How to get out of a miserable career in a bad job market

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Morey Stettner

Don’t do anything rash

How to get out of a miserable career in a bad job market

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First, the good news: You’re closing in on retirement. After decades of long hours and loyal service, you only have another few years until you can kiss your job goodbye.

The bad news is you dread every minute. Even surviving another month will require Herculean effort.

Ideally, you’d quit now. But your financial plan dictates that you keep generating income into the early 2020s so that you can retire with a comfortable nest egg.

Perhaps you’re bored or exhausted in your job. Cynicism and negativity cloud your every thought. To make matters worse, an odious boss tears away at the thinning shreds of sanity you cling to.

So how do you persevere?

In rallying yourself to reach the finish line, you have a choice. You can either gripe at every available opportunity — lamenting your situation, lambasting higher-ups and regretting career moves you made years ago — or find a more productive way to cope.

Let’s focus on the latter.

Start by taking charge of your thoughts. Impose a time limit on how often you will stew in anger or self-pity. Endlessly telling yourself, “I can’t stand it here” or “I’ll never be able to make it through another month here, much less a year or two” won’t help.

“If you focus on how burned out you are or how much you hate your boss, then that’s the way you’ll think and feel,” said Dee Cascio, a life and retirement coach in Sterling, Va. “I suggest to clients that they replace those thoughts with recalling what brought them into this job and what aspects they enjoy.”

Another way to redirect your attitude is to visualize what you’ll gain. Filling your mind with pleasing images of retirement — what you’ll do, where you’ll reside — can divert attention from the daily grind.

“Look at what positive purpose your work is serving, even if it’s just the positive financial purpose,” said John Grobe, president of Federal Career Experts, which provides preretirement training for federal employees. “Imagine that vacation you’ll take, the satisfaction you’ll have paying for your kid’s college or if you have a pension, that it’ll be bigger each year you work.”

Counting the days until retirement gets easier if you’re used to priming your brain to work to your advantage. Competitive athletes excel at this.

Joanne Waldman is director of training at Retirement Options, which certifies retirement coaches and offers retirement readiness assessments. She recalls a client, a marathoner, who said to himself at mile 20, “Keep going. I’m almost there. I can do this.”

“That’s the kind of message you want to tell yourself,” Waldman said. “Affirmations are great.”

Meanwhile, explore how you can enrich your work life to make it more tolerable. Examples include delegating one of your least favorite duties, befriending a cheery colleague or learning a new skill.

Author of “Ready to Retire?,” Cascio adds that mentoring entrants into your field can unleash more positive energy. As long as you don’t dampen their enthusiasm by complaining, you can come away feeling gratified and recognizing the worthy aspects of your work.

At the same time, embrace wellness. Commit to a regular exercise routine, eat a balanced diet and seek support from friends outside the workplace.

“Don’t get into bad habits like drinking too much, smoking or any other unhealthy behavior,” Cascio said.

What happens if you try everything — from affirmative mantras to tweaking your job to make it more palatable — and you’re still in a constant state of despair?

“Some people who can’t stand it anymore may want to change careers,” Cascio suggested. “It may be worth three or four years of extending your working life to shift into a lower-paying field that you enjoy.”

Whether you’re bored or feeling unappreciated, sometimes your career can start to resemble a bad relationship. You may be at the point where you’re ready to throw in the towel and walk away for good. But before you write that resignation letter, consider these five strategies for finding out if the spark is really gone or if there’s a way you can reignite it before you kiss your current career good-bye.

1. Pick Up a Little Somethin’ on the Side

OK, yes, this is actually horrible relationship advice. But when it comes to your career, if you’re seeking a bit more excitement or flirting with a new position, consider testing it out as a side gig first. Whatever you do, be discreet. Don’t gush about your new adventure to your co-workers, and by all means resist the urge to delve into it while you’re on the clock at your current job.

Here’s a great example of sampling a new path on your own time: I once knew a man who wanted to trade in his corporate cubicle for cabinet-making. To get a taste of the vocation that had tempted him for years, he used his vacation time to shadow a carpenter he knew. By the end of the week, he realized that while he loved working with his hands, he wasn’t cut out for the back and forth with customers that accompanied this career. Able to put his “fling” with wood-working behind him, he happily returned to desk job with a greater appreciation for it.

