The Ultimate Secret to Survive a Job You Hate

Work & Career



If you're looking for the answer to surviving a job you hate, I've got you covered -- and also, I'm so sorry.

 Working a job you hate can be BRUTAL.

It's no secret that work is a huge part of our lives - the average person spends up to 90,000 hours at work in their life time, and it's more than just a time commitment.

Like it or not, what we do becomes part of what we are. You're not limited to or defined by what you do for work, but it will affect and shape who you are becoming, at least to a certain extent.

With this in mind, being stuck in a job that you hate is more than just an inconvenience - it's emotionally exhausting, draining, and downright depressing. It's a common affliction, but a serious one.

Maybe you've already started the hunt for a new opportunity, but in the meantime -- or if that's not an option -- you're going to need to know how to cope in the environment. These tools will equip you not just to survive, but to actually start enjoying life. At the very least, you can neutralize space, and if you're willing to put the effort it, perhaps make it a slightly positive experience. 

It's not all up to you, so don't pile on the pressure, but open yourself up to the possibility of having a better experience than you're expecting. 

How to Survive a Job You Hate

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1. Build positive rhythms outside of work

Okay, first things first... if you want to survive a job you hate, you need to find some things to keep you sane. It's realllly easy to either drown in feeling miserable or find unhealthy distractions - video games, Netflix binges, social media spirals... Not all of which are unhealthy in moderation, but when used to escape reality, can become dangerous. 

Make a list of fun, healthy things you enjoy doing or would like to start doing. For example: working out, hanging out with friends, taking cooking or pottery classes, developing a new hobby or side hustle, etc. Anything that makes you feel alive, light up, and actually enjoy living.

Rather than doing these things once in a blue moon, make them regular rhythms. This doesn't directly affect your work at all, but it gives you something to look forward to that has nothing to do with it. Building positive rhythms helps you to separate your work life from your real life, and your identity from who you feel like you are at work. 

2. find a purpose in the workplace that you enjoy

You probably can't control how much time you spend in the workplace, or most of how you spend it, and that's fine. But you do have control over your individual purpose. 

Go with me for a second. I'm not talking about your job description, but your personal, emotionally-driven purpose in the workplace. 

What do you want to be known for at the end of your life? How do you want to impact people? Who do you want to be in the workplace?

I'm taking a leap here and assuming that your goals are something more than just "the rich guy" or "the guy that got the promotion", not that either of those are bad things. I was asked this question a couple of years ago, and after some heavy reflection, I knew that the answer was that I wanted to love people really well. No matter what space I'm in, or how close I am to people -- I want everyone around me to feel loved. 

Maybe for you, it's being a good leader. A cultivator of community. A creative mind. Endlessly trustworthy. 

That's a question only you can answer, but when you know the answer, memorize it. Write it on your hand, your heart, tattoo it on your brain, and use it to fuel you at work when you don't like what you're doing.

When you're desperately trying to survive a job that you hate, It's reallly easy to idealize our future selves -- the ones who've got this purpose down pat, who are the best versions of us, and who nail it every time. But your future self and your current self are exactly the same person. And it's not easier to be better when you're at the top. 

how to survive a job you hate

3. look for ways to contribute

We've established by this point that you hate your job. Whether that's due to the work itself or the environment, I can only guess. Regardless of the answer, this situation is an opportunity for you, like it or not. 

Assuming you have yet to quit, or can't, you're stuck here for a bit. You could spend a lot of time thinking about the problems, the crappy parts of the job, the nasty boss, the annoying coworker... or you could actively look for ways to contribute to the community.

I know, I know -- when you're struggling, this advice can feel cheesy, simple, and unwanted. But it does make a difference. 

Why not be a part of the solution? You don't have to step out and get crazy, but just show up, be kind, and don't give in to whatever unhealthy or toxic patterns are present. Offer helpful suggestions, constructive input, and look for ways to make things better for everyone. 

4. Let go of things you can't control

This one is a not-as-fun one, but it's really important. Odds are, a lot of the hardest parts of this job are things that are entirely beyond your control. Maybe you work for an organization whose ethics don't reflect your own or your direct supervisor is a pill.

Whatever it may be, let it go. If there's nothing you can do about it, you've shifted your purpose, you're working to contribute, and all this is doing is weighing on you, let it go. 

The more you hang on to it, the more power it has over your life, and the only one losing out here is you. It doesn't mean it won't suck, sting, or flare up from time and time, and that's okay. Repressing your feelings isn't helpful. But neither is griping. 

You can't survive a job you hate by making yourself miserable. 

Change your attitude and your heart towards the situation, and to the things you can't, shift your focus entirely. Find new things to dwell on and think about. You can even try calling a friend or turning on a podcast every time you start to go down a negative spiral. Control your mental narrative, and don't let a crappy situation ruin your outlook. 

5. use your voice where you can

Finally, and with the greatest sense of empowerment, use your voice wherever you can. If your company allows, welcomes, or asks for feedback, give it honestly. If you feel as though you can talk to your boss about making changes, go for it. 

Sometimes in negative situations we unintentionally put chains on our wrists, assuming that we're powerless to change things, when in fact, that's not the case. 

Speak up when things are going wrong, particularly if the situation is detrimental to yourself and others. You're probably not the only one there trying to survive a job you hate. If you're in a toxic work environment, considering taking actionable steps to bring it to someone's attention. 

Keep in mind: this section could also be filed under "use your voice where it is productive".  Gossip, whining, and sh**-talking your coworkers, workplace,  or job itself is not conducive to a better work environment. It will actually make things worse.

There is a time and place to speak up, and a time and place to keep your mouth shut. People are human, make mistakes, and are probably doing the best that they can. Use your voice for good, not to bash anyone else.

if you still hate your job...

It must be really, really bad. (I'm sorry!) Hang in there while you can, and look for opportunities to switch paths. Life is SHORT, and honestly, it's just not worth spending all of your time in an environment you can't stand.

It's true that achieving your dream job is a relatively new idea, and somewhat of a privileged one -- but it's worth pursuing if you can. You're here for a reason, and the world wants to experience all that you have to offer, in whatever capacity you're willing to offer it. 

We're SO glad that you found your way here - out of the habit is all about helping you craft a life based around your priorities, purpose, and goals, and we've got TONS of resources to do just that. Check out our blog and Instagram for more, and don't forget to download our FREE Goal Tracker to uplevel your future!

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