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“I Hate My Job!”

5 Things You Can Do When You Hate Your Job

“I hate my job. I hate my job. I HATE MY JOB.”

A few years ago, some dude named Daniel Kochanski was working as a professional stenographer, assigned to transcribe what was said during courtroom proceedings in New York City.

But poor Danny disliked his job so much that instead of writing down what the judges and lawyers and such folk were saying, he instead tapped the same four words into his typewriter repeatedly:

“I hate my job. I HATE MY JOB. I hate my job.”

Most people aren’t like Danny, in that they probably won’t mess up dozens of high-profile criminal cases because they hate their job so much.

But most people are like Danny in that they are unhappy at work.

A 2016 study by the Conference Board, a New York-based nonprofit research group, found that 50.4% of Americans – more than half! – are not satisfied with their jobs. 27

So hey, if you’re reading this because you hate your job, know that you’re not alone. Every second person collecting a paycheck feels your pain.

Maybe even more than every second person…

“Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called everybody, and they meet at the bar.” – Drew Carey

It saddens me that there are so many people in the world working jobs they hate, always waiting for the weekend.

We spend a huge chunk of our waking hours working, and so methinks it’s a good idea to be doing work that you love.

Or, at the very least, work that doesn’t make you want to slash your wrists.

Now, I know: it’s easy to get stuck in a job you hate, to feel like you have little choice but to stay there and endure the misery.

But hopefully what follows will convince you otherwise.

🎓 What you will learn in this article:
  • The 5 options available to you if you hate your job (and which is right for you)
  • How to quit your job without destroying your life
  • How to quickly and effectively find a new and better job (or change to a more fulfilling career)
  • What alternative work options are available to you
  • How you can make money without a job

5 Things You Can Do If You Hate Your Job

If you hate your job, the first thing you need to realize is that you have options.

Really, you do. Five of them:

  • Do nothing and continue to hate your job
  • Lie to yourself and pretend everything is peachy
  • Figure out why you hate your job
  • Take action to make the job more enjoyable
  • Quit

☹️ Do Nothing And Continue To Hate Your Job

I suggest you pass on this option.

Not only will it lead to indefinite unhappiness (and often stress), but it makes you a coward as well.

Do nothing and you’ll most likely end up like this guy…

(Seriously, did you just watch that entire video? And wait… are you at work right now?? Damn, you really need to keep reading.)

🤥 Lie To Yourself
And Pretend Everything Is Peachy

This option is also pretty lame.

Do this and you’re just ignoring the problem, closing your eyes and sticking your fingers in your ears. It might work for a while, but eventually you’ll crack.

I hate my job
“Totally my dream job. La la la la la.”

🤔 Figure Out WHY You Hate Your Job

“Instead of wondering where your next vacation is, maybe you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” – Seth Godin

Now we’re getting somewhere!

Before you make any changes, you’ll want to figure out exactly why you’re dissatisfied with your current job.

If this is obvious to you, great, skip on ahead.

But if not, take some time to work through this section with a pen and paper.

Start by asking yourself this question:

“Do I hate my job, or my career?”

Maria Onzain at WayUp poses these three questions to help you figure out if it’s time for a career change:

  • What is important to you and what do you want from your new career?
  • Are you happy to start at the bottom and work your way back up?
  • Are your expectations realistic?

If you determine that a career change is the right move for you, jump to this section for tips on how to make that happen.

If however you’ve determined that it’s just your current job that needs improving, take some time to figure out exactly where the problem lies.

The following list of job components comes courtesy of Marc Miller at Career Pivot, and should help you narrow it down: 28

  • Boss / Manager
  • Colleagues / Coworkers
  • Pay / Rewards / Benefits
  • Variety / Opportunities To Grow
  • Emotional Environment / Company Culture
  • Rules / Structure
  • The Work Itself

For each item on that list, ask yourself:

“Is this the reason I hate my job?”

Sidenote: Maybe You’re The Problem

Don’t forget to look in the mirror while trying to figure out why you hate your job.