2. Take a Good Look at What Else Is Out There

It can feel like everyone else’s career is perfect—especially if you’re miserable. Every job post you look at seems rife with potential. But often the grass isn’t really any greener. Take a long look at your alternatives before you bail on your current situation.

A former colleague of mine was longing for a job that offered her more leadership, but after interviewing for a few different opportunities outside the company, she quickly found that she’d be taking on more responsibility for the same salary while at the same time sacrificing her ability to work from home. She’d put in years at her current position and was happy with her benefits. When she compared what she had to what else was out there, she decided to recommit herself and try to improve that situation, which brings us to our next point …

3. Have a Conversation

Talk it out. That same former colleague inspired her to talk to her supervisor and find ways to make her current position more stimulating. Before having that talk, her manager had no idea she was willing to take on a more managerial role. The same holds true for relationships—unless you’re involved with a gifted psychic—if you don’t communicate your needs, chances are they won’t be met. Your boss isn’t a mind-reader, and it’s up to you to talk to her about making potential changes with your work, particularly if you’re feeling restless or unhappy.

4. Get Counseling

You may want to consider counseling. Career counseling, that is. Speaking with a professional coach can help you decide if your position is worth saving or if you’d be better off parting ways and finding something new.

If you’re determined to make it work, a coach will help you devise a plan to turn things around or possibly move within the company if that turns out to be more desirable. If you reach the conclusion that you’ve come to a dead end, an expert can guide you in getting back out there.

Just as re-entering the dating scene calls for a bit of reinvention, before you jump back into the job market you might need to spruce up that resume or polish your interview skills. This (almost magical) person will assist you with that and more.

5. Take a Breather

Take a break. This is a great way to discover which adage holds true: “Out of sight, out of mind” or “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” If you’ve got vacation time saved up, use it. Maybe you’re just in a rut or burned out. Enjoy some time away, unplug, and give yourself permission to take a real breather. When you come back, hopefully refreshed and recharged, see if you have renewed enthusiasm for your current position.

Think your issues are bigger than something a long weekend can fix? Opt for a real, faraway (or as far away as you can manage), unplugged vacation. No matter what length break you take, if you absolutely dread going back, then you’ll know it’s time to make your move.

As you go about coping, remember not to advertise your workplaces woes on social media. You’ll want to keep those #worstbossever tweets you’ve been composing in your head offline, or you could find yourself dumped by your employer. Airing your dirty laundry is never a good idea, especially if your grievances are visible to potential employers.

If your career is unfulfilling and seems to be going nowhere, you may be tempted to call it quits and start over. Before you make it official, try to see if there’s anything you can do to rekindle your career flame and possibly save yourself some heartache.

This could be the time to look at options.

How to get out of a miserable career in a bad job market

Companies are scrambling to fill vacancies, and this could be the time to consider greener pastures if you’re unhappy in your current job.

Unemployment ended 2018 at a very low rate of 3.9 percent. With more options in the job market, the percentage of workers who chose to quit their jobs last year hit a 17-year high. Should you join them in making a change? That’s not always a simple answer. After all, the strong employment environment gives you a great deal of leverage in your current job.

Still, it’s easy to get stuck in a holding pattern over time at work, and you have heard the phrase, “Strike while the iron’s hot.” If you’re noticing one or more of the following red flags over an extended period, it may be time to at least explore the possibilities.

Here are 16 warning signs that it’s time to move on:

1. Your boss makes you miserable.

You’ve tried new strategies for interacting more effectively with your manager and even adjusted your own behavior, hoping to see improvement. Despite trying everything to smooth the relationship, it remains toxic. You wouldn’t be the first person to quit your job due to a bad boss. In a Randstad US survey, 60 percent of workers polled said they have left jobs, or are considering leaving because they don’t like their direct supervisors. People leave managers, not jobs.

2. Your pay isn’t keeping up.

You’ve asked for a raise but were told to hang in there . three years ago (!). The waiting game is growing old. Now that you’ve done the research and know you can earn more at another firm, resentment is building about being underpaid.

3. Your talents aren’t being tapped.

You started your job fired up about tapping into your skills, but instead, you’re so bogged down in daily tasks that you never have opportunities to leverage your talents. When you’ve asked to apply them, managers say they’ll keep you in mind, but nothing ever materializes.

