I hate my job! Have you ever said that?
Chances are if you've held any position for any length of time at all, you've uttered the words “I hate my job.” It seems like a prevailing attitude these days.
Let me contrast hating your job from pursuing early retirement or financial freedom because you want to have more control over your time and your life. Though some have said they hate their jobs, most want to take more control of their lives and put together a plan to get there sooner rather than later.
I'm talking about those of us who say I hate my job but feel like they can't do anything about it.
Why We Hate Our Jobs
There are a lot of reasons for being unhappy with our jobs. Here's a shortlist – too many meetings, bad bosses, not enough vacation time, long hours, not appreciated, too much stress, not fulfilling, or not what matches my education.
Can I be honest with you? As the saying goes, these are first world problems. Sometimes I think we forget how good we have it. I'll spare you the soapbox about how good we have it in this country relative to the rest of the world. And I'm certainly not suggesting that anyone should stay in a job that's causing them stress that leads to health problems.
Here's the thing that bothers me. I think we have lost perspective on work. That scares me a bit. If everyone hated their jobs and decided to quit, where would that leave the economy? It would be a mess. Thankfully, not everyone quits their jobs.
But should they? What should we do if we find ourselves in an unbearable job situation? Should we tell our boss to shove it? Stick it out?
That's what I want to talk about in this post.
I Hate My Job – By the Numbers
Polls and studies tell us that the vast majority of people hate their jobs. A couple of years ago, in 2017, Gallup conducted a survey on workplace happiness. In reality, it was about workplace unhappiness. The title of the study, The World's Broken Workplace, says it all. The results show that a staggering 85% of the workers of the world say they hate their jobs. I'm not making this up. It's not that they don't like their jobs. They say they hate them.
The reason they cite the most? They hate their boss. Here's a quote from the article:
“According to Gallup's World Poll, many people in the world hate their job and especially their boss…Employees everywhere don't necessarily hate the company or organization they work for as much as they do their boss. Employees”
Wow! And there is more:
“Only 15% of the world's one billion full-time workers are engaged at work. It is significantly better in the U.S., at around 30% engaged, but this still means that roughly 70% of American workers aren't engaged. It would change the world if we did better.”
The Ladders wrote a review of the study and said the following:
“The 2017 Mind the Workplace report, released by the nonprofit group Mental Health America (MHA) and The Faas Foundation, surveyed more than 17,000 U.S. workers in 19 industries and found that 71% were either “actively looking for new job opportunities” or had the topic on their minds “always, often or sometimes” at work. Only 19% said they “rarely or never” think about getting another job.
Whichever study you choose to use, the evidence is clear. People are unhappy with their jobs!
5 Things to Do If You Hate Your Job
1. Look for Another Job
I hesitate to put this first. But I understand the reality. Many of you can't see your way out of ever being happy with your current job situation. So, let's look at some ways you can find another job.
First, get that killer resume' ready. The resume' should be your best first impression. Spend time getting that together. Consult an expert if you think that will help. Have others look it over and make suggestions. Don't skimp on this step. Most get passed over. Yours needs to stand out. Make sure it does.
If you're in a job that pays $100k or more, start with The Ladders. Their specialty is finding high paying jobs. You can post your resume' there, get into networking groups, and so much more. Even if you're not looking for a $100k plus job, it's a great site to get educated on the process.
Indeed.com is another excellent place to look. Their site is much more broad-based. YOu can enter keywords into a search box describing the kinds of jobs you want. Uploading your resume is a simple process. They have profiles of numerous companies you can research. You can search by salary range, income, location, and many more.
These three would be my top choices to start the job search.
With that out of the way, I would suggest this not be your first step. I'll tell you why when I cover the next few things to do.
2. Take Time for Self-Reflection
I'm probably stepping into some dangerous territory here with this one. But if we don't do some self-reflection when things aren't going our way, we are more prone to bad decisions.
Have you noticed it? The blame game is alive and well. It seems like most of us don't want to take responsibility for our actions. That's especially true when it comes to our mistakes. It's much easier to find fault in someone else. In reality, the responsibility may not be with anyone's error. It may have everything to do with our mindset.
Carol Dweck, who wrote a great book on the topic of mindset,
The latter description is the growth mindset. The former is a fixed mindset. If you have a fixed mindset in life, you will likely be miserable in your job. Here's how I described it in an article on the subject of mindset:
It's a dangerous perfectionist mindset. Do you look at yourself as being flawless? If so, how do you think that impacts those around you at work? Be willing to examine yourself critically to look at your role in your unhappiness at work. People with a growth mindset are always looking for ways to learn and grow.
As yourself some of the following questions.
If you're one who says I hate my job, take a look at what it is you hate about it. Is it the area of the company? Do you hate your boss? Is the work tedious? If you could do something else with the company, what would it be?
3. Talk to Your Boss
If, after self-reflection, you feel you've done everything you can, it's time to talk to your boss. Before you do, though, get yourself in the right frame of mind. If you go in with an attitude, or with an accusing tone, it won't go well for you. If you're angry and can't get rid of that anger, don't have the conversation until you've settled down. Often, the root of the problems at the workplace comes down to communication.
I'm not saying your boss isn't a jerk. He or she very well be a jerk. What I am saying is that it doesn't mean they aren't willing to change. Think about what you want to say before setting up the meeting. Write down your thoughts. Talk to your spouse, partner, significant other, or a good friend. Vet it out with someone you trust. Be careful when you do that to look critically at both sides of the issue. There are always two sides to every story. As you contemplate the conversation, try to get a feel for your boss's side of the story. Look at things from their perspective.
Don't turn assumptions based on your feelings into facts. Facts are just that – facts. Just because you think you know why someone does something, that doesn't make it a fact. It's an opinion. Look at the other possibilities outside of what you think.
Everyone is fighting a battle. Someone who is a jerk is likely an unhappy person. They have baggage you don't know about. You have baggage they don't know about. Understanding that aspect of the human condition is helpful when preparing to have tough conversations.
4. Expand Your Skillset
Let's say that, after answering the previous questions, you find there may be another place in the company that's a better fit. Do you have the skills or education to move into that position? If not, what would it take to get those skills?
Once you have the answer to that question, put together a plan to get that education. Most companies nowadays offer assistance to advance your knowledge. Most want to help those who wish to further their careers with their company. Pursue that education and make yourself a better employee. If it turns out that the job you want and the skills you need to get it is outside of your current company, put together a plan to get those skills or that education.
According to the Pew Research study referenced earlier, people in management are much more likely to be satisfied with their jobs. They are salaried employees with excellent benefits as part of the job. People in retail, “manual operations” have fewer benefits and lower job satisfaction. The survey shows that 59% of people earning $75,000 or more in salary say they are “very satisfied” with their current job.
Get the additional skills, degree, or certification you need to move into the higher-paying jobs. Work on your income by working on your education and skills.
5. Develop Other Sources of Income
Finding other sources of income may sound far-fetched if you're miserable in your current job and working long, stressful hours. For a refresher, go back to #2 and check on your mindset. We're going to assume you want to get better and improve your position. Finding financial independence brings options to your life. Having multiple sources of income is one of the best paths to get there.
Sides hustles for busy people are possible. There are numerous ways to make money that don't take a lot of time. Not sure where to start? I get it. If you're one of those people who say I hate my job and you feel stuck, thinking about side hustles can be difficult. If that describes you, please don't give up hope. Whether you're an introvert, extrovert, or a combination of both (yes, that's possible), there are numerous ways to earn side income.
The most successful people who retire comfortably have more than one source of income. It may be from investments in real estate, dividend-paying stocks, businesses, or a simple part-time job. You would be surprised how little money and time it takes to get started in some of these side hustles or investments.
Don't think it's impossible because you don't have the time or skills. You have plenty of both. Focusing on a plan to create additional income is a marathon, not a spring. It won't get you out of the job you hate tomorrow.
However, it might make it easier to put up with or feel better about it if you know you have a plan to move away.
I am keenly aware that anyone reading this who's in the I hate my job mindset, might find this oversimplified. I'd go so far as to say it might even piss you off. I mean, no one wants to hear about the changes and steps they need to take to improve a difficult job situation. It's much easier to put the onus on another person. Perhaps you put it on the company, the culture, or all of these things.
Here's what I know. There is one and only one thing we can control in these kinds of situations. No, it isn't our boss. Nor is it the company's management (though they may be horrible). It isn't the work environment. It isn't any of those things. You know where I'm going with this. The one thing we can control is us. We can't control our circumstances, only how we react and respond to them.
It's our choice. We can stay stuck in the mindset of trying to force change on others. Or we can take matters into our own hands and change the one thing we can control.
Make no mistake. It's easier said than done. I realize that. We will have a much better chance for success when the focus of the change and examination is on ourselves, rather than the one we think is the reason for our misery.
There is a lot more that we could say about this kind of situation. I like to keep things simple. The five items listed here are, at the very least, a starting point to help get you unstuck.
Fred started the blog Money with a Purpose in October 2017. The blog focused on three primary areas: Personal Finance, Overcoming Adversity, and Lifestyle. During his time at Money with a Purpose, he was quoted in Forbes, USA Today and appeared in Money Magazine, MarketWatch, The Good Men Project, Thrive Global and many other publications.
In April 2019, Fred, along with two other partners, acquired The Money Mix website. To focus his time and energy where he could be the most productive, Fred recently merged Money with a Purpose with The Money Mix. You can now find all of his great content right here on The Money Mix, along with content from some of the brightest minds in personal finance.