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When You Hate Your Job, Here's How to Find What's Next

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Unfortunately, hating your job is nothing new in our society. And while this feeling is terrible (I've felt this more times than I can count), it is somehow made worse by the fact that you know millions of other people hate their jobs too.

When you're so unhappy for at least forty hours per week - and probably more - it can be difficult to separate your work from your personal life. And the result can be ugly.

But it doesn't have to be. Here's what to do when you hate your job.

When you hate your job

Earlier on in my career, when I hated a job, I thought that I only had two options:

  1. Deal with it

  2. Find a job that better suits me

But after trying multiple roles in quick succession out of college, I realized that neither of these options were particularly helpful to me. After some reflection, I realized the reason for this is that corporate culture across companies and business units is not as different as I wanted it to be.

I mean, there was just so much about corporate life that I couldn't stand:

  • The lack of respect for my time

  • Answering to people I disagreed with on just about everything

  • Having to play the corporate "favorites" game to try to get attention and validation

All of it wore on me day after day. I became unrecognizable to myself and knew that something had to change. After one of those days, I realized that there were actually three options, not two:

  • Dealing with it with a different attitude

  • Finding a new role

  • Building my own income streams and working for myself

I'll touch on all three today.

Taking action when you don't like your job

Which of these strategies is for you, though?

It depends on your unique work situation. I recommend that you start by asking yourself:

  1. Why do you dislike your job?

  2. Do you like the job function?

  3. Do you have work-life balance?

  4. What does your gut say?

1. Why do you hate your job?

Start by asking yourself what is wrong with your current arrangement. Is it a bad manager or a toxic team/environment? Or maybe the stress is just too much to take five days per week - or more.

Your answer to this question will determine the next steps that you take. As far as I'm concerned, bad managers and toxic teams or environments don't get better, at least in my experience.

If you're stressed by your workload, raising your concerns and asking your manager for advice can be a suitable place to start. Then, if you're met with resistance or the situation doesn't improve, you've at least done everything you can.

Occasionally, there are reasons to stay at a job you're not fond of, at least for a little while, like if you enjoy a good relationship with your coworkers. Ultimately, you do need to be happy though.

2. Do you like the job function?

It is possible to dislike your job but enjoy the functions of your role. If this describes you, you may opt to stick it out and hope things improve, or you may look for another role that allows you to perform similar functions.

Not caring for your job function, though, is an indication that it may be time for you to try something new. And there is nothing wrong with that!

3. Do you have work-life balance?

I hate the concept of work-life balance. Let me clarify. No team or company should be praised for having it. It should be a given in any role, but unfortunately, due to corporate greed and other factors, workers' personal lives are oftentimes expected to be put on hold.

This is not a commitment I was willing to make, and if working nights and weekends is something that is expected of you, this is a catalyst to look for another job.

Sure, I started my business with late nights, early mornings, and weekend time, but I did so knowing that I was working to better my own life, rather than bolster a corporate bottom line.

4. What does your gut say?

Over the years, I've learned to trust my gut.

If something truly feels off, trust your feeling. I do recommend that you do your due diligence before you officially resign, but you should not stay in a role where you're unhappy, particularly if it impacts your relationships and personal life.

3 options to stop hating your job

I mentioned earlier that you have three options if you hate your job. Here's some help in identifying which of these options is best for you.

1. Create your own income streams

Maybe your experience(s) has/have been bad enough where you're ready to write off Corporate America once and for all. That's okay - you're far from alone. What may comfort you is learning that it has never been easier to build your own income streams, replace what you're making now, and then some!

My Side Hustle Accelerator course focuses on this very topic.

Over the course of five modules, and almost 25 lessons, I'm able to walk you through the process of starting your own side hustle, scaling it, and making it the full-time business (and income stream!) you've always wanted.

This approach works for anybody willing to put in the effort, but it is a good fit for:

  • Those that have tried multiple corporate roles but just can't find happiness or contentment.

  • Those that aren't enthused or motivated by the 9 to 5 life.

  • Those that want to be an agent of change in their own lives.

If this sounds like you, you're in good company. This was me in a nutshell.

Of course, starting a side hustle doesn't mean that you'll be able to replace your income overnight, so you'll still need to decide whether to stay in your role or pursue something different.

2. Finding a new role

Sometimes, a change of scenery is all you need to start feeling more like yourself again. This is undoubtedly one of the pros of the corporate or government employment experience.

More often than not, it is easy to find another job, either with the company you work for, or another company altogether.

Whether or not you decide to stick with your current employer will likely depend on your motives for looking for a new role. You'll be more likely to stay with your company if:

  • You're satisfied with your compensation.

  • You have stock options or investments that have not vested yet.

  • You're just looking for a new role and manager.

Those that are unhappy with their jobs are more likely to find another employer altogether if:

  • You hate the company culture.

  • There are no financial incentives holding you there.

  • Something else happened to put a bad taste in your mouth.

3. Stay put

Staying put may be the least appealing option out there, but it may be the right option for you if you're still unsure what the future holds for you. Unless you're sure that you're ready for a new role or new company, sometimes sticking it out makes sense.

Unfortunately, the grass isn't always greener.

However, here are some tips to make coping with this reality a little easier.

How to survive a job you hate

Over the years, I've tried and done the following.

Communicate with your manager

If you're unhappy at work, there is a good chance that it may be able to be addressed by your chain of command. Don't be afraid to escalate your concerns about things like your responsibilities, compensation, and stress level.

Good managers will respond to these concerns and do what they can, while poor leaders are more likely to merely listen to you and not make any changes.

Plus, you may learn something about your leadership that makes you happier in your role!

Vent every once in a while

I'm guilty of doing more than my fair share of venting. But every once in a while, it can feel good to get things off your chest. Venting to a loved one or friend that can provide you some advice is a good idea.

Venting online in a place where your employer may see it? Not quite as good of an idea.

Find something good in every day

Now, some advice that I struggle to follow myself. It is okay for a job to sometimes be a job and nothing more. As such, try to find something positive in every day. Maybe you'll get to have dinner with your wife after work, or you have a nice weekend getaway coming up.

Whatever it is, let your excitement carry you through to the best of your ability.


Staying unhappy at work is a recipe for living an unfulfilled life, but it doesn't have to be this way.

Figure out why you're unhappy and use these findings to fuel what is next for you, whether it is staying put, looking for a new job, or building your own income streams from scratch.

Have you ever been unhappy in a job? How did you respond? Let me know in the comments down below!

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About Nathan Zarcaro

Nathan Zarcaro is the founder of The Student Debt Destroyer and is passionate about personal finance related causes.  A 2018 graduate of Providence College's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Nathan studied Finance, and worked for one of the world's largest asset management firms before starting his own consulting practice.  In his free time, Nathan enjoys playing golf and traveling with his wife Brigid.

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