4. Other jobs look exciting.

It’s getting harder not to daydream about other opportunities. You envy your friend who attends interesting professional conferences and another whose job allows her to work with the latest technologies. Just reading job ads makes you ponder the possibilities of moving on.

5. You’ve tried talking to your boss to no avail.

The frustrations you have with your job simply aren’t getting better, despite addressing your concerns multiple times with your manager. You’re stuck using buggy software, you get bombarded with unnecessary last-minute requests and remain seated next to an inconsiderate colleague. It’s like you’ve never even asked your boss for help.

6. You’re burning out.

You remember that thing called the sun that glows in the sky; you saw it a few months ago? Since then, you’ve come in to the office when it’s dark and leave well into the evening hours, and continue to work on the weekends. There’s no sign chronic understaffing is going away. You’re so burned out that your health is suffering, and you struggle to get a full night of sleep.

7. Your career is on track . to nowhere.

You’ve settled into a job that has no major surprises. And that may be great unless you fear doing exactly the same work daily . forever. There is no upward path in the foreseeable future or even a chance for a lateral move within the company.

8. There may be downsizing ahead.

Rumors are spreading about the company or department. Maybe you’re hearing about leadership changes; outsourcing of teams (like yours); or there’s financial trouble brewing. Even worse, there’s reliable information to back up the rumors.

9. You’re not getting plum projects.

You once were the go-to person in your group, always asked to play a crucial role in important initiatives. Now, you’re watching those assignments go to other people while you sit on the sidelines.

10. You’re not being invited to key meetings.

There’s a large gathering down the hall behind closed doors. It involves projects that directly impact you, and you have a lot of valuable input . but your inbox is still devoid of invites.

11. You rarely look forward to going to work.

Those memes about the Monday blues used to be something that made you chuckle. Now they’re beginning to hit home.

12. You stare at the clock.

How can it only be 10 a.m.? You feel like your workdays are never-ending. You’re in a constant state of countdown mode, waiting to be able to go home.

13. You don’t like talking about work at social functions.

You cringe when people ask you about your job during social occasions. You try to skip the subject or turn the conversation back to them. You’d rather talk about . just about anything else!

14. Your boss seems to ignore you.

You say, “Hi!” to your manager when passing in the hall, but it’s like you don’t exist. And forget sending your boss an email and getting a response. Crickets!

15. Your boss doesn’t talk about the long-term with you.

The topic of your future career aspirations is short-lived during your performance review. And discussing the long-term outlook is virtually forbidden throughout the year.

16. You don’t share the company’s values.

You’re uncomfortable when you think about the company’s values, culture, or business direction. They just aren’t aligned with your own philosophies or beliefs. It’s hard to work toward a pursuit that doesn’t sit well with you.

If you’re nodding your head to these signs, it may be time to walk. One word of caution, though: If you’re relatively happy, don’t be overly swayed by a strong job environment, as market conditions can change within months, and tenure has its value if you’re producing solid results. Always do what you can first to salvage your current job before you leap. Learning how to manage up in difficult situations is a crucial skill you will likely need wherever you are. And regardless of your decision, taking control of the reins of your career will be liberating.

If you’ve tried virtually every avenue to make your current job work with no significant improvement, however, this could be the moment for change, knowing you’re ready for a new chapter of empowerment, confidence, and happiness.

Facebook Image Credit: Rido/Shutterstock

LinkedIn Image Credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Long before I was old enough to have a job, I heard my parents say “Never quit a job before you have another job to go to!”

I heard them tell my older brothers and sisters “Wait until you find a new job — then quit!”

It’s sensible advice and we all try to follow it. Sometimes we try so hard to stick it out at a miserable job that we get sick as a result.

Sometimes we know we don’t have what it takes to get a new job right now.

You can’t job-hunt effectively when you’re depleted and discouraged. Sometimes you have to quit your job to get healthy before you can start looking for a new job!

Is it harder to get hired when you’re unemployed? It can be.

For some people a full-time job search is easier than a part-time, stealth job search. When your job search becomes your job, you have more time to research prospective employers, network with new and old friends and generally investigate the job market.

Even if it is harder to get hired when you’re unemployed, you may reach the point where you can’t force your body to walk into your evil workplace one more time. Many of us have been there!

Here are 10 good reasons to quit your job — even without a new job to go to.

