I hate my job

Hating your job is bad enough. And hating your job in a recession can feel like you’re riding a misery train you’ll never get off. But you can get out of your employment hell if you’re willing to work hard and be proactive about your future.

Girl who hates her job

Is it home time yet?

I’m bored of my job

Jobs, in general, are boring because life just sucks that way. However, there’s a big difference between looking forward to Friday, and considering setting fire to your toehair just to pass time.

If you used to find your job exciting and dynamic, it may be that you’ve outgrown your role and are ready for a promotion. However, thanks to high competition for jobs, this is easier said than done. Why not book in some time with your boss and explain you’re looking for more of a challenge? Or slowly start taking on extra responsibilities, as that can help build a case for promotion? Having new challenges can quickly reinvigorate your work ethic too.

If you don’t think there’s an opportunity for promotion in your current company, it may be worth looking at competitors to see if you could make the leap elsewhere.

I’m being exploited by my company

Exploitation is becoming more common as employees feel increasingly scared to pipe up in such an uncertain job market. But there are laws protecting you from burning yourself out completely.

If you feel your working hours are out of control:

  • Contact Acas for free advice about any work-related problem
  • Read our working hours and breaks article to discover if your 15-hour slogs are against the law
  • Take a look at our internships advice if you’re interning but you think the work you’re doing deserves payment

I hate my job, but quite like the company

If you like the company but the actual role would bore drying atoms of paint there are things you can do to make your working life more bearable. Instead of clock-watching try and think positively about what you can get out of your job.

“You should try and think ‘whilst I’m in this dreadful job, I’ll try and make the most out of it’,” says Denise Taylor, psychologist and career coach. “You’ll have access to all the internal job postings, and can chat to colleagues with a more desirable position about how they got it.”

And in the meantime, work hard at your horrible job to guarantee a good reference — essential in today’s competitive job market. And any job, no matter how awful, is giving you skills and experience to whack on your CV.

If you feel you want to build on these skills ask your boss about opportunities for training. Could you move up a level? Big companies may be willing to pay to retrain you. Ask about what opportunities there are for development.

I think I want to change career entirely

It’s really common to take any job when you’re young – then a few years pass and you realise it’s become ‘what you do’ and feel trapped. The good news is you’re still young enough to switch directions. Ask yourself ‘what do I want to do?’ and start building a shortlist of careers that appeal. Our career change article can help you think through the practical implications.

I’m being bullied at work

You love your job but your boss is so evil you’re expecting Beelzebub to crawl out one of his nostrils. Or a well-respected colleague keeps making digs about your personal life. Sound familiar? Here’s what you should do…

    • Start making a log of all the ‘bullying’ in a diary. You don’t necessarily have to take it to tribunal, but psychologically you’ll feel like you’re doing something
    • If you feel you’re being picked on for your race, gender, age, religion, disability or sexuality, this is illegal and should be stopped immediately
    • Read our bullying at work article for detailed tips on how to tackle it

Don’t just sit there and do nothing

It’s tempting in this climate to just give up and think you’re trapped forever. But Denise says this isn’t a great way of convincing a new employer to take a chance on you.

“If you just sit there and think ‘I’ll see what happens’, before you know it years have gone by and employers will want to know why you didn’t move a year ago,” she says. “You need to come across as enthusiastic and energetic in this type of job market.”

Only you can control your future, and it will only get better if you take an active role in changing it. There will be times when you feel like you’re banging your head against a metal pole. If it gets too much, give yourself a week off to just watch TV and feel miserable. Then get back to searching for what you really want to do.

Next Steps

  • Acas offers free advice about everything to do with employment law. 0300 123 1100
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

By Holly Thompson

Updated on 29-Sep-2015