What to Do When You Hate Your Job

Person alone at a conference table with their head in their hands.

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"I hate my company."

"I hate my boss."

Many people hate something or other about their work—each of us probably hears one or more of these observations from at least one source nearly every day.

What to Do When You Hate Your Job

Going to work every day when you hate what you're doing or who you work for can be a huge challenge, but broadcasting the fact that you hate your job in the office, out to lunch or—even worse—all over the Internet compromises the level of professional integrity you convey, and can risk you getting the boot if the wrong person picks up on your vent sessions.

You don't have to stay in a place you simply feel is not a good fit. There are steps you can, and should, take to move on if you hate your job and you're not happy at work. Too many people spend too much time working to stay in jobs or work environments they dislike or even actively hate. Besides being happier, we all perform better when we're working at jobs we love, or at least like and at which we feel we have room to grow.

Keep Your "I Hate My Job" Thoughts to Yourself

If you do hate your job, keep it to yourself and your family or close friends. Don't blast it out to the world on social media; 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.

But employees aren't the only ones using social networking sites; employers do, too. Tweets, for example, show up in Google search. And, if you aren't careful about your Facebook privacy settings, you're opening yourself up for the wrong person to stumble across your frustration there, as well. Losing your job before you start looking for a new one, just because you complained about it, is easily avoidable. It makes more sense to strategically plan your exit from the company.

Know It's Not Just You

Being the person stuck in a position to say "I hate my job" can happen to any of us. 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 next steps.

Don't Just Quit

Don't just quit your job. The frustration of walking five days a week, 50 weeks a year through the doors of a place you can't stand can be weighing, but resignation in haste and repentance at leisure simply isn't an option for most of us without another job sitting at wait 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.

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. Write a great LinkedIn profile summary that will get noticed by hiring managers. 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

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 (via email, Facebook, LinkedIn messaging, etc.) 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. Still. 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 their businesses and reputations up through engagement and contribution; not tear them down. Going into an interview with the idea that you can spend even a fraction of the time ripping into the company for which you currently work (or formerly worked) often says far more about you than the company. What's more, you never know who your interviewer might know, or even if the company you're trying to leave could hold associations with the company to which you're trying to move.

Resign With Class

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

Aside from not being worth what it might cost from a career perspective, a scorched Earth approach to separation isn't worth the time and energy, and such overtures compromise your professional integrity. You're better served by focusing your energy and perspective to your new job and improving your experience this time around.