1. If your current job is physically or emotionally unsafe, you have to get out. If you are being mistreated at work and you can prove it, you may be able to quit your job and still receive unemployment compensation. Being forced out of a job via poor treatment has a name — it is called constructive discharge. Whether you can collect unemployment compensation or not, if you are not safe at work you have to bolt.

2. If your current job is making you ill, you may be able to take a medical leave of absence from your job on the basis of stress or another condition created at work. If your job is making you sick, you have to get out.

3. If you have a friend or relative who could employ you while you work out your next move, grab that opportunity! You may not have another “career-type” job ready to walk into, but you’ll have an income and a place to go during the day, and those are two important pieces of the puzzle.

4. If you already know you can consult or work on contract gigs, quit your toxic job and rev up your contract/consulting engine. Any income is better than none, and consulting will give you some structure and clarity in your work life while you plan your next adventure.

5. If you know you won’t have the time, focus or peace of mind to launch a productive job search as long as you’re stuck in your current unhappy work situation, then quit. You may have to slice your expenses to the bone and/or take a survival job, but you cannot stay trapped in the hamster wheel forever!

6. If you can cobble together several small revenue streams to pay your bills while you job hunt, then quit your job and get those revenue streams going. You could drive for a car service, work part-time for a catering firm and sell your extra stuff on eBay to cover your bills at first. When you have to escape a bad work situation, you suddenly become very creative!

7. If you often have headhunters calling you about job opportunities but you’ve been too stressed and distracted to call them back, quit your job and jump into your job search full-time. It is amazing how empowering it can be to take a risk like quitting your job without a new job in the wings. Is it scary, too? Yes! Many things in life are scary the first time we try them. Then we grow muscles and learn that the more we challenge ourselves, the stronger we become!

8. When you cannot reconcile your own values with the culture and leadership of the company you work for, you may have to quit before you have a new job lined up. You may have to quit when your manager insists that you do or say something you cannot ethically say or do.

9. If you reach the point where you are calling in sick so you don’t have to go to work, it’s time to get out — now. In that state, it will be difficult or impossible to organize a job search, conduct the job search while still going to work every day, and coming out on top. Mother Nature is pushing you to make your job search your highest priority.

10. When your body rebels and tells you “No more!” you must listen to it. Your trusty gut evolved over millennia to guide you to the right places and away from the wrong ones. Unemployment is no picnic and a job search can be a trial, but as long as you trust yourself you will come out of this difficult patch into a new and better spot!

If you quit your job without knowing what your next job will be, don’t feel like a failure or a quitter. You triumphed over a bad situation. That’s something to be proud of!

You are powerful as long as you remember that you have choices.

One of your most important super powers is the ability to get up and leave a situation that has become untenable. No one can make you stay in a workplace that doesn’t deserve you.

It’s your career to run! This painful chapter will soon be over. You will be racing forward down your path — and we will be cheering you on!

At this rate, it will take 17 months for employment to return to full health.

How to get out of a miserable career in a bad job market

How to get out of a miserable career in a bad job market

In a normal time, a month in which employers added 661,000 jobs would represent an absolute blockbuster — the kind of thing an incumbent president could happily promote as evidence his policies were working.

These are, of course, not normal times. And the 661,000 positions employers added to their payrolls in September are paltry relative to the 22 million positions slashed in March and April, and relative to the seven-figure monthly job growth experienced from May through August.

If the rate of September job creation outlined by the Labor Department on Friday were to be sustained indefinitely, it would take another 17 months for the economy be back to its pre-pandemic levels of employment. That milestone would be reached in only eight months at August’s rate of job creation.

To make sense of where the economy stands on the verge of the election, it’s essential to keep a clear view of the distinction between three concepts: the level at which the economy is functioning, how fast it is improving, and whether that speed is accelerating or decelerating. And in a shambolic year, it’s not totally clear which of these concepts will matter most to voters, or how heavily the state of the economy will weigh on them at all.

The first is the equivalent to the level of the water in a bathtub; the second is whether it is filling up or being drained; the third is whether the spigot is being opened wider or closed. For the United States economy in the fall of 2020, the three measures are sending different signals:

The level of the bath water is very low. But it’s being filled rapidly. However, the spigot is being tightened so the pace at which the water is rising has slowed.

