroimmune system which a high-fat diet prevents
    [19] NCBI: The role of senescent cells in ageing
    [20] NCBI: Short-term fasting induces profound neuronal autophagy

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