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8 Practical Ways to Cope with your Job until you can Quit. (And a Printable Worksheet!)

8 practical ways to deal with your job until you can quit

Do you hate your job?

There are ways to actually cope with a job you hate. I’m gonna be honest and raw right now. I absolutely hate my job. The one that I work 5 days a week, 8 hours per day. The one that pays the bills right now.

I. Hate. It.

If you are reading this right now, chances are that you are 1) my mother, or 2) also hating on your job pretty strongly. You are probably hoping to hear something more helpful than, “If you hate your job so much, then just quit!” Well, I am here to tell you there are many more ways to cope with a job you hate than to just quit.

You can’t just quit.

Both you and I know there is a huge flaw in the theory that if you hate something you should just quit. It’s totally ridiculous to give someone that advice for several reasons. 

  1. If you quit, how do you pay the bills? Most of us do not have a huge stash of cash somewhere. We work because we have to pay bill. If you work because you love it, then you can just stop reading now. This post is not for you.
  2. Since you have a full-time job already, when are you going to find time for interviewing? Sure, you could probably stay up late applying for jobs but interviewing is usually scheduled during the day at the convenience of the hiring manager.
  3. If you are looking for a job outside of your current organization, chances are that the pay will be lower because you are starting all over, especially if you do not have a great education or tons of experience. (See next point).
  4. Unless you have a great education or tons of experience, your options may be limited when it comes to finding something that both pays well and that you are qualified to do.

8 practical ways to cope with your job until you can quit

Please hear me out. I’m not here to discourage you and I am all for you getting out of the job you hate. But until you realistically can quit without becoming homeless, there are some things you can do to be a little happier.

Analyze the situation

Look at the situation and try to pinpoint why you are unhappy and see if there is a feasible way you can fix it. Forgive me if you have already looked at your situation from millions of angles and can’t see anything differently. For those of you who haven’t, ask yourself some important questions:

Is it your actual job you hate, the thing that you technically do every day?  Is it your boss that drives you nuts or you can’t trust? Is it your coworkers? Is it the politics and/or protocols that are put into place? Is it the hours or the commute to and from work? It could be a combination of more than one of these. Think of every facet of your work life and write down how you feel about it.

Next, brainstorm about ways you can fix it, if possible. Sometimes there are solutions and sometimes there are not but it never hurts to find out. This is especially true if you are able to avoid the hassle of finding a new job. If there is not way to fix it, don’t feel bad because I have some more suggestions for you.

Get up for something other than your job.

Don’t go to bed with the thought of getting up just so you can go to work the next morning. Later on I will get into some practical things that you can do to change your situation. Right now, these small things need to be implemented to help you hang on through the change. Don’t stop reading yet.

You will get up (after hitting snooze a few times) so that you can make it to work on time but that doesn’t have to be your primary reason for getting up in the morning. Change it to something else. Intentionally plan something into your routine that you actually do look forward to getting up for. It doesn’t have to be anything huge and it will be different for everyone, but it MUST be something enjoyable. Here are some ideas but I challenge you to think of something that fits you personally.

  1. A morning walk/jog in the fresh air. I can tell you right now, this is not what I get up for.
  2. A delicious breakfast if trying new dishes is your thing. You have to have breakfast anyway so may as well.
  3. Read a chapter in a book each morning. That will definitely make you want to get up so you can see what happens next.
  4. Make a simple coffee and try some new creamers. One of my personal favorite ideas.
  5. Have a morning quiet time, just you and God. (I love this one!)

Getting up to do something you love is much more fun than getting up to go to work!

Focus on life outside of your job

Sometimes my job is so overwhelming that my first tendency is to come home and veg out in front of the TV or scroll through Facebook for the evening. There’s nothing wrong with these things, in and of themselves, but do make sure you aren’t spending your time that way every evening. You don’t want to look back and know that you let your unfulfilling life at work rule the fulfilling life you could’ve had elsewhere. No, you want to look back and have lots of good memories that have nothing to do with your sucky job.

  1. I played with my child(ren) and we laughed!
  2. I volunteered to do a community service.
  3. I wrote some good stuff and it helped someone else.
  4. I taught a class at my church or other organization.

I realize that these all take time and energy but you won’t be sorry for that later. And as an added bonus you can use a lot of things like this to make your resume shine and land you the job that you really love!

Keep Working with Integrity at your current job

Not only for others, who expect it, but for other important reasons. When we feel trapped or unappreciated, there is a tendency to do the minimum that we can do to get by. Don’t do this! Keep working hard at your job because there is a personal satisfaction from a job well done. Do it for the clients/customers/patients who are depending on you and have little to do with how you feel about your job. Do it for Christ because He gave his personal best for us and we should strive to be like Him.

