A few days ago I was reading a New York Times best-selling book by Adam Grant called Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World.
At some point within the book, Adam laid out 4 different ways to deal with a job you hate and I was instantly compelled to write a post and let you know all about them.
Those 4 ways have nothing to do with the mainstream advice you are going to find out there such as “Try to see the glass half-full” or “Have as much fun as possible during your free time”.
To successfully deal with a job you hate you have to make a choice between
- and Exit
Persistence means grinding your teeth and bearing your awful job.
Neglect entails staying in your current job but putting the absolutely minimum time and effort into it.
Voice involves actively trying to improve the situation.
Exit means removing yourself from your job altogether.
Let’s find out more about those options and which one you should go for.
The 4 Ways To Successfully Deal With A Job You Hate
1 • Persistence
Truth is that for most people, persistence is the way to go simply because all you have to do is stay exactly where you are.
No extra effort, no unnecessary risks, no sacrificing your free time to find ways to combat your situation, nothing…
You just grind your teeth, suppress your feelings, and keep showing up to a job you hate, day after day, week after week, year after year, until you retire, if of course, you haven’t left your bones on that desk (or wherever else you might be working) until that day comes.
If you go for persistence hoping that the situation is going to change by itself, then you are utterly fucked. It would be like expecting to become fit and healthy while persisting with the same lifestyle (sitting on your ass in front of the TV eating crap all day long) that made you unfit and unhealthy in the first place. It’s just not going to happen, EVER!
Nothing bad changes for the better by itself if you don’t make it change for the better yourself.
Yeah, I know that you need the money. That’s why you got this job in the first place right? And that’s why you keep persisting.
However, there are always other ways to earn your living without having to sell your soul to the devil such as
- finding another better job
- changing fields
- creating a business of your own
- going freelance
Please don’t go for persistence because you’ll most likely end up being miserable for the rest of your life.
Try to change your situation. Doing nothing will definitely be more painful in the long-term than doing something right now.
The simplest thing to do is to go looking for another job. Start today. You don’t have to find a job you love. Just go for one that you don’t hate to the depths of your very soul. I don’t know if you’ve worked a job that you didn’t hate but I have and there’s an enormous gap between being indifferent to a job and absolutely hating it.
Start your own online business. It’s simple and all you have to invest to get started is your time to find out how.
Sharpen a skill of yours and go freelance.
Go back to school, attend seminars, and get certified in order to apply to that job that you’ve always wanted.
All of that takes time but if you want to make something better out of your life, there’s no other way around.
Persistence is the worst way to go.
2 • Neglect
Maya Angelou said “If you can’t change a situation, change your attitude towards it”
This is exactly what neglect is about.
Neglecting your job means investing the least possible amount of time and energy in it.
Show up there and do barely enough work not to get fired. Make it clear that you won’t be working overtime anymore. The clock hits 4:59:59, you’re already out.
If you can handle your finances, make some sacrifices, and your company allows it, you could ask to be demoted to a part-time employee (this is exactly what I did).
Stop going for the extra mile and trying to please everyone at the cost of your own well-being.
Work on your own pace and give no fucks whatsoever about the ridiculously large workload that they’ve dumped over your head. If you manage to complete all of your assigned tasks, good… If not, who cares?
Well, yeah, your boss or supervisor might care, right? And he might yell at you… Pf, big woof… It’s just a person talking loudly near you. Just humor him. If he cared enough, he should have hired an additional employee to handle the workload. Or even better handle it himself.
What if your clients are after you? Let them be. What if your colleagues start resenting you? Fuck em.
None of that stuff really matters if you have urges to paint the wall behind you with your brains while at work.
Let your performance drop. My performance at work dropped by 30% since I decided to start neglecting it (it went from 120% to 90% in 3 months) and I am feeling a whole damn better. How do I know the exact numbers you ask? Well, there’s a monthly individual evaluation and my supervisor told me. Of course, I nodded politely and I said that I’ll try to get it up (the performance). I won’t…
Neglect is a decent way to deal with the job you hate. Definitely better than persistence. In fact, according to a 2018 Gallup poll, nearly 53% of US employees neglect their job, they are not cognitively and emotionally connected to their work and workplace, they will usually show up to work and do the minimum required and would quickly leave their company for a slightly better offer.
However, it is a high-risk option with little to no return on investment and that’s why I don’t recommend it as a long-term solution. Neglecting your job won’t make much of a difference in your happiness levels. It might just make your job a little more tolerable while significantly increasing the chances of getting fired and losing your reputation (If you apply for another job and your employer to be, contacts your former one and finds out that you were indifferent and aloof they will probably reject you).
That being said, you should use neglect as a short-term fix while trying to figure out a more permanent, long-term solution to your problem.
For instance, I am currently neglecting my job until I am ready to quit it and become be the boss of myself so I won’t have to work another horrible job ever again.
3 • Voice
Voice basically means approaching someone in charge, with ideas to improve your situation. This someone could be your supervisor, your boss, someone in the HR department, etc.
Arrange a meeting and tell them everything that bothers you and that you are willing to cooperate to change it for the better.
