What to do if you're stuck in a job you don't like

We get how tough it can be when you’re stuck in a job you don’t like. If it’s not possible to leave right now, we’ve got some ideas on how to make the situation a little better. But remember, if work is really affecting your physical or mental health, you have options to help you to leave.

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Be clear about what you can and can't control

Like most challenges in life, it helps to consider what you can and can’t control about your current job situation. Write down the exact things you can control and things you can’t control. You might be able to do things like ask your boss for help, or make the most of your downtime.

You could also write down your job worries in ReachOut WorryTime app to come back to later.

Take time to look after yourself

If you’re hating your job, it’s especially important to take care of yourself. Plan time to do something fun after work, or spend time in nature. Whatever helps you relax and feel better.

Make a list of pros and cons

The cons might be pretty obvious to you, but it’s also important to think about what’s good about your job. Possible upsides might include a regular pay cheque, having a structure to your day, the friendships you’ve formed with your work mates, and the feeling that you’re contributing to society. As for the cons, consider if there is anything you can do to resolve the problems, either by yourself or with the help of your manager.

Make the most of your downtime

Your job really isn’t everything in life. If you find what you do outside of work fun and/or fulfilling, it might put less pressure on your job to fulfil those needs. Stay involved with activities that interest you, and continue to catch up with friends, if that’s something you like to do. A lot of young people find that volunteering for a cause they feel passionate about gives them a sense of purpose and the feeling that they’re contributing to their community.

Change how you think about your work

Remember: no job is perfect. It can help to find some kind of meaning in what you do. Maybe you enjoy working with a team to deliver a great product, or you might like to make customers happy by remembering how they like their morning coffee.

Talk to someone

If you really dislike your job, it can help to vent to someone you trust (outside of work) or to get support from a professional (such as a psychologist or a counsellor) if you think you need it.

Make a plan to find different work

If all else fails and you feel like your job is having a negative effect on your physical or mental health, it may be time to move on. Even if you can’t find a new job right away, start laying the groundwork by telling people (outside of work) that you’re looking, update your resume and think about what you’d like to work on next. In the meantime, remember to take care of yourself by looking after your health and staying social with your friends. You might be worried about money if you have to leave your job, if so check out our articles and videos about money.

What can I do now?

  • If you're being bullied at work, check out our content here.

  • Set some goals for yourself.

  • Remember to practise self-care.