As Dale Callahan puts it:

Fact is, when you say “I hate my job” more is said about you than is about the employer.

Now that’s not always true – the problem may really be your employer – but it’s worth considering.

Keep the following in mind:

If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you’re the asshole. 29

Would you really be happier with a different job/boss/whatever, or would you find something to complain about no matter what?

🏃‍♀️ Take Action
To Make Your Job More Enjoyable

Hopefully by now you’ve pinpointed the exact factor(s) that are making you miserable at work.

Next you’ll want to ask yourself this question:

“What would have to change for me to enjoy this job?”

Here are some actions you can take for each of the factors listed earlier.

According to a recent Gallup State of the Global Workplace study, fifty percent of employees in the United States have quit a job at some point because of problems with a boss.

So if you’d rather not quit your job, you need to get this resolved.

Some ideas:

Refrain from gossip and badmouthing your boss to others at work or in your professional circles. Nothing good comes from being labeled as a negative employee.

  • Identify what kind of boss you’re dealing with. Marie McIntyre describes five types of difficult boss – Micromanager, Procrastinator, Idiot, Dictator, Abuser – and provides strategies for dealing with each one.
  • Take careful note of how you butt heads or become frustrated with your boss. Is it always the same thing that causes friction? If so, is there something you can change there?
  • If you find communicating with your boss difficult and frustrating, read Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg and apply what you learn.
  • If communication doesn’t help, Jennifer Winter at The Muse recommends biting your tongue and letting off steam:

I would let an ex-Marine scream orders at me while I punched and kicked the daylights out of inanimate objects. Not only did I get in fantastic shape, but every encounter with my boss became progressively less frustrating.

  • “Speak to colleagues who do get on with the boss. What is it they do that you don’t? Do they have any tips for you?” 30
  • As per TD Jakes:

If your company has a union, you might want to use them as a resource on how to deal with conflict management. If your rights have been violated, you can also contact the National Labor Relations Board for information on how to protect yourself.

And hey, if all that fails, you can always resort to recording your boss making sexual advances on an unconscious friend and then blackmailing her so she quits being so horrible to you…

A recent survey of 2,000 Brits found a third of them admitting to hating their colleagues 31 so you’re certainly not alone if you occasionally feel the urge to slap a coworker.

Not that you should ever act on that urge, of course.

Okay, maybe sometimes…

Aside from that, consider the following:

I’m sure you didn’t walk in on day one, just hate the look of the person, and it was all downhill from there. Really work to get some clarity on why there’s not a better working relationship between the two of you. What did they say to you? What did they do? When was it? What context was it in?

  • Hey, maybe it’s not them; maybe it’s you. Seriously, you might be the problem here. Are you pulling your weight at work? Are you preventing your colleagues from getting their work done? Might you have really bad BO? Pull aside your friendliest coworker and ask them if you’re doing something wrong. 32
  • Amy Gallo shares advice from Daniel Goleman (he of Emotional Intelligence fame): 33

He suggests that if there is someone who is annoying or abrasive, don’t think about how the person acts, think about how you react. It’s far more productive to focus on your own behavior because you can control it. 34

  • “Accept that you don’t have to like everyone.” 35 You’re there to do a job, not to share intimate stories and braid each other’s hair. Not everyone at work needs to be your BFF.
  • If you’re dealing with an exceedingly dumb coworker, Adam Dachis recommends you take a deep breath when they mess something up for the 29th time, then string words like these together:

“I’ve shown you how to do this a few times now and you seem to be struggling with it. Is there a better way I could explain it? Am I not giving you enough detail?”

  • Liane Davey Ph.D. suggests asking yourself WHY five times to get at the root of the problem: 36

When you think “She makes me want to strangle her!” Why? “Because I hate when she is always trying to sound so smart!” Why? “Because I think she’s pulling the wool over the boss’ eyes?” Why does that bother you? “Because she gets all the attention!” Why is that a problem? “Because I want some attention too!” Why? “Because I need to feel like I’m valued by my boss!” Aha!

