“I Hate My Job”: What To Do Next

Dr. Anneke Schmidt, Contributor to the CareerFoundry blog

“I hate my job” is a thought many of us have had at one time or another.

Maybe you’re feeling undervalued at work, frustrated with your workplace environment, or unable to use your skills to their fullest potential.

If the feeling is persistent or becoming increasingly so, it’s likely a sign that you need to quit your job or even consider a career change to something better suited to your interests and skills. 

We spend one-third of our lives working: that’s a lot of time to be in the wrong role!  

But before you make any major decisions, it’s crucial to understand why you’re feeling so unhappy at work and to know what steps you can take to move forward. 

In this article, we’ll explore the most common signs that you hate your current job and offer seven actionable ideas for what to do next. Just use the clickable menu to jump to the sections that are most relevant to you.

Clear signs that “I hate my job”

Hating your job is a serious concern worth paying attention to because it can negatively impact your mental health and well-being.

A recent literature review observed an elevated risk of developing depression or depressive symptoms following exposure to an adverse psychosocial work environment. 

By examining different theoretical models of what constitutes adverse psychosocial work, the researchers concluded that the link to depression was particularly strong in jobs with high demand and low control—the so-called “demand-control” or “job strain” model. 

This means that job dissatisfaction and burnout are more likely to occur when you have a lot of work-related demands with little control over the situation.

Whether that’s the case for you or not, it may be helpful to assess your situation and identify if you’re experiencing any of the following signs that you hate your current position:

1. You dread going to work on Monday

If you’re at all dissatisfied with your job, you’ve probably been here. The weekend’s nearly over, and the thought of returning to work on Monday fills you with dread. If this feeling persists, it could mean that your job no longer brings you joy or fulfillment. 

To assess your situation, ask yourself: What is it that I hate about my job? Is the work itself uninspiring? Or is it the work environment?

2. You’re bored and disengaged

Often when we go home feeling miserable or are barely able to concentrate in the office on an ongoing basis, we end up blaming aspects of our personality. But it’s quite possible it’s actually due to boredom and disengagement. 

While it’s important to look inwards, more often than not it’s the context you find yourself in. If your daily tasks feel like an endless cycle of drudgery, it may be time to take stock of your current role and see if there’s an opportunity for you to find new challenges and be more creative.

3. You’ve been stagnant for a while

Sometimes, job dissatisfaction is caused by a lack of personal development opportunities and career progression. If you feel like you’re stuck in a dead-end job, it’s essential to take control of your career. 

Assess what you need to do to move forward and set yourself tangible goals, whether that’s developing new skills to take on additional responsibilities in your current position, exploring job openings in your industry, or making a career change.

4. You feel undervalued at work

Do you ever feel like your manager and colleagues don’t recognize your contribution to the team? 

This is one of the most disheartening aspects of hating your job and can lead to a lack of confidence that is difficult to overcome. 

If the relationship allows it: talk to your manager. Failing that, try talking to a mentor or career coach to draw on their experience and advice, or even approach your company’s HR for a different perspective. Just be sure not to go over anyone’s head.

overworked young employee works overtime late at night thinking "I hate my job"

5. You experience burnout and stress

But the most serious sign that you dislike your job is when it affects your energy levels and mental health.

If you constantly feel drained, frustrated, or anxious at work, it’s time to take a step back and assess the situation. 

Are you overworking yourself? Is the workload too heavy? Are there ways to make your job more sustainable? These are all critical questions to ask if you want to make sure that the energy you invest in your career is being put to good use.

If you find yourself nodding along to any of these points, it’s time to consider your next steps. 

So, let’s explore some of your options.

7 Ideas for what to do next

Maybe you came to this article with the question, “I hate my job, what should I do?” and the list of signs has only further confirmed your need for change.

It’s important to acknowledge that the decision of whether or not to stay in your current job is a deeply personal one, and whatever you decide to do will depend on your individual circumstances.

So, consider the following seven ideas as starting points for your exploration and focus on the points that resonate most with you.

1. Accept the reality

It may sound counterintuitive, but the first step in dealing with job dissatisfaction is to accept it. Acknowledge that you’re unhappy at work and sit with the feeling for a while. This will help you better understand what needs to change in your career and give you the clarity to determine how to move forward.

Action prompts

  • Take some time to sit down and acknowledge your dissatisfaction.
  • Sit with the feeling and understand what it is that needs to change.
  • Take a break to recharge before making any decisions.

2. Identify what you dislike about your job

Once you’ve accepted the reality of your situation, it’s time to start exploring what you don’t like about your current job. Make a list of what you would like to change about your role and the areas in which you feel undervalued or unchallenged. Then ask yourself if these things are fixable or fundamental to the nature of your job.

Action prompts

  • Identify ten things you don’t like about your job.
  • Evaluate these points with regard to their fixability.
  • Start brainstorming solutions for the things that can be fixed.

3. Examine your personal values

Another critical step in determining what to do next is to reflect on your values. For example, if work-life balance is important to you, it might be worth exploring job opportunities that offer more flexible hours or remote working options. Or, perhaps you’ve always wanted to break into the tech sector, and now is the time to make that exciting career move.

Action prompts

  • Make a list of your core values and goals.
  • Think about how these values fit into the current workplace.
  • Look for roles that offer more meaningful alignment with your values.

4. Focus on your mental health

As discussed, mental health is an essential factor to consider if you are unhappy in your job. So take steps to prioritize your mental well-being before making any decisions. This could mean taking regular breaks and scheduling in activities that bring you joy, such as yoga classes or nature walks.

Action prompts

  • Find ways to incorporate positive self-care into your life.
  • Focus on activities that make you feel relaxed and positive.
  • Set realistic but challenging professional goals for yourself.

5. Consider a career change

If your list of dislikes shows that the aspects you hate about your job are fundamental to its nature, you should probably make a complete career change. This could mean taking a risk and trying something entirely new or working towards something you’ve always had an interest in. 

The thought may be daunting at first, but a career change can be incredibly beneficial in the long run.

Action prompts

6. Be strategic in your job search

When looking for a new job, it’s important to take a strategic approach. 

Be mindful of the information you share online and find ways to stand out from other candidates in your field. For example, consider how you can use social media as part of your job search strategy or look into industry-specific online networks.

Action prompts

  • Develop your online presence appropriately.
  • Connect with industry contacts to find out about new job openings.
  • Update your resume to highlight the skills most relevant to your desired role.

7. Develop relevant skills for your new job

And finally, if you’re considering a career change, it’s essential to acquire the skills needed for your dream job. This could involve taking online courses, attending professional development workshops, or getting certified in a particular area. 

If you’re interested in digital marketing as a career, concentrate on these 9 essential marketing skills currently expected by employers.

Action prompts

  • Utilize online resources to acquire the necessary professional skills.
  • Consider professional certifications as a way to boost your credentials.
  • Look for part-time or freelance positions to gain relevant work experience.

Key takeaways

If you’ve recently come to realize that you hate your job, it’s vital to take proactive steps toward professional development and a potential career change. Evaluate the aspects that make you unhappy and focus on those goals that align with your personal values, interests, and skills.

Switching careers can be daunting, but with the right skills and attitude, you can make a successful job transition. Career specialist, Susan Clark, recently led an event that asked the question: “Is it time for a career change?”. The attendees found the experience informative and helpful—you might too!

Otherwise, if you’d like to read more about the general topic, we suggest checking out the following career change articles:

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