The Sunday scaries – I knew it was getting bad when what used to be Sunday scaries, turned into Friday scaries. I was freaked out about Monday before the weekend had even started! This went on for months and months. So today I’m sharing some strategies on how to cope with a job you might strongly dislike. And how being successful at a job you don’t like can help you in the long run.
Maybe it’s a job you hate or is not in line with what you actually want to do with your life. I think knowing that others are going through the same thing is what helped me the most. Those feelings of being miserable and dreading the next day were all too familiar. And the anxiety and stress that I felt on the daily were becoming way too normal.
If you’re here, I’m guessing that means you either are going through this same thing or have been in my boat.
Stuck, and uninspired
I think this feeling of being stuck is way too common of a theme for those of us who have recently graduated college. For me, I felt stuck because I had been given an opportunity fresh out of college. It was for a company I wanted to work for, but a position I never saw myself being in. But, we’re told to accept opportunities when they come our way. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret taking that job one bit.
But once I was in it, I felt the need to progress within that ladder, get promoted, seek out more responsibilities and try to get ahead. Which again, I don’t regret it. BUT! I was so focused on leveling up in this position I didn’t even like. 3 years went by like the blink of an eye and I realized they were spent completely unhappy, uninspired, stressed out, anxious, and so incredibly unfulfilled.
While I was grateful for the experience, the skills I gained and the friends I made/colleagues I worked with, I wasn’t putting me first. I was fresh out of college; pouring my all into this company and position I didn’t even want for myself.
Eventually, I did end up leaving that job, check out how that went down here!
How I would cope
I need to be the one to take control of how I feel about things. So I began looking at ways I could cope with my anxiety and stress, while still fulfilling my desires to be successful at a job I didn’t like. There were certainly days that were still hard but I had skills to keep me level-headed.
- Realizing that work is truly a choice; I changed my perspective. I didn’t have to work there, I could quit at any time. Really, I wasn’t as stuck as much as I felt like I was. Once I switched my perspective, I felt a little more unstuck.
- Thinking about my resume. I became like my own manager, looking at ways I could add to my resume while I knew I was still going to spend some time there.
- Adopting some self-care rituals. I’m obviously big on self-care (if you didn’t already know). These helped keep me calm during our crazy days at work.
- I became more transparent with my boss. When I was clear with her about my workload, the workloads of my colleagues, and realistic expectations, I received so much support from her. This alone helped alleviate some of the anxiety and stress I was feeling, so I was able to be as successful as I wanted to be.
- Setting clear boundaries. I started taking a full hour lunch and told people when I was taking a break. Slowly but surely I began to feel that I could take breaks when I needed them, knowing my colleagues would respect them. The emails were still rolling in, but nobody was bleeding out on the table.
- breathing! I know it’s obvious but I can’t remember how many times I was stressed out and realized I was either holding my breath, breathing shallow, or just not breathing. Super recommend this app btw!
- First things first, figure out why you hate your job.
If you can’t pinpoint the root of why you feel a particular way, it’ll be pretty difficult to fix anything. Figure out what things you don’t like about your job, determine those that are tangible and then determine what can be changed.
For instance, maybe your work is piling up and you find yourself getting overwhelmed. You might have the thought that your coworkers or boss aren’t respecting your time. Those thoughts of course lead to feelings of frustration and maybe anger. But change the thought, that perhaps your boss or coworkers truly do respect your time but were unaware of your workload. We can’t assume that people know our thoughts and feelings. No matter how clear you think a situation is.
- Be proactive in your pursuits.
Knowing you don’t like your job is one step. But figuring out what you truly want is the next step. I think there’s power in knowing what you don’t want, so I don’t see things as a waste of time. Most opportunities we get in life are lessons anyway! But by knowing what you want you can start actively working toward those things, whilst you have steady paychecks coming in!
For me, I started taking my lunch breaks as opportunities to explore my wants and desires. It’s definitely scary pursuing a potential unknown, but weighing things out, I would think being miserable is far scarier. When I did this I also felt like I was gaining some of my control back. Which was major when I felt like I had so little control. Some of that exploring was starting this blog :).
- Network and keep building bridges
With all of the hard work you put in each day, you don’t want to burn any bridges by either becoming complacent or slacking off. Keep your work ethic up and ensure you’re being consistent with the work you put out. You’ll likely leave this job, but you don’t want to burn any bridges. If there’s good work to show then you definitely want to keep those relationships with those who know it.
- Take your vacations
I literally started scheduling mental health days. I would take a Friday or Monday off of work here and there to recharge, ground myself and make sure I was taken care of. Making sure to plan out vacations will also bring positivity into your days. Having something to look forward to, especially knowing it’s a break from your work will have you feeling (hopefully) quite a bit better.
When I was close to maxing out my PTO bank, I somehow forgot (?) that those hours were earned. I worked hard for those hours and companies expect their employees to use their earned PTO. Put that shit on your calendar and go someplace. Or have a staycation.
Whatever you choose to do with your (earned!) time, make sure you spend it doing something you truly want to do.
Small steps you can take
I would say it’s probably pretty unrealistic to expect yourself to go from hating your job to completely coping with it and being as successful as you want to be. A few small steps you could take:
- Practice daily gratitude
- Take intentional breaks
- Bring your attention to your breath
Give these a try to start, and see if you can clearly define the things about your job you dislike. Then use that to work on what you can do to change or get out of it.
I’d love to hear your strategies if you’ve been in my boat! Leave me a note or shoot me a message.