  • Lastly, consider having a word with your boss if bad blood is lingering between you and a colleague. As per Nonviolent Communication, focus on sharing observations (as opposed to evaluations) and expressing your own feelings and needs rather than focusing on the “faults” of your colleague.

If you feel your compensation is inadequate, you need to negotiate for better.

Look no further than Ramit Sethi for excellent advice on how to do this:

Key points from that video:

  • First find out if you are actually underpaid or undercompensated and by how much. Use these three websites to find out: PayScale.com, Salary.com, Glassdoor.com
  • Before trying to negotiate for better compensation, make sure you deserve it. As per the video, average performers can expect to be underpaid, as they are a commodity and easily replaceable. Become a top performer however, and you are in a much better position to negotiate.
  • Follow these three steps to ask for a raise (explained in more detail in the video):
    • Make your boss aware
    • Marshall defenses
    • End on a positive note

To dive deeper into getting a raise and boosting your salary, I highly recommend you check out this free ultimate guide from Sethi.

Lastly, keep in mind that “better compensation” can mean a variety of things:

  • A salary increase
  • Bigger bonuses
  • More time off
  • Better benefits
  • More training

In other words, there are a lot of ways your boss can better compensate you. If he or she refuses to increase your salary, suggest some other reward or benefit that you’d be satisfied with.

Feeling stuck like this pug?

Well, it’s not just you:

According to a recent Gallup survey, 87% of millennials say on-the-job development opportunities are important to them, while 69% of non-millennials say the same. 37If you feel stuck in a boring, dead-end job, there are several things you can do:

  • As per Sarah Winfrey at Wise Bread, first make sure you’re not slacking at work. If you are, you’re unlikely to be assigned bigger and better projects.
  • Instead of slacking, “be proactive about your role. Don’t wait for management to assign you additional responsibilities. Instead, look around for areas in the organization that need improvement and create solutions.” 38
  • An excellent example of this comes from Andrea Ring:

My first assignment was a data entry job. Bleh. No fun, not something I wanted to do. But I did it, and immediately I started to see possibilities. My editing skills were needed for their reports. They didn’t have a Style Guide, despite having over 100 employees. I knew I could do more.

So I did. I wrote a style guide, made report templates, and they hired me. It turned into such a lucrative job that my husband ended up quitting and staying home with the kids. 39

  • If you’re flat out and don’t feel you have any time to devote to development opportunities, consider these words from the Harvard Business Review:

We all managed to make time for our executive MBAs, while still doing our day jobs. When the program ends, don’t let the day job reabsorb the learning time. Keep the time to evolve your work.

  • Go to your boss/manager and voice your concerns. They may simply not realize that you’re willing and able to take on more responsibility, or that you want to shift gears and try something different. If they seem hesitant to make a change, suggest doing a trial run for a week or two.
  • As per the following video (tip #5), don’t be indispensable. If you are, your boss/manager will want you to keep doing what you’re doing. You should make your current job easy to pass along to someone else so you can be free to tackle bigger and better projects.

Failing all that, it may well be time to look for a new job or change careers completely. More on those options below.

And remember, if you do succeed at getting a promotion in your current job (official or not), you should also receive an equivalent bump in compensation. If that doesn’t happen automatically, refer to the previous section.

Honestly, this is a tough one to fix.

Most of the advice out there for improving company culture is for bosses and management. If you’re not in a leadership position yourself, and have no desire to be, then there’s not a lot you can do.

These (summarized) tips from Laura Sims are as good as it gets:

  • Resist the pressure to conform to the company culture. You don’t have to be cruel/lazy/uncooperative just because everyone around you is. Keep your integrity, perform at your best, and hope it will rub off on others.

One practical tip related to that: avoid “backbiting,” as explained in this video…

  • You can “emotionally de-invest” and just do the minimum required of you to keep collecting your paycheck. This is obviously not ideal, but if money is what matters most to you right now then it may be your best option. 40
  • “Find the humor” and “appreciate the absurdity of the situation you’re in.”
  • Make up for your sucky work environment by surrounding yourself with awesome, inspiring, and positive people and organizations outside of work.