Before doing that though, you have to assess the situation by asking yourself some questions…
What is the reason or reasons that you hate your job? Is the reason legit or bullshit?
Is it the job or is it just you? If it’s just you, then speaking up won’t do you any good. Instead, try to figure out what bothers you and how you can counter it yourself.
Is someone else experiencing the same problem? If yes, then chances are that it’s not just you! Could you get them on board to speak up alongside you? If more than just one person speak up together of the same problem then the impact of their actions could be way greater.
Also, is the situation something that could change in general? If not, then why bother? Could the situation change anytime soon? If it’s going to take 10 years for any change to start taking place then you might be better off focusing your time and energy somewhere else.
Do you care enough to induce change? If not, then you could go for neglect or exit.
Only when you believe that your actions matter and care deeply you should consider speaking up.
Be aware that your current status in the company plays a very important role in your ability to affect any changes within it. For example, if you are just an average employee with no reputation and prestige then chances are that most your opinions are going to fall on deaf ears. The less reputable and prestigious you are, the less your chances of affecting changes.
If you want to increase those chances, then you have to boost your prestige and reputation before attempting to voice your concerns.
Start going for the extra mile, increase your performance and complete all your tasks as perfectly as possible. Become THE expert in your job. Expertise boosts your credibility. Apply for that promotion even if you have no chance of getting it just to show your boss that you care about having a future in the company. Discuss the problem with your colleagues and try to figure out one or more solutions together.
When the time comes, present those solutions to your boss. Make sure that you don’t complain because no one will take you seriously. Identify the problem, present facts, and offer several solutions and insights.
An awesome way to be heard loud and clear is to advocate for others. Don’t tell your boss about how bad is the situation to you and how much you want it to change but rather point out how the situation negatively affects your colleagues and how much you would like to help them.
Just be aware that most people are not open to any kind of non-positive feedback and your boss is most probably one of them. So, if you go on to speak to him about the defects of the very business that he is running himself, he might get all defensive, give you the cold shoulder, and maybe even fire you for being rebellious.
Neglecting can never pair with voice. If you have started neglecting your job, then you most likely lost your right to speak up and affect any kind of change.
4 • Exit
Exit means removing yourself from your job altogether!
Exiting is the path least traveled because in our minds it is the most challenging, risky, and effortful one.
But it’s really not more challenging, risky, and effortful than neglecting and speaking up. Even persisting requires enormous amounts of effort to keep forcing yourself to go to a job you totally despise, day after day, for the rest of your life. And you can’t know that they won’t fire you next month, or next year, or after 5 years.
Fact: If you hate your job, your performance drops. If your performance drops you are more likely to get fired.
Fact: According to the US Department of Labor, during October 2018, 1.1% of all US employees got laid off.
You could as well be the next one. Yeah, I know that you believe that this would never happen to you right?
This is exactly what two highly-skilled supervisors at my company used to think. And guess what! They both got fired after 15+ years of service for no reason at all!
For me, the only viable option to deal with the job you hate is to take the nearest exit. I mean, since everything else is challenging, effortful, and risky, why not choose to exit the situation altogether and go for something way better?
So how to quit your job?
The simplest way is to hold your breath and just do it. If you go on Youtube and forums to read the stories of people who quit their job cold-turkey, 99.9% of them wish that they had done it sooner.
Then just find a way to substitute your current income.
If you like your career then spice up your resume and start looking for another similar job at a different company. If you hate your vocation then go for a career change, start freelancing or get your own business up and running.
An online business requires little to no overhead. All you have to do is invest your time and energy. This is exactly why I started an online business in the first place.
I am sure that if you start searching around you could find tons of ways to make your living doing something that suits and fulfills you.
But you have to get off your ass.
Everybody is tired after a long day at work, especially if they are working a job they hate.
It’s easy to get home, sit in front of the TV scrolling up and down your Instagram feed, eat something, then go out for a coffee or some drinks and get back at home and go to sleep.
Those who keep doing that are doomed to keep being stuck at a job they hate. Those who take action to change their circumstances for the better during their free time are those who end up being the happiest. It might not hapen tomorrow, or next week, or next month, but it will happen if you don’t stop until you get what you want.
Who do you want to be?
Fundamentally, how you’ll choose to deal with your job is based on your feelings of control over the situation and your commitment to change it.
When you believe that your actions can induce change, and do you care enough to try then you’ll most probably consider speaking up. If you believe that your actions cannot effect change, you’ll choose neglect when you’re not committed, and persistence when you are. If you feel that you can make a difference, but you aren’t committed to doing that you’ll most likely exit.
Remember that if you don’t take initiative, the situation is highly unlikely to change by itself.
Only exit and voice have the potential to permanently improve your circumstances. Speaking up may be the best route if you have some control over the
situation; if not, it may be time to explore options for expanding your influence or leaving.
So, how would you go about dealing with your job? Would you choose persistence, neglect, voice, or exit? Why?
Let us know in the comments below.
If you have any questions or need any further help or guidance from me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop me a PM on my Wealthy Affiliate Profile.
I will be thrilled to help you out.