You probably know the story all too well: you need a job to pay the bills. You have a job that allows you to support yourself, but you can’t stop hating it. Why does this happen and what can you do about it?
Help! I hate my job!
I think that many young people find themselves in this situation. And you may be one of them. You go to work and you do your best, but you feel that nobody appreciates you. You get the feeling that the bosses you have are not brighter than you or better than you at what they do. They do not work harder than you do and you feel that this is unfair. You don’t really have any opportunities to be promoted yourself in the near future. Or maybe you don’t like your colleagues since they are all looking after themselves and nobody bothers to be nice to you. Or maybe you never make enough money to save up and afford that great vacation you deserve.
Maybe you dread going to work and always count the hours until you can go back home. You cannot wait to have the weekend off to relax and enjoy life. But why does this happen? I think that there are many reasons for this, but I’ll talk about some of the most common.
Why you probably hate your job
Reason #1: Negative working conditions
In the worst case scenario, your working conditions are terrible. If you are putting yourself in danger just by going to work, I think that you should try to leave that job as soon as possible. But in many cases, the situation is not dangerous, it’s just really unpleasant.
Here are a few examples:
- you have to commute every day and that takes a really long time
- your bosses or colleagues are mean, selfish or ignore you
- you make little money and struggle to support yourself
- there is a lot of pressure to perform well and meet unrealistic deadlines
What you can do
When your working conditions are objectively bad or negative, the obvious thing to do would be to change those conditions. Move closer to work, try to befriend your colleagues, ask for a raise or explain your boss that his/her deadlines are unrealistic.
If you can and want to work on improving these conditions, as soon as you do, you may start to enjoy your job more. Or, at least, you will hate it less…But in some situations, there is not much you can do.
So if you cannot change your circumstances, change your perspective. Try to also look on the bright side. Think about the things you love about your job: great location, health benefits, the possibility of a raise and so on. It may be that the situation is not as negative as it seemed.
However, trying to change your perspective can help in certain situations, but it’s still hard to cope with a two-hour commute, a boss that is always breathing down your neck or financial stress. I think that when the problem is a lot of pressure or too many negative conditions, a positive perspective may do little to improve the way you feel.
If you can, consider finding a better workplace. In some cases, this may not be possible right now. And I would not advise you to unexpectedly quit your job with no alternative or money to support yourself while you look for a better job. But if finding a better job will help you enjoy your life more and, if you can find a better job, I encourage you to do this!
Reason #2: You can’t use your talents, skills and abilities
We all have many innate talents or skills and abilities we developed along the years. I’m relatively good at writing while you may be good at teaching, playing football or creating websites. We also have our own interests and passions. I am interested in psychology, politics and the effect of technology. You may be interested in biology, social media trends or painting.
All these things are important to us and they define who we are. They also make us feel competent, curious, excited and happy. If we can use some or most of our skills and abilities at work, we will obviously enjoy our work much more than if we can’t.
If you are a skilled and passionate photographer who is working as a cashier, you probably won’t be very happy. But if you love working with people and helping others, being a cashier may make you happy.
Your strengths allow you to do quality work and to feel good about yourself. Moreover, if you can use your top strengths often, you will become happier. Martin Seligman, the founder of positive psychology, talks about 24 fundamental values or strengths.1 He states that we all have a few top strengths. If we can identify them and find a way to use them often in our work, this will contribute to our happiness. 1
What you can do
First of all, you need to find out what your skills are. Think about what you are naturally good at and what you consciously learned in the last years. Think about the skills you developed while working in different settings. You can also take a test that was designed by Seligman and his team here.
After you have identified your strengths, ask yourself if you can use them in your current job. There is a chance that you are already using some of them. But if you aren’t, try to find ways to make the most of your abilities. Ask yourself if you can do your job differently while also using some of your skills. If not, consider finding a different position in the company that better suits you.
If you cannot use any of your skills at your job, consider finding a new one. Think about the field and type of work that would allow you to make the most of your abilities. What type of job would that be? Are you qualified to do it? What would it take for you to get hired for that position/company that would allow you to use your skills?
Obviously, you will not be able to make these changes instantly. It is a process that may take days, months or even years. Even if you are not making a change now, think about this and keep looking for opportunities. Maybe finding a job that allows you to use your skills will be easier than you think. It will definitely be more challenging and more rewarding.
Reason #3: You have no future
Maybe your job is not that bad. There is no angry boss yelling at you and you already use some of your skills. You actually enjoy working. However, you are not really satisfied because you cannot imagine yourself growing or moving forward.
Maybe you work in a setting where it is really hard to climb the corporate ladder. There are few opportunities, your bosses are unfair or they always promote the people they get along with and you are not one of them.
Or maybe you don’t want to be promoted at all. You have seen how your superiors work and you do not even dream about that. They are working much more than you, they are under a lot of pressure and they do not earn a lot more money than you. Either way, you cannot or do not want to be promoted.
What you can do
I think that in this situation, you have two options: you either stay in that position or leave. Ask yourself if you like your job enough to continue doing it for a few years. If you want to keep working on that level and in those conditions, then do that.
But if you want to grow, to find more opportunities and to prove yourself – and cannot do that at your current workplace – perhaps you should find a new one. Try to look for other jobs, companies or even fields where it could be easier to get promoted. Talk to your friends and colleagues and ask them for information and advice. Read about this online and try to find more information before you make any decision. But if having a career plan and being able to advance is important for you, definitely consider this.
You shouldn’t hate your job
As I said, I’m afraid that many people go to work every day even if they despise going to work. If you are one of them, I hope this article helped you better identify what it is that you don’t like about your job. I honestly believe that we should not work at a place that makes us miserable all the time. We may not all be able to find our dream jobs easily and quickly, but we shouldn’t hate what we do either.
I hope that you will reflect on your current job and do what is best for you. However, keep in mind that changes do not need to happen instantly. Don’t hand in your resignation after reading this article. Take the time to really think about what you want and how you can achieve it. Consider your options and your backup plan. But whatever you do, don’t forget that you can do something about this. You are not stuck and you deserve to enjoy the work you do!
How do you feel about your job? What it is you like/ don’t like about it? And if you are currently in a transition, I would love to hear about your experience!
- Authentic Happiness, Martin Seligman