Those tips aside, you should seriously consider quitting your job and finding a company with an awesome culture to work for instead.

Remember, a 40-hour workweek adds up to approximately 2,000 hours per year. Don’t spend that time in a bad work environment. Life’s too short, and there are plenty of other opportunities out there.

Perhaps you feel like a little like this young lady:

I Hate My Job because of the rules

You’re all ready for the work equivalent of a beach party with your four-legged and two-wheeled friends, but those pesky rules just keep getting in the way.

What should you do?

First, make a sincere effort to understand why the rules are there, why your job or your company is structured the way it is.

“The secret of breaking rules in a way that works is understanding what the rules are in the first place.” – Rick Wakeman

Quite often rules appear ridiculous simply because we don’t understand why they were implemented initially, so make it your mission to find out.

When you do this, one of two things will happen:

  • You’ll discover that the rule makes sense.
  • Or you’ll discover that it doesn’t. 41

If the former, you can put your mind to rest and get back to work, no longer frustrated because now you understand why the rule is in place and why it shouldn’t be broken.

If the latter, however, your next move should be to appeal to your superiors to have the rule removed.

Go to them prepared with clear examples of how the rule is hindering your performance and that of the company, and what advances could be made without it. Think ahead about what objections they might have and be ready to counter them.

Once you’ve made your case, you’ll have a good feel for whether or not a change is likely.

If so, great, you can hang in there until the obstacle is removed.

If not, you can continue to appeal to your superiors or jump ship in favor of a less restrictive work environment.

Or, you know, just break that stupid rule and see what happens…

I hate my job stapler

We’ll need to dig a little deeper here to figure out the exact problem.

What is it about the work that you don’t like?

It’s usually one of two things:

  • The work is boring
  • The work is stressful

“The work is boring”

Okay, how can you make it more interesting?

  • Can you challenge yourself somehow, perhaps to get more done in less time?
  • Can you take on some additional responsibilities?
  • Can you talk to your boss and ask for his/her help to make the job more interesting?
  • Can you do something else while at work? For example, if you’re a security guard sitting around all day, can you read books or listen to podcasts during your shift?

Or maybe you could just entertain yourself with a scrunched-up piece of paper:

“The work is stressful”

If this is the case, you’ll need to talk to your boss.

But don’t just present him/her with the problem and hope for a solution. Instead, come prepared with some suggestions.

Such as:

  • Push back a tight deadline you have coming up.
  • Hire additional help to ease the pressure.
  • Increase the budget for the project you’re working on.
  • Reassign you to a more suitable project.
  • Send you for more training so your skills better match the demands of the job.

Make it clear to your boss the stress you’re under and how that negatively affects your performance and puts the company’s goals at risk. Then explain how your proposed solution(s) can ease the pressure and improve the chances of success.

Related video:

If you’re reading this section, kudos for owning up to having a negative attitude.

Although you should take a moment to consider the following before we proceed…

Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.

Okay, assuming you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes and do indeed need to improve your negative attitude, here are a few things you can try:

  • Use The Five Minute Journal. This will help you focus on the positive and cultivate gratitude. You can use the official app, the official notebook, or just write out the questions and your answers on a piece of paper or on your computer every day (you can see the questions here).
  • Whenever you feel the temptation to talk about someone behind their back, use Socrates’s Triple Filter Test, as explained in this video:
  • Frode Heimen lists twelve things you can do to stay positive at work. My favorites:
    • Serve coffee to fellow co-workers
    • Write a post-it note to someone and thank them for anything positive they have done
    • Make sure to find a positive view on every topic discussed
  • Try using some of these 100 positive affirmations by Farnoosh Brock.
  • Whenever you get stuck on a negative thought, run through Byron Katie’s four questions:
    • Is it true?
    • Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
    • How do you react when you think that thought?
    • Who would you be without the thought?

