I hate my job

Hating your job is bad enough. Hating your job in a recession, when you don’t have an escape route, is even worse. But all is not lost. If you’re willing to work hard and be proactive about your future, you can find a new job. So instead of sitting around thinking ‘I hate my job’, read The Mix’s advice for improving your situation.

A young man and woman hate their jobs. This is a full-body image.

I’m bored of my job

Unfortunately, no matter what job you do there’s gonna be a level of monotony to it. Hating your job just a little is a consequence of being part of any work environment. However, there’s a big difference between looking forward to Friday, and considering pricking yourself with a needle just to feel something on Monday morning.

If you used to find your job exciting and dynamic but no longer get any job satisfaction, that might not be a bad thing. You’ve probably just outgrown your role and are ready for a promotion. Having said that, thanks to high competition for good jobs, getting one is easier said than done. 

Regardless, you can still give it a go. Why not book some one-on-one time with your boss at your current job and explain that you’re looking for more of a challenge? Or gradually start taking on extra responsibilities in a bid to help build a case for promotion? And even if you don’t end up moving up that ladder straight away, having new challenges can quickly reinvigorate your work ethic.

On the other hand, if you don’t think there’s an opportunity for promotion in your current company and you’re feeling stuck, do something about it. Try starting a job search and looking at competitors to see if you could spread your wings elsewhere.

I’m being exploited by my company

It’s a fact that exploitation is becoming more common. Even though people hate their jobs and are even being mistreated, employees have become increasingly dependent on job security in an increasingly uncertain market. Luckily, there are laws protecting you from burning yourself out completely.

If you feel that there’s no way your working hours can be legal:

  • Contact Acas for free advice about any work-related problem
  • Read our working hours and breaks article to figure out if your 15-hour slogs are against the law
  • Take a look at our internships advice if you’re interning but somehow being told to do actual, employee-level work. 

I hate my job, but quite like the company

If you like the company but the actual role is causing you to fall asleep with your eyes open, there are little things you can do to stop hating your job (even just temporarily). Instead of desperately waiting for that clock to strike 5, try and think positively about what you’re getting out of your job.

“You should focus on getting the most out of whatever job you’re at,” says Denise Taylor, psychologist and career coach. “Plus, 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 in the meantime.”

If it helps to keep you motivated, work hard at your horrible job, even on the bad days, to guarantee a good reference that’ll make it easier to find your next job. And any job, no matter how awful, is giving you skills and experience to whack on your CV.

You can also ask your boss about opportunities for training to maximise on the skills you’re developing. Could you even move up a level? Remember, big companies may be willing to pay to retrain you. Ask about what opportunities there are for growth within the company.

I think I want to change career entirely

It’s really common to take any job that you’re offered when you’re first starting off. Then a few years pass and you realise it’s become ‘what you do’. Suddenly, you feel claustrophobic and need to get out ASAP. The good news is you’re still young enough to switch directions.

Start by asking yourself ‘what do I want to do?’ and having a chat with friends and family for advice. From there, you can put together a shortlist of careers that appeal. Our article on changing careers can also help you think through the practical implications. And don’t forget that when you’re ready to leave you’ll probably need to give several weeks notice. Once you’re sure about your decision, check your employment contract to work out the logistics before you plan your next move.

I’m being bullied at work

You love your job but your boss is so evil you’re half expecting them to grow cartoon horns from their head. Or maybe a well-respected colleague keeps making inappropriate digs about your personal life when no one else is around. Sound familiar? Here’s what you should do…

  • Start making a log of all the incidents in a diary. You don’t necessarily have to take it to tribunal, but it’ll be a good form of catharsis
  • If you think that you’re being picked on for your race, gender, age, religion, disability or sexuality, know that it’s illegal and should be stopped immediately.
  • Take a look at bullying at work article for detailed tips on how to tackle it.

Not being bullied, but still hate your boss? Read our ‘I hate my boss’ article here.

Don’t just sit there and do nothing

It’s tempting to just think ‘I hate my job’, give up and be resigned to being trapped forever. But Denise says this isn’t a great mindset to be in when you start looking for another job.

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

Ultimately, you’re in charge of your future. The truth is it’ll only get better if you take an active role in changing it. Of course, there’ll be times when you feel like you’re banging your head against a metal pole. But if it gets too much, you can always give yourself a week off to just watch TV and feel miserable. Then get back to searching for what you feel good doing.

Next Steps

  • Acas offers free advice about everything to do with employment law. 0300 123 1100
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.

By Holly Thompson

Updated on 09-Jun-2022