The level of economic activity is miserable. Seven months into the pandemic, most sectors of the economy are producing below — and in some cases far below — normal levels. The number of jobs on employers’ payrolls was 7 percent below February levels in September, a worse shortfall than at any point in the Great Recession. The share of the population working is only 56.6 percent, down from 61 percent a year ago and lower than it ever got during that downturn and its aftermath.

So if voters were to evaluate the Trump economy solely on how things are going as the fall of 2020 begins, it would be a harsh judgment.

If, by contrast, they were to look at the direction of the economy, things look quite good. Again, that 661,000 net jobs added — the job growth was particularly strong in health care and the retail sector — represents stronger job growth than in all but a handful of months in the modern record. Outside of this summer’s rebound, to find months of comparable improvement in the labor market, you have to go back to either a quirky month in 1983 or to the 1940s and 1950s.

So when the Trump administration points to a resurgent economy, it’s not untrue. But it’s incomplete. And that’s because of what’s happening to the rate of change.

After adding a remarkable 4.8 million jobs in June, as many companies reopened following the most intense phase of the coronavirus crisis, American employers have been slower to bring remaining workers back to their payrolls, with the number falling every month since.

The last few weeks have brought a wave of additional layoff announcements, including Disney’s plan to cut 28,000 theme park workers. Major airlines are poised to cut tens of thousands of jobs after the expiration of a provision requiring them to keep workers on their payrolls as a condition of bailout money.

A turnaround could happen at any time, of course, particularly if there is a vaccine or other sharp improvement in public health. But for now, much of the available evidence points to continued slowing in hiring, which would imply that it will take longer to get the bath water up to an acceptable level.

Normally, the last jobs numbers published before a presidential election are an occasion for partisans to offer their final spin on the state of the economy. The incumbent party points to whatever looks good in the data as proof that its policies are working, and the challenger identifies flaws that remain.

How does that cut when these different concepts for economic activity are pointing in different directions? Does the state of the economy matter politically in what is shaping up to be a chaotic month of noneconomic news, most recently with the announcement President Trump has contracted the coronavirus?

We may not know the answers to those questions, but it matters a lot for understanding what kind of economy either a second-term President Trump or President Joe Biden will have to handle. For now it’s not looking good.

Identify Toxic Situations and Make Changes to Become Happy at Work

How to get out of a miserable career in a bad job market

Are you miserable and unhappy at work? Do you feel awful about getting up and heading to the office every Monday? Do you feel unchallenged, unhappy, or out of control? Is your boss the worst? Do your coworkers engage in unjustifiable complaining all day long? Is no contribution ever good enough?

If you continue to wallow in these attitudes and situations, you only ensure that you will continue to hate your job—and hating your job is a recipe for a miserable life. Why go there? You have the power to change your attitude and/or remove yourself from a toxic situation.

Read on for tips on handling nine unpleasant situations and changing your career mood from miserable to fulfilled. You can stop being unhappy at work.

Your Co-workers Are Critical

Your co-workers are always finding fault with the company, management, customers, employees, and just about everything else about the job. You find yourself hanging out with these people and worse, participating in the griping.

Legitimate concerns that you are actually able to address aside, if you wallow in misery and listen to unhappy, difficult people, the actions can’t help but bring you down as well. Unhappiness and criticism are contagious. Move on and stay away from these people to avoid catching the bug. Avoidance is always available when you are faced with behaviors that destroy your motivation and outlook.

Your Work Bores You

You stay in a job that is unchallenging, boring, and unrewarding. Day after day, year after year, you are numbing your mind and heart with work that doesn’t fulfill you. And, you know it, so why not do something about it? The status quo will not help you grow and develop.

Understand that you have options. See a career counselor at your local community college, technical school, or adult education program. If a university is nearby, they often have excellent career counseling services. Or, find out if your company has opportunities for growth or other positions that interest you. Talk to your Human Resources staff to see if you have possible internal opportunities

Seek out other job opportunities; find ways to use your current skill set differently, and take tests and talk with a mentor to identify work you might find more exciting. If you are a college grad, keep in mind that your college career services office may also be able to help you, regardless of when you graduated.

You Never Get Performance Reviews

You’re not developing in your career and no one is giving you feedback. You feel as if you have no idea how you’re doing or what you could improve. Your manager is part of the problem as they don’t seem to deal with their employees’ careers, just their current jobs.

You must take responsibility for your own life and career development. You can wait forever for a non-communicative boss to give you feedback about areas to improve and your personal and professional growth. In fact, in some organizations, you can wait years for a performance appraisal or performance feedback. Why wait for someone else? No one will ever care as much about your personal and career development as you do. And no one else has as much to gain as you do from your continued growth.

You Can’t Stand Your Boss

You hate your boss. They are clearly a bad boss, but you continue to work for them..

Bad bosses, whether abdicators of responsibility or just plain nasty people, rarely change without some life-transforming event occurring. The event may happen, but how long are you willing to wait around complaining about how unhappy you are at work? Even with feedback, bad bosses rarely change. Cut your losses, transfer or move on to something better.

You Don’t Respect Your Employer

You work for a company that has business practices you don’t respect. Managers lie to customers and make promises to employees that are never kept.

Bail as quickly as you can. The culture that enables those practices is a tough one to change—if any of the leaders even want to change the culture. Since executives and company founders largely drive the culture, don’t hold your breath. There are better, more ethical, companies where you can seek employment.

The Company’s Future Is Uncertain

Your company is constantly in danger of going under and you live in fear about getting fired or laid off.

Many good companies experience temporary woes. But a company that is constantly operating near bankruptcy can wear out your optimism and enthusiasm. This is especially true if you are not in a position to have a big impact on the company’s budgeting, spending, or financial performance. It may be time for you to consider moving on.

You Feel Stuck

You are staying in a job in which you feel you’re going nowhere. There are many reasons why you may feel stuck. Your company may be small, and there is nowhere for you to go. Perhaps you’ve been passed over for promotion because of a lack of education, experience, or mentoring opportunities.

If you’ve sought additional responsibilities and an expanded job, but haven’t had any success, or if you’ve talked with your boss and the problems appear to be insurmountable, it’s time to go. It’s okay to be ambitious and seek to expand your knowledge and career—so go do it.

Your Work Isn’t Valued

You try to make contributions and come up with ideas to improve the work or work environment, but your ideas are never implemented. Worse, they go into a dark hole, and you never hear a response to your suggestions at all.

Staying in a work environment that fails to respond to employee suggestions will eventually make you question the value of your suggestions. Any environment that promotes you questioning your value or your contribution is toxic to your self-esteem and self-confidence. Find a more supportive work environment where what you think and the ideas you share are valued and considered.

You Feel Underpaid

You are tired of living paycheck to paycheck. Your current job is never going to pay you more than minimum wage and you don’t want to wait years to make a decent living.

Find the facts. Learn about comparable positions and what they pay. Make a decision: For how much money and how long are you willing to work? You have options. Explore a better-paying future.

The Bottom Line

You want to live your life as if the glass is half full, not half empty, so consider each of these described situations carefully. Are you settling for less than you can have or be? If so, you may want to consider other options. A happier life is worth it.

How To Get The Most Out Of A Job You Hate

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If everybody loved their job, they probably wouldn’t call it work. The lucky ones are those guys who have figured out how to get paid for doing what they love, while the rest of us simply get paid so we can afford to do what we love on the weekends.

But for some of us, the workplace can be miserable, so much so that it consumes your whole life. And in a tough job market, the idea of quitting without having another job lined up is just too risky.

If you find yourself dreading work in the morning, or unable to relax at the end of the week, here are a few tips to help you cope with a job you hate – whether you decide to tough it out or find something else.

These 11 tips will help you cope regardless of why you hate your job, whether it’s a terrible boss, nasty coworkers, or incompetent subordinates.

1- Rant, rave and holler

Just don’t do it at the office. It used to be that the only people who heard us complain about work were our wives or girlfriends. However, this is the age of feminism, so she’s probably working too. Your friends are out, they have their own problems, and you can’t complain to your coworkers since they might be part of the problem.

Try posting your gripes on a site like You’ll feel better when you get it off your chest, and while you’re looking for a new place to work, you can see what people have to say about some of the companies you’re looking at. Plus, if there’s one universal rule, it’s that someone else always has it worse, so, the other guy’s horror stories might put things into perspective.

2- Remind yourself that this isn’t permanent

It’s easy to think that things won’t ever change. But that’s just not true. The average worker no longer has just one career. According to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, a group that tracks economic trends, the number of careers a worker can expect to have in a lifetime is five — and growing. Changing your job every few years has become common practice, so you shouldn’t think that a few years here and a few years there is a warning sign on your resume.

3- Make time for yourself

The truth is that this is good advice whether you hate your job or not. It’s easy to get into the painful grind of sleeping, working and eating. Choose an activity that you enjoy (anything from working out to reading the paper) and apply it your morning routine; that way you’ll be getting up for the activity, rather than the job.

To cope with a job you hate, check out the rest of our tips.

How to get out of a miserable career in a bad job market

There are often little things that annoy people about their jobs—perhaps they have an irritating coworker, a long commute, or long hours. However, what do you do when you absolutely hate a job?

If you hate your job, you might need to quit. However, it is important to leave your job on good terms with your employer and coworkers, if possible. Keep in mind that when you apply for a new job, hiring managers will contact your employer to confirm why you left. You might even need to ask your employer for a recommendation. There are ways you can leave a job you hate, while still being polite and professional.

Reflect on the Job

Before you decide to quit, spend some time thinking about what it is you dislike about your job. Perhaps you can find a solution rather than hand in your resignation. For example, if you work in a noisy environment that makes it difficult for you to concentrate, perhaps ask your employer if you could telecommute once or twice a week or move to a quieter area. Also, if you no longer like the long commute, telecommuting may be the answer.

Perhaps you like your supervisor, work, and salary, but have an annoying coworker who makes you miserable. Working with one bad person does not justify leaving a job that you like. In addition, if you quit, you may be out of work without a salary for a time until you get hired. Therefore, consider all of your options before deciding to leave a job.

Prepare for Leaving

Before you quit, try to stay for at least a few weeks, or even a couple of months. Use this time to prepare to reenter the job market.

Update your resume and LinkedIn profile, and start your job search during nonwork hours. Begin to ask for recommendations from former supervisors and colleagues. Also save work samples to help build your portfolio.

Begin to prepare financially for being unemployed. Meet with a financial planner to get a sense of your finances. Make a monthly budget, giving yourself a cushion of at least six months, if possible. Remember that you may not be eligible for unemployment benefits, as you left your job willingly.

When preparing to search for a new job, make sure to register and upload your resume to popular job websites such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and CareerBuilder. Companies and recruiters scan these sites frequently. Also turn on notifications, so that you receive daily job alert emails.

Inform Your Employer

Once you decide to leave your job, you need to tell your employer. Your goal is to leave on good terms, as you may need a future reference for external as well as internal positions that become available. Tips for telling your boss that you are leaving include:

  • Give two weeks notice, if possible. It is standard to give at least two weeks notice to your boss when you want to quit. Sometimes a company contract or union agreement has different rules, so revisit them to ensure you leave properly. You can also check with human resources (HR) as to the proper procedure for quitting. However, you might consider leaving without giving two weeks notice if you are experiencing harassment, feel unsafe at work, or are otherwise so miserable that you cannot last two weeks.
  • Tell your boss in person. When possible, it is best to first tell your boss in person. This might be nerve-wracking, but it is the polite, professional thing to do.
  • Keep it positive, or neutral. There is no need to go into detail about what you hate about your job. Keep in mind that this employer might have to write you recommendations, or at least verify your employment history, during your job search. Therefore, you want to leave on a positive note.
  • Keep it brief. One way to keep the conversation positive is to be general and brief about your reason for leaving. You can simply say you are leaving for “personal reasons” or another general reason. You don’t want to lie because a hiring manager might ask the employer to verify why you left, so keep it a little vague.
  • Offer to help with the transition. Another way to leave on a positive note is to offer to help with the transition period before you leave. You might offer something specific. For example, you could say you are willing to train a new employee or help in whatever way is needed to lessen the effect of your departure from the company.
  • Write a resignation letter. Even though you told your boss in person, you need to follow this up with a formal resignation letter. Send a copy to your employer, and a copy to the HR department. Like your in-person resignation, keep the letter positive, or at least neutral. Do not go into detail about the reasons why you hate the job.
  • Say goodbye to coworkers. Consider sending goodbye emails or letters to colleagues with whom you worked. If possible, send individualized goodbyes to each person. If you are leaving, in part, because of a difficult coworker, you can either send them a very simple, neutral goodbye message or not send them one at all. Remember that employers sometimes check with former colleagues when conducting background checks, so make sure you depart on a positive note.

The Bottom Line

Generally, you want to keep your complaints about the job to yourself. However, if something truly heinous is going on at work. For example, if you or another employee was experiencing harassment or discrimination, or you saw something illegal happening, you might need to make an official complaint before you quit. In that case, go to your company’s HR office and file an official complaint.

Patrick Lencioni, renowned business consultant and bestselling author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, knows a thing or two about organizational health.

In his sixth fable released in 2015, The Truth About Employee Engagement, he hits it out of the park again with a topic that anyone who has ever collected a paycheck can relate to: job misery.

Through the story of a CEO turned pizzeria manager, Lencioni reveals the three elements that make work miserable, and what both managers and employees can do to make work more engaging, which I will discuss below.

In an exclusive interview on Amazon about his book, Lencioni was asked why he wrote the book. He says, “I came to the frightening realization that job misery was having a devastating impact on individuals, and on society at large. It seemed to me that understanding the cause of the problem, and finding a solution for it, was a worthy focus for my career.”

When Lencioni uses “problem” and “solution” in the same sentence to address a gargantuan issue such as employee engagement in a book, he has my full attention.

In defining a “miserable job,” he gives an unsettling illustration that none of us want to hear, yet so many of us have experienced:

A miserable job is one that makes a person cynical and frustrated and demoralized when they go home at night. It drains them of their energy, their enthusiasm and their self-esteem.

Cynical. Frustrated. Demoralized. Anyone need a Tylenol yet? My head hurts thinking about my own past job miseries.

And misery, in Lencioni’s view, spans all income levels, ages and geography. He cites a Gallup poll that found 77 percent of workers hate their jobs, costing employers more than $350 billion dollars in lost productivity.

The Root Cause of Job Misery

So where does it all come from? Ahh, the million dollar question. The primary source of job misery and the potential cure for that misery resides in the hands of one individual–the direct manager, says Lencioni.

Both Gallup and The Blanchard Companies have done extensive studies to back up this statement. In fact, Gallup CEO Jim Clifton once said in a profound statement something that they’ll probably never teach you in business school.

The single biggest decision you make in your job — bigger than all the rest — is who you name manager. When you name the wrong person manager, nothing fixes that bad decision. Not compensation, not benefits –nothing.

And now we get to the meat and potatoes of the book. Lencioni warns readers of the three most glaring signs you should watch for in your manager, which may lead down the path to job misery: Anonymity, irrelevance, and, what he refers to as, “immeasurement.”


It’s the feeling that employees get when they realize that their manager has little interest in them as human beings–their personal lives, their aspirations and their interests. For sure, a strong indication of job misery.


This takes root when employees cannot see how their job makes a difference in the lives of others. Every employee, states Lencioni, needs to know that their work matters to their customers, co-workers, and managers.


The third sign is a term Lencioni came up with himself–“immeasurement.” It’s the inability of employees to assess for themselves their contribution or success. “Employees who have no means of measuring how well they are doing on a given day or in a given week, must rely on the subjective opinions of others, usually their managers, to gauge their progress or contribution,” says Lencioni.

While anyone can piggyback on convincing research to blame managers for job misery, Lencioni calls on miserable employees to raise their own bar and do something about improving their situations.

There are three things miserable employees can do on their own:

1. Assess your managers.

Lencioni notes that most managers really do want to improve, in spite of the fact that they may seem disinterested. So employees need to take the first step to assess whether their manager is truly interested in and capable of addressing the three things that are required in relation to anonymity, irrelevance, and immeasurement.

2. Help your managers understand what it is you need.

If the boss-worker relationship is healthy, Lencioni suggests coming right out and stating your needs. For example: “You know, it would mean a lot to me if you knew more about who I am and what makes me tick.” or, “Can you sit down and help me understand why this work I’m doing makes a difference to someone?”.

3. Start doing for your managers what you want for yourselves.

Yes, turn the tables. If employees take a greater interest in the life of their managers, it is bound to infect them with the same kind of human interest, says Lencioni. This doesn’t necessarily mean sucking up to your managers, but taking the time to stress to your managers the impact they have on your job satisfaction. Doing so, says Lencioni, will likely inspire them to respond in kind.

The only caveat to these three scenarios is when an employee comes to a resounding conclusion that, no matter what, his or her manager is completely disinterested in helping them find fulfillment in their work. When an employee reaches this stage, Lencioni says “it may well be time to start looking for a new job.”