An example of this process:

  • Stop comparing yourself to others! As per Zen Habits:

try to be aware of when you start comparing yourself to others … once you’ve developed this awareness, try this trick: stop yourself. Tell yourself, “Stop that!” And then start thinking about all the things you DO have, the things you love, the people you have, the blessings that life has given you. Make this a regular practice, and you’ll start to be happier with your life.

  • A great tip from Henrik Edberg’s Positivity Blog is to surround yourself with more positive people. Your environment affects you greatly, so try to spend less time with negative people, and more time with positive folk.
  • Whenever a problem arises, resist the urge to dwell on it. Instead, focus your energy on trying to find a solution. A great book that will help you stay solution-focused is The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday.


Cultivating a positive attitude is essentially about changing habits – negative thought patters are simply a habit – and that can take a while, especially if you’ve been thinking negatively for quite a while.

So it can take time to become a more positive=thinking person. Be patient and keep working at it consistently.

👋 How To Quit Your Job
(The Smart Way)

Great, you’ve decided to quit.

All you need to do now is hire a barbershop quintet and sing your way to freedom…

All joking aside, quitting can be scary, even if you’re sure it’s the right thing to do.

Yasmine Khater lists five reasons why it can be so hard to quit your job:

  • Fear of what parents, friends, colleagues and society will say
  • Myth of safety of working for a corporation
  • Mother of all uncertainty – fear of self-employment
  • Fear of losing benefits (health, dental, insurance, etc.)
  • Fear of not having enough money

Do any of those ring true for you?

Maybe all of them?

What will help alleviate those fears is putting some serious thought into how you’re going to quit and what you’ll do next.

In other words, you need to quit smart.

Let’s run through how to do that, step by step:

  • Decide what’s next
  • Get your finances in order
  • Set a deadline
  • Work hard

Before you pull the trigger, make sure you have a plan.

Quitting on a whim might be right for some people, but you give yourself a much better chance of landing on your feet if you think ahead and get a few wheels turning before jumping ship.

So take some time to decide what you want to do next.

  • Do you want to change jobs but stay in your current career?
  • Change careers?
  • Go back to study?
  • Travel?
  • Start your own business?
  • Take a few months off to “find yourself”? 42
  • Something else entirely?

To help make this decision, talk to people you trust. Talk to people who have taken paths similar to what you’re considering. Spend some time journaling, writing out different options and envisioning different outcomes.

You’re not looking to end up with a decision you’re 100% sure of – you can never be that sure as it’s impossible to predict the future – but having done your due diligence and really thought through your options, you should emerge with a direction you feel good about.

Okay, so you’ve figured out what you want to do after quitting your job.

But before you go marching into your boss’s office and handing over your nicely-typed resignation letter, you should take a good hard look at your financial situation.

The primary question you want to answer here:

“Do I have enough money to make this transition without stressing myself out big-time?”

Your answer to that question will depend on what you’ve decided to do next.

If you’ve decided to jump straight into another job, then this might not be a big deal for you as you can probably line up your next gig before quitting your current one and never miss a paycheck.

On the other hand, if you expect to go a few weeks or months without income during the transition, you’ll need to figure out how you’re going to get through that.

Some things to consider:

  • If you expect to have no income for a while after quitting your job, try save up enough money to cover at least three months of expenses. More is better, but aim for three months minimum.
  • That goes hand in hand with slashing your expenses. You can live on very little money once you know your priorities. And your main priority should be to not spend 2000 hours a year working a job you hate.

Here are some solid tips for upping your savings game:

Check the video below to see how I keep track:

  • If you have any debt whatsoever, you need to be extra careful. If it’s relatively small debt like a few thousand dollars on a credit card, get that paid off before quitting your job. If it’s something larger like a mortgage or a student loan, take the advice of Man Vs. Debt and call your creditors. They may be able to offer you different payment options or a hardship plan.

When I decided to quit my job and start my own business several years ago, I got really serious about improving my financial situation to give me the best chance of success.

