What to Do When You Hate Your Job

This illustration includes six positive tips on what to do when you don't like your job including "Keep your 'I hate my job' thoughts to yourself," "Know that it can happen to anyone," "Try to make the job work before considering quitting," "Start your job search," and "Resign gracefully, with two weeks' notice."

The Balance / Emilie Dunphy

Many people hate something or other about their work. A 2022 McKinsey report found that 40% of workers globally are thinking about leaving their jobs. Respondents said they wanted to leave to find work that pays better, is more satisfying, or both.

What can you do if you hate your job, your company, your boss, your industry, or even everything about your working life? We'll walk through some tips for what to do while you're still on the job.

Key Takeaways

  • First, figure out if there's anything you can do to salvage your job, such as asking for a transfer or shift change, and propose that to your employer.
  • Venting your feelings can be healthy, but only do so with close friends or family—not at work.
  • If you do want to quit, quietly begin your job search while still in your current job.
  • When it's time to quit, resign with grace and put your energy into your new position.


Don't Just Quit

Don't just quit your job. The frustration of working at a place you can't stand can be hard to handle. But most of us can’t afford to resign in haste—not without another job waiting in the wings.

Begin by considering options for making the job work:

  • Are you sure you really need to quit, or could you just be going through a tough time?
  • Is there anything you could be doing differently to be happier at work?
  • Could you ask for a transfer or a shift change? Is there anything that would make a difference and convince you to stay?

Perhaps there's a way to turn things around so you at least like, if not love, your job. Consider the alternatives before you make a decision to leave. Finding a new job isn't always easy. If there's a fix, it's worth pursuing.

Keep Your Negative Feelings Private

If that doesn't work, you may feel even more frustrated. It's understandable to want to vent, and it can even be healthy for you. But keep most of your negative comments to yourself and your family or close friends. It won't help to constantly complain to your colleagues and management.

Speaking badly about work compromises the level of professional integrity you convey, and might even lead to you getting the boot.

Complaining about your job can backfire, whether you vent at the office, to colleagues while you’re out to lunch, or online on your off-hours.

Don't blast complaints about your job out to the world on social media, either. The more you broadcast your distaste, the more likely it is that the wrong person will come across your complaints and share them with co-workers, supervisors, or even company executives.

And it's not just your current employer you need to worry about, but also hiring managers at potential future employers. A 2020 survey by The Harris Poll for Express Employment Professionals found that 67% of employers use social networking sites to research potential candidates. And 55% have found information that deterred them from hiring someone.

It’s easy to avoid losing your job by not complaining about it. It makes more sense to quietly plan your exit from the company when the time is right.

Know It's Not Just You

Any of us can wind up stuck in a job we hate. It happens. The job might not be what you expected. Or, the job itself may be okay, but your boss or co-workers are awful. Perhaps you don't like the schedule or your customers, or something else about the work environment.

Reaching the point where you have acknowledged that you hate the job actually isn't a bad place to be. At least you know, and you can plot a course for your next steps.

Get Ready to Job Search

If there's no way you can stay, that's fine, too. Again, at least you know. Still, don't quit your job yet. It's easier to find a job when you have a job, and you probably won't be eligible for unemployment if you quit.

The better prepared you are before you actually start looking, the easier your job search will be. Take the time to create or update your LinkedIn profile. Update your resume. Get some references lined up. Build your network by connecting with everyone you know on LinkedIn and the other top networking sites.

Start Your Job Hunt (Carefully)

Start a job search, quietly and discreetly. Don't broadcast the fact that you're job searching for the same reasons you're keeping quiet about hating your job. You don't want your boss or someone else to know that you're planning to leave until you're ready to share the news.

Job search engines are the perfect platform to see what jobs are available for candidates with your background. Spend some time perusing a few, then test the waters. Start applying for jobs and talking privately with your contacts about your intentions to make a move to a new job.

Still unsure how to proceed? A few helpful pointers may be all you need to get your job search started and to keep it on track. Do keep in mind that it might take a while to find a new position, so be prepared for the long haul.

Be Careful About What You Say and to Whom

When you think you've finally found that new plum position and you've been asked to interview, you'll probably want to shout it from the rooftops. Even if you do share your good fortune, don’t broadcast the fact that you hated your last job. Companies check references. They ask about previous employers in interviews, and what you say matters.

Recruiters and prospective employers look for people who are going to build up their businesses and reputations, not tear them down. Talking trash about a former employer during a job interview says more about you than the company. What's more, you never know who your interviewer might know.

Resign With Class

Resign gracefully, giving two weeks' notice. Offer to provide assistance during the transition and leave the company behind with no hard feelings.

Aside from costing you opportunities, a scorched-Earth approach to separation isn't worth your time. You're better served by focusing your energy and perspective on your new job and improving your experience this time around.

FAQs

What are the psychological effects of hating your job?

Being unhappy in your job can lead to chronic stress, depression, and other mental health issues that put your physical health at risk, too. That may mean weight gain, high blood pressure, insomnia, and other negative consequences. A study by Stanford said that 5-8% of healthcare costs may be due to how U.S. companies manage their workforces.

Should I quit if I hate my job?

Sometimes there are things you can do to help improve your job. If you think you could be happier with different working hours, a different focus, or more responsibilities, it's worth proposing those ideas to your employer.


But often, if you really hate your job, you may need to quit. In many cases, you'll want to first find a new job before leaving your current one. Quietly update your resume, put out feelers to your network, and check job board postings to line up your next move before jumping ship.

Article Sources