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15 Ways You Can Enjoy The Job You Hate

15 Ways You Can Enjoy The Job You Hate

If you’re that person who has never had a less-than-ideal job, then I salute you for being the luckiest person on earth. Pretty much everyone has had a job that they hated at least once in their life, whether they be a teenager, young adult or even a baby boomer.

Sometimes, however, the job you hate can be turned into the job you tolerate, if you handle it the right way. Here are some simple ways to do just that.

1. Take Pride in Your Work Space.

Whether your space is a laptop-friendly desk or behind a cash register, make cleanliness and organization a priority for where you spend the majority of your time. It can actually be fun to work when your space is an extension of your personality, giving you a comfortable place to concentrate and perform. Doing this will also keep you from losing important things (like money).

2. Talk to Your Boss Regularly.

Your boss may not be the nicest person in the world, but most people who are in charge tend to have a decent level of passion for the place they work in. When we work somewhere that is draining us, it can be refreshing for us to sit down with our boss and hear his perspective on how things are going. It may even inspire you to improve your own responsibilities, and the initiative won’t go unnoticed.

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3. Do Something You Love While You’re Not Working.

For most of you reading this, you’re probably not doing the job you see yourself doing in 10 years. Your passions may lie elsewhere, and that’s a big reason why we sometimes have trouble enjoying a job that isn’t going anywhere for us. That’s why it’s important to always fuel your interests on the side. This can be a hobby, sport, activity or even side business that is related to what you ultimately want to do. Who knows? This could be a stepping stone to starting your own business.

4. Set Goals That Are Within Your Control.

Be realistic about your personal situation and what is necessary for moving forward. The job you hate right now might be a necessity for what lies ahead, but it’s important to make sure that you’re not taking shortcuts. Instead of trying to “wow” your boss with tough promises to keep, stick to working hard and accomplishing what’s in your power to perform. Doing this consistently is vastly more impressive.

5. Bring Snacks For Your Coworkers.

This is especially crucial if you are one of my coworkers. It should go without saying that being kind to others will make you (and them) happier, and if you’re working somewhere that always seems to have an air of negativity, then simple gestures like this will go a long way.

6. Show Up To Work Consistently Early.

Yes, I know that I said earlier to set goals that you can control, but that doesn’t make this tip any less useful for making your job more tolerable. It seems counter-intuitive (why would I want to spend more time in a place I hate?), but the truth is that this habit will set a good pace for your shift and give you momentum. Plus, it’s one of the easiest ways for you to stand out in the eyes of your superiors, leading to possible promotion opportunities.

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7. Take Pride In How You Look.

Clothes make the man/woman, as they say. Dressing to impress is one of the best ways to build confidence at work, which leads to a smoother workday. If you show up to work looking disheveled and tired, then you may just end up feeling disheveled and tired.

8. Look Out For The Newer Employees.

You probably remember how confusing and disorienting it was to start a new job you know nothing about. Pay it forward by helping new coworkers find their place and learn. This is a great way for you to feel good about the job you have and what you’ve learned there so far.

9. Learn As Much As Possible.

Speaking of learning, one of the best ways to break the monotony of your job is by training yourself to do more than what is required of you. For some jobs, this is actually the only way for you to get promoted at all, as it is the type of ambition that supervisors are looking for.

10. Talk To Your Coworkers About Something Besides How Much You Hate Work.

Break room conversations have this nasty tendency to turn into “Who can complain the most?” contests. The problem is that complaining does nothing to improve your job, and it will barely even make you feel better. Plus, most coworkers don’t want to hear you complain anyway (and the other way around). Take a break from work and its problems when you’re with your coworkers, and talk about something that will actually make you happy.

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11. Come Up With Ideas To Make The Company Better.

If there is something that you feel could be improved or fixed at work, come up with the solutions yourself. Also, you may have a great idea that will go over well with your boss. It definitely doesn’t hurt to show an attitude of problem-solving, and this is a great way to make real changes to a work environment that might not be working. Just make sure to always be polite and respectful when presenting your opinions.

12.  Have Fun With Your Coworkers.

As long as it doesn’t interfere with your productivity, playing games and having inside jokes with coworkers is a great way to keep up your morale during a stressful day. In fact, I’ve had plenty of bosses who get this and encourage short games to clear everyone’s head.

13. Start a Gratitude Journal.

You don’t have to show this to anyone, but it’s good to keep a record of the positive memories and milestones you’ve made at your job. Additionally, this can take the form of a social media group you have online where you can post pictures of good times you’ve had with your coworkers.

14. Take Breaks.

This is easy advice to follow for most of you, but it’s also important for you to be good at taking breaks. What I mean is that we sometimes come back from our breaks feeling less than refreshed. To avoid this, try getting fresh air and some quick exercise instead of eating junk food and staring at your phone.

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15. Be Grateful That You Have a Job.

Always remember that some people would beg to have your job, so don’t take it for granted. Sure, it may not be perfect or what you want to do for the rest of your life, but focus on what you can do in the present to make your job matter.

You May Also Want to Read: 20 Things You Need To Stop Doing In Your 20s.

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Jon Negroni

An author and blogger who shares about lifestyle advice

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

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Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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