Some of the things I did:

  • I took inventory of everything I owned and began selling off everything I no longer had use for. By the time I was finished I was able to fit all my possessions into carry-on luggage. 43
  • I moved out of my $800/month one-bedroom apartment and started house-sitting instead. This allowed me to live rent-free for a few months and save thousands of dollars.
  • I cancelled all subscriptions I no longer had use for.

I also found these books especially helpful over the years for getting my finances under control and improving my spending habits:

“There are only seven days in a week, and someday isn’t one of them.” – Sean Ogle

Remember back in college when they gave you four weeks to do an assignment and you ended up doing nothing for 26 days and then rushing to get it all finished in 48 hours?

It might not have been your best work, but you got it done.

That’s the power of a deadline.

When it comes to quitting your job, I recommend that you not only set yourself a deadline, but you make that deadline known to your boss.

That way, it’s harder to chicken out at the last minute and you’re more likely to follow through.

When I decided to quit my job, I gave my boss six months notice.

Which sounds like a lot – and it is – but putting a firm date on my departure forced me to get my ass in gear and make it happen.

No longer could I tell myself that I’d quit “someday.”

You know what else is great about setting a deadline?

Your job immediately starts to suck less.

And that’s because you now know your days there are numbered.

You’ll have the finish line in sight, making it easier to prepare yet another TPS report or sit through another mind-numbing meeting.

For that very reason, my last six months on the job were easily my happiest and most productive. 44

If you do decide to go ahead and give your boss a heads up that you’re leaving, you could always follow this guy’s lead and hire a marching band to help make the announcement…

…but it’s probably better to follow these recommendations from The Muse and keep the conversation “pain free” for both parties:

  • If you’re nervous, remember that this happens all the time.
  • Lead the conversation and be ready for your boss’s questions. He or she will likely want to know why you’re leaving, when you’re leaving, what you’re planning to do next, and how they’ll replace you.
  • Keep in mind why you’re leaving, so you don’t change your mind or get talked out of it at the last minute.
  • Even if you hate your boss, resist the urge to burn bridges. Be polite and courteous when telling them you quit. Keeping them as an ally could prove useful in future.

Once you’ve done all the above, you might be tempted to kick back and take it easy until your departure date arrives, spending your work days cruising Facebook and doing the bare minimum required of you.

After all, it’s not like they’re going to fire you now, right?

And even if they do, so what? You’re leaving anyway.

I’d caution against that attitude however.

In my view, you should start working harder at that current job you hate, and during your spare time, because you can’t just magically flip a switch and pick up good work habits when you finally find a job you love.

You need to birth those habits right now, where you are.

Some recommendations:

  • Check out this list of things I did during the home stretch of my last job to prepare for self-employment.
  • Start building your skills and experience outside of work, so you can hit the ground running at whatever comes next.
  • Ask yourself: what can I do at my current job that will ensure they’ll really miss me when I leave?

🥰 Follow Your Passion?

Before we get stuck into sections on finding a new job, changing careers, and alternative work options, let’s take a moment to talk about passion.

Lots of people will tell you that life’s too short to work a job you hate, that you should quit that crap and start doing work you love.

“Don’t even worry about the money side of things,” they’ll say. “That will all take care of itself.”

Yeah, I’m not one of those people.

I’ll go so far as to disagree with a renowned Chinese philosopher and his mad eyebrows on this:

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. – Confucius

Sorry, but that’s bullshit.

Whenever I give talks on this topic, I ask people in the audience to raise a hand if they’ve ever had a job they loved.

Maybe ten people will raise their hands.

Then I ask them to keep their hands raised if that job never felt like work.

Nobody keeps their hand up. 45

Why is that?

Because doing a job you love can be just as hard – if not harder! – than doing a job you hate.

Think about it:

  • If you mess up doing a job you hate, no big deal. You don’t give much of a crap anyways and you’d probably be relieved if they fired you. But mess up doing a job you love? That’ll really stab at your sense of pride, accomplishment, and self-worth.
  • Most people hate their jobs not because they’re difficult, but because they’re boring. A job you love is usually the opposite. You’ll constantly be challenged and pushed to excel.
  • It’s not like finding work you’re passionate about is easy in the first place. Most people don’t even know what their passion is. It can take a while to figure it out. What are you supposed to do in the meantime?
  • Even if you are lucky enough to find work you love, there’s no guarantee anyone’s going to pay you good money to do it. What if you’re passionate about carving matchsticks or playing World Of Warcraft? If there’s a way to make a living pursuing those kinds of passions, you can bet it’s not easy.

