What to Do When You Loathe Your Job

Search for the positive in a dour situation.

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Lindsay Olson
It's sad, but true: Sometimes after months or even years, we become disenchanted with our work. We drag our feet on the way to the office, and count down the seconds until we can be free of it at the end of the day.

Hating your job can cause undue stress and make your work environment miserable—not just for you, but also for those you work with. Here's some advice from experts on how to make the situation bearable when an immediate change isn't an option.

Find patterns. Master Coach Elene Cafasso says that you may be able to identify patterns in your work history that can tell you why you might hate your job now. "Write down every job you've ever had—even going back to your childhood paper route," she says. "Make two columns and jot down what you loved in one column and hated in the other. What patterns or commonalities do you see? What does that tell you to look for in your next job? What types of jobs are rich in the things you love?"

This can help you better target the characteristics of the jobs you loved, which comes in handy when you start looking for your next job.

Find your flow state. Even if you hate your job, you've probably found some tasks that help you lose track of time, which helps it go by faster. This is what Alan Carniol, founder of InterviewSuccessFormula.com calls "flow state." "Even in boring jobs, you can find flow. Simply find ways to make the work challenging. For instance, let's say you stuff envelopes. Challenge yourself to stuff as many envelopes as possible in 30 minutes. Then restart the timer and repeat."

Change your mindset. If you're stuck at your job and can't move on to another one, make the most of the situation. Kyra Mancine, senior writer/PR/social media manager for QCI Direct says that while no one likes to hear that things could be worse, it's absolutely true. "Acknowledge that things are less than ideal. Note, I said acknowledge, not accept," Mancine says.

She suggests changing up your routine to help you feel better. Take a walk on breaks. Drive a different way to work. "Just do something to make a change—at least this will get your mind occupied on something other than your job happiness and give you a little bit of that control that may be missing."

Stop complaining and start doing something. The more you dislike your employment situation, the more likely you are to complain. But that won't change your situation. In fact, Deborah Deras, brand ambassador for the Hispanic Market, says it makes it worse. "Use the power of choice. Choose to accept it or change it, but no complaining," she says.

Deras also encourages you take one step every day to improve your skills, which will give you options should you start looking for another job.

Eke pleasure out of your free time. If you can't control what you do on the job, the least you can do is have more fun after hours. "Spend free time working on something that gives you a sense of accomplishment and pleasure—in my case, writing," says Rebecca Sullivan, a PR professional.

Find new hobbies or re-engage in ones you used to love, and put your energy there rather than into work.

Take on MORE work, not less. While it might seem counter intuitive to take on additional assignments, it actually could make you happier, says Carniol: "The key is to find tasks that you would enjoy taking on, and volunteer for these extra assignments. With any luck, it may lead to a transition in your normal work towards these volunteered tasks."

Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.