But also do it for yourself because sometimes the rewards are not immediate but they come later because you’ve worked with integrity at something you didn’t like. When you finally go to apply/interview for that dream job, you want your boss and coworkers to give a glowing report of how you moved your company forward. Don’t be the one struggling for truthful things to add to your resume.

Plan Things at Work

This next point may seem very counter-intuitive but just try it and see. I’m not saying to plan a party outside of work or trying to create a bowling team of your coworkers. If you are feeling down about your job, then chances are that some of your coworkers are feeling the same way. God knows if you all loathe coming to work then you would rather shoot yourself in the foot than to continue work activities outside of work. However, it doesn’t hurt to make an effort to lift your own morale and that of your coworkers. In doing so, you will create a team atmosphere, a support system for one another, a willingness to share. It doesn’t have to be anything big or of much effort. Try one of these:

  1. Organize a potluck around a holiday and try to decorate a little. 
  2. Leave your immediate coworkers a token of appreciation on their desk. It could be a piece of chocolate with a note.
  3. Bring breakfast ( burritos or donuts) every once in a while.
  4. Recognize a coworker in some tangible way for doing a great job or going above and beyond.

Communicate Honestly but Professionally

Try to remember that you can expect people to do their jobs, be professional, and care. One thing you definitely cannot expect someone to do is read your mind. Don’t spread negativity around about someone because they didn’t somehow know what you needed or wanted. You don’t want to be known as one who is a busy-body or easily offended.

However, if there is something that you feel needs to be known or expressed, go ahead. Just do it in a manner that is respectful and decent. No eye-rolling or loud sighing. Get to the point and get there nicely for your own sake. There are times when we all feel very emotional about certain things but be sure and weigh the consequences of your words and actions.

Most Importantly

If you have made it this far into this post, then I know you are serious about making some changes. I believe you will leave with more hope than you started with. Many times we don’t love our job, not because of the job or the people. If you have taken a hard look at the situation, you more than likely don’t like it because you feel trapped or stuck.

Some people do like to do the routine, same thing over and over at their job and have no desire to grow or become anything more than what they are. There is nothing wrong with that. But others feel like they are not being promoted or awarded for their hard work. They are trying to get somewhere but are being held back. Others are in the wrong line of work altogether and have just realized it. It’s disheartening to say the least.

When you feel trapped in a meaningless or purposeless job, you start feeling as if you are not making a difference and that you yourself are meaningless! 

Create a Road Map

The way to change this predicament is to make a road map that will take you out of that place and into one that is spectacular! To do this you need a VISION, an idea of where it is that you would like to be. You can’t just say you want to have a better job because that is too broad. Be specific in what you want and then make a plan to get there.

  1. Think about what you would like to be doing or at least the kind of things you would like to be doing
  2. What needs to happen for you to get there?
    • More education?
    • Is there on-the-job training?
    • Can you volunteer for anything that gives you the experience you need?
  3. What is the first step to take to get it going? You don’t have to have all the steps right now. You just need to get one or two. After that you will begin to see what the next step is and the step after that.

Just remember, anything worth having takes effort. It will be worth but may not seem like it at times. Just keep going!

My Personal Example of Coping with my Job

  1. I really want to get out of my job because I feel like I can give more if I’m doing something else.
  2. My goal is to be doing something that is more flexible so I don’t have to miss important milestones in my daughter’s life.
  3. What steps can I take at my current stage of life that will lead in the direction of my dream?

In my case, I love to write, help others, be creative. I want something that will provide a paycheck that allows me to help others in a way that is meaningful. I decided that a blog would be provide a creative outlet for me and I could also help others. However, I knew nothing about making an income with a blog.

I had to step out of my comfort zone and make a huge effort to learn, which meant finding time aside from family time and work time. I had to research the technical part of setting up a blog. I attended webinars (and still do!) to learn how others became successful. I had to find time to write posts that were exceptional.

Do you see how I’ve started writing down steps that have moved me closer and closer to being able to quit my 9-5? It may not be for some time that I get to turn in my notice but in the meantime, I’ve figured out how to cope with my job that isn’t so fun. Yes, I have to stay up late. Yes, I have to work extremely hard to balance life. But when I think of what my future will someday look like, it gives me the strength to return, day after day, to a job that is only bearable.

Please leave a comment and tell me what you would rather be doing. How do you plan to get there?

Also, don’t forget to print out your worksheet so you can make your own road map. I would love to hear about your dreams and goals!

— JKMayfield