Words from two highly-regarded texts to back up this argument:

“The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow

“…the happiest, most passionate employees are not those who followed their passion into a position, but instead those who have been around long enough to become good at what they do […] these breakthroughs require that you first get to the cutting edge, and this is hard— the type of hardness that most of us try to avoid in our working lives.” – Cal Newport, So Good They Can’t Ignore You

So please don’t fall into the trap of thinking that the only way forward is to follow your passion. More often than not, that’s a bad idea.

Focus instead on building valuable skills and gaining experience.

You shouldn’t hate that process, obviously, but you don’t have to love it either.

🎯 How To Find A New Job

Alright, so you’ve decided to stick with your current career but find a new job therein, preferably one that doesn’t make you want to kill yourself.

Jolly good.

I recommend starting your search right where you are, as per Jen Gresham:

“When looking for new jobs, most people focus on whether or not they have task experience. But don’t underestimate the value of your knowledge about the organization itself. Someone who is intimately familiar with the company, its culture, its goals and its products has an instant perspective that a new hire with lots of task experience can’t provide. If management already knows you’re a reliable and hard worker, it might be easier than you think to convince them to let you do something new.”

I know, it sounds crazy. If you hate your job, you probably can’t wait to ditch that organization and move on to greener pastures.

But is it really the organization that you hate?

Could a shift to a different department, a promotion to a new role, or a reassignment to a new project be enough to turn that frown upside down… that hate into great… that crappy into happy?


But assuming not, let’s continue.

Before you start looking for a new job elsewhere, ask yourself this question:

“Can I hunt for a new job openly, or do I need to keep it hush-hush?”

You might be in a situation where it’s best to keep your search secret – so as not to rock the boat with your current employer, for example – which is fine, but it does make things a little more difficult.

Decide now what makes sense for you.

Next, remind yourself why you’re leaving your current job, and what you’re seeking in your new position.

More specifically, ask yourself this question:

“What must be different at my new job for me to be happy?”

Is it a better boss?

More opportunities for growth?

More responsibility?


Whatever it is, make sure you keep that firmly in mind as you start looking at job openings and lining up interviews.

Next you’ll want to actually start searching for available jobs that match your expertise.

You can do this in all the usual places:

  • Online job sites like Monster and CraigsList
  • Newspaper classifieds
  • Magazines and trade journals related to your industry
  • Websites of companies you’d like to work for
  • Etc.

However, I’d recommend you begin your search by tapping into the informal (or hidden) job market…

To do this, start by identifying companies you would like to work for, whether they have a position available for you or not, and figuring out a connection between you and that company.

That connection might be a friend, or a friend of a friend, or (as per the above video) your neighbor’s cousin.

  • Note: The connection doesn’t need to be anything special. Research has shown that “weak ties” are a very common way to find a job. 46

When you discover a weak tie to a company you’re interested in, reach out and ask if there might be an opening for you. You may not get a positive response right away, but your interest will likely be recalled next time they do need someone with your awesome ninja skills.

If you don’t find a new job via the informal job market, then it’s time to resort to those traditional routes noted above.

But instead of sending out a bunch of resumes, take the advice of Sophia Bera and be all picky like:

Think quality, not quantity. Send applications out to fewer companies with openings that are more suited to your skills. Write to that specific role. Your application will be much stronger than the generic cover letter and resume you send out to hundreds of companies.”

Once you’ve shortlisted some jobs to apply for, you’ll need to put together your resume.

For tips on that, I’ll refer you to Andrew LaCivita, who has looked at more than half a million resumes over the years and gives great advice on how to make yours stand out.

