I Hate My Job! Help and Advice for the Unhappy Employee.

"I hate my job!" Do you find yourself thinking this? Well, it might be some comfort to know that you're not alone. A quick trip to any online employment forum shows this to be a common complaint.

However it's worth noting that there will be two types of people making the claim - those who are exaggerating after a particularly bad day, and those that really find themselves in a job they hate.

So first, decide if you are serious. Don't come to a conclusion in the heat of a stressful moment; consider your situation over the course of a few days to see if you really do detest your job.

  • Does it play on your mind even when you are not at work?
  • Do you dread Monday mornings?

If the answer really is yes, then you are presented with two choices:

Make It Work, or Make a Change

Having decided that the problem is serious, the next step is to isolate the factors that are making your employment such an ordeal. It may not be your actual job description and duties that are the problem, in which case you may be able to alter your situation so that changing job is not necessary.

Diagnose The Problem

Consider how long you have been feeling like this about your job. Have things got worse gradually, or is this a recent development? If things have suddenly taken a turn for the worse, you might be able to identify factors that have led to your current problems.

These 'triggers' could be work related, but don't overlook what's happening outside work either. It's important to nail down the issue here; if you decide to change jobs only to discover the issue you are having was not work related after all, you may well have made a mistake and find you would have been better off staying where you were.

Common Causes for Workplace Unhappiness 

If you find that you've been feeling this way for a long time, and are certain that the problem is in the workplace, it's likely that your problems will stem from one of the following:

You are not well suited for your job

If your work activities don't challenge, interest or stimulate you in any way, you really should be thinking about making a change of career.

You are frustrated with management

If you feel oppressed and held back by stifling management that just won't listen to or value your input, this is a good reason to seek new employers.

You are unable to get on with your co-workers

This is a very common complaint and, sadly, a very serious one. Having to spend time with people you genuinely dislike can prove a sure route to misery, so unless you are able to change your shift or placement, switching jobs will again be the best option.

You are simply not getting paid enough

Financial pressures are a sure path to stress, as Charles Dickens noted: "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds and six, result misery." Struggling to make ends meet on a constant basis will wear down even the most chirpy of spirits, so if a pay rise is not an option, you will have little choice but to find employment that makes it possible for you to live life the way you want to.

Plan of Action

Once you've identified the problem you have to make a simple judgement: is it fixable?

If the answer is no, then you need to start looking for your next job. However, because many of us lack the financial security to simply quit and live off savings while we secure new employment, there are several things we can do to improve our working life and get a new more satisfying job.

1: Get Positive

Now that you're committed to a change, making the decision in itself should be something to take heart from. You're no longer resigned to daily misery. You've made a step towards making a better life for yourself, so remember it! The end is in sight so to speak, and each day that passes is a day nearer your new start. Tell yourself this when you're feeling down and it should give you a lift.

2: Let off Steam

Keeping bad feelings bottled up is a certain path to misery, but choose the right time to make your feelings known. Obviously it's not a good idea to start ranting in the workplace - this is only likely to further increase any tensions and make your situation even more unpleasant. Friends and family should always offer a shoulder to cry on, but even the most devoted and sympathetic relative will suffer under a constant barrage of relentless whingeing.

Do yourself and everyone around you favour and take advantage of internet forums dedicated to this subject. You might be surprised at how much better you feel after laying out your grievances for an audience. You may also find reading other people's accounts will help you feel you're not alone. However, it's important to use these online forums and any social media with care. We strongly recommend you post your thoughts anonymously to prevent colleagues or management happening across your complaints and taking offense, as this will surely only make matters worse for you and could even result in dismissal.

3: Keep Your Spirits Up

Try and build positive experiences into your daily routine, especially at the start of the day. Simple things like a favourite food for breakfast, reading a paper or music on the way to work can all help you start out in a good mood. Break up your working day with similar enjoyable activities. No one is expected to work constantly, and it's a well known fact that short diversions such as a quick web browse, card game or tea break will keep the mental energy up and produce a better work performance. In free time too it's a good idea to try and stay positive and treat yourself more than you might normally, to compensate for your less than perfect work life. Enjoy yourself doing whatever you like best and spend time with people you really like.

4: Working Towards a New Day

While investing  effort into improving the immediate and short term is a must, it's important to keep in mind the main goal: breaking away from the root cause of your unhappiness and getting a new job.

It's a good idea to keep your job search activities under wraps until you have secured a new position, as any animosity you may have with co-workers could be brought to a head if it becomes common knowledge that you will soon be leaving.

Whilst you're applying for new jobs you should try and get the most out of your current position. Take up any training courses on offer; as well as looking good on your CV, it will help you stay focused on improving your situation. Also, it's good to leave your current placement with a reputation as a person who is working to better themselves. This can only help when it comes to references and any checks your new employer might carry out.

If you can get into the mindset of setting yourself goals, such as number of jobs applied for each week, CVs delivered, training classes attended, you will maintain a sense a progress which will go a long way to keeping you motivated and confident - characteristics that always go down well at interviews.

5: Making a Clean Break

Once you have secured new employment resist all urges to settle any scores. Try and keep your dignity and follow all the correct procedures in terms of giving notice and so forth. A nice touch is to offer to help train your replacement if necessary, so your current employers won't feel that you are leaving them short and be tempted to put a black mark on your references.

At this stage you don't need to get involved in any point scoring. You are moving forward to a better place and it will be an easier ride for everyone involved - including yourself - if things remain civil. Leaving on the best possible terms will also leave you in the best starting position to invest all your efforts in making your new job a success, which is the most important thing for you now the 'job you hate' is a thing of the past.

If you've received a counter-offer be sure to read our advice on how to handle those.

Good luck and keep your chin up!