7 Things to Do When You Don’t Like Your Job (Other Than Quit)

Published: Nov 30, 2021

 Changing Jobs       Job Search       Workplace Issues       Work Relationships       

When you don’t like your job, dramatically marching into your boss's office and screaming, “I quit!” can be tempting. However, it’s probably not the wisest action you can take. Also, depending on the cause of your dissatisfaction, it’s possible that your situation is reversible. So, before you go handing in your resignation, it’s a good idea to put in some thought and effort to see if you can change things. And to help you do just that, here are seven things you can do.

1. Pinpoint the issue and try to address it

There’s an endless array of possible reasons behind work dissatisfaction. If you’re ready to tackle the issue, you must first figure out what makes you feel this way. Are you unhappy with the amount of money you earn or the benefits you receive? Is your workday too long and tiring? Are your boss and colleagues giving you a hard time? Whatever it is, know that it’s always possible to improve things. Once you pinpoint the problem, fixing it becomes infinitely easier.

2. Build better relationships with your coworkers

Even the dullest, most horrible job is easier to bear if you’re surrounded by positive people whose company you genuinely enjoy. Unfortunately, a friendly work environment isn’t everyone's reality, and it’s often the main reason people feel unhappy at work. With that said, one of the best things to do when you dislike your job is to improve the relationships you have with your coworkers. Try to get to know them better, be kind, accessible, and make sure not to force things.

3. Set healthy boundaries

How often are you asked to work overtime or do something that’s technically not your responsibility? Probably more often than you’re comfortable with, which could be why you dislike your job. While saying no to a colleague, superior, or even your boss isn’t easy, setting healthy boundaries at work is imperative. Remember that there are better ways to present yourself as a valuable employee than being the “yes man” who is always willing to step in. Your mental and physical health should always come first, and if your employer disagrees, it might be a good idea to look for a new job.

4. Improve your skills and acquire new ones

If you think you dislike your job, low productivity or boredom could be the main causes. Luckily, there’s a relatively easy fix for these issues—devote some attention to your skillset! Improving your current skills will provide you with better work efficiency and maybe even help you stand out in the eyes of your superiors. On the other hand, acquiring new skills could land you a better position or even a better job. And all these outcomes will undoubtedly lead to less stress and more satisfaction at work.

5. Change your mindset

Often, a switch in perspective is all you need to like your job better. As cliché as it may sound, maintaining a positive mindset is a powerful strategy in all aspects of life, especially work. In other words: fake it till you make it! This doesn't mean you have to force yourself to be cheery when you don't feel like it, but it does help to try to see the positive side of things. Whether it's something meaningful like the fact that your job allows you to help people or something benefit-related like you get to work remotely two days a week, those happy details will make all the difference.

6. Improve your life outside of work

If one aspect of your life makes you miserable, chances are all the others will suffer as well. In other words, if you’re unhappy at work, you’ll likely be down at home, too, and vice versa. And although this sounds like an unbreakable vicious circle, the reality is far from that. Take a good look at your daily routine and ask yourself what it’s dulling your sparkle. If you’re working from home and feel like your living space isn't suitable for this, it might be time to call a moving company to help you relocate. If you’re unhappy with how you spend your free time, try to better organize your daily routine and put in some effort to pursue the things you enjoy. Working on whatever is making you unhappy will undoubtedly help you feel more satisfied at work, too.

7. Devise a plan for the future

If you've tried all of the above and nothing seems to work, remember that positive change is still possible. However, you might have to look for it elsewhere. An excellent way to break the cycle of dissatisfaction and unhappiness at work is to make a plan for the future. Whether you want to chase a higher position or find a new job, make sure to put your intentions on paper. This will help you visualize your goals and motivate you to strive towards them.

Final thoughts

Being stuck in a position that brings you nothing but stress is far from ideal. After all, we spend a significant chunk of our lives at work, and it's often impossible to detach yourself from office troubles when you come home after a particularly trying day. Luckily, some self-reflection and a bit of effort can go a long way in this daunting situation. While there are quite a few things to do when you dislike your job aside from quitting, the vital one is to take control of the circumstances. Remember that things are never hopeless, and change is possible.

Regina Bowman is a psychologist with over a decade of experience. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge in hopes of helping people better navigate their work and personal lives.

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