Check these additional posts and videos by Andrew for extra credit:

Now, let’s say you’ve sent in a great resume that lands you a job interview.

What then?

I recommend giving Ramit Sethi’s “Briefcase Technique” a try:

You should also check out these articles from Ramit ahead of your interview:

Armed with all the above information, you’ll be well ahead of the pack and will have drastically increased your chances of finding a job you love (or at least don’t hate).

Yay cat – I hate my job

One more bonus resource before we move on:

There comes a time when you ought to start doing what you want. Take a job that you love. You will jump out of bed in the morning. I think you are out of your mind if you keep taking jobs that you don’t like because you think it will look good on your resume. Isn’t that a little like saving up sex for your old age?” – Warren Buffett

👊 How To Change Careers

Before we dive into this, allow me to restate an aforementioned question from Maria Onzain:

“Are you happy to start at the bottom and work your way back up?”

Depending on your situation, you may not actually need to “start at the bottom” when changing careers, but it is a possibility.

Make sure you’re at peace with that before proceeding.

Next, keep in mind that transitioning successfully to a new career takes time.

“I’m always stunned when people expect major life or career change to happen overnight – or within a few weeks or months. They’re so eager (or desperate) to leave behind what’s made them miserable, that they simply don’t have the perseverance to tough it out over the long haul to get to their desired destination.” – Kathy Caprino 47

Realize that this could take a while, so it would be wise to get your finances and such in order before pulling the trigger.

Once you’ve made those preparations, you’ll want to figure out which new career to pursue.

If you already know for sure, obviously you can skip ahead, but assuming you don’t, a few ideas to get your wheels turning:

  • What kind of work or skills have you been praised for in the past, or have you taken the most pride in? Could any of those form the basis of a new career?
  • Take an online quiz from The Princeton Review or 365tests to figure out what career is best for your personality type.
  • Is there a particular place you’d like to live? Assuming you’d prefer not to work remotely, answering this question can go a long way to narrowing down which careers are available to you.
  • What kind of lifestyle would you like to have? For example, if you’d like easy access to the great outdoors, switching to a corporate job in some smoggy metropolis ain’t gonna float your boat.
  • How much money do you want to make? As you well know, different careers reap different financial rewards. Would you be happy with a teacher’s salary, or do you want to do something that will earn you the big bucks?
  • If possible, test out some careers you’re interested in by doing part-time work in those industries. For example, if you’re interested in a law career, can you get a job as an intern or assistant at a law office to see what it’s really like?

Again, remember that career change is often a slow and messy process, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to identify your perfect career right away.

Investigate and experiment with different options until you find something promising.

Once you get to that point, take the advice of Jenny Foss and enlist some allies.

Three kinds in particular:

  • People who will always have your back
  • People who are killing it in your field of interest
  • People who have made similar transitions before you

With that in mind, do you know anyone who has made a transition similar to what you’re planning, or someone whose career you’d love to emulate?

If not, can you do a little Google-fu to find them online?

It’s worth spending some time researching and connecting with such people because they can be a great source of inspiration and information.

Here are some examples:

  • Jennifer Gresham left a successful career in the military just four years shy of retirement and now runs a highly successful coaching business.
  • Leanne Regalla went from corporate America to owning a bakery to teaching music.
  • Alex Robinson went from managing music acts to a lead position at an environmental charity.
  • Peter Swanson went from working at an SEO firm to becoming a successful freelance writer.

Make a list of names, then see if you can reach out to those people and turn them into allies.

Ask them questions like, “How would you advise someone like me to build a career similar to yours?”

Take their advice and act on it.

Failing that, scroll up to the Finding A New Job section of this article and start implementing the tips you find there, as many of them are equally applicable when changing careers.

If you made a mistake and bought a pair of shoes that really hurt your feet, gave you blisters and such, you’d take them off at the first opportunity and buy a new pair. Why don’t we do the same thing with our careers?” – Jen Gresham

🤔 Alternative Work Options

“If you’re not happy, a good salary isn’t progress, it’s financial prison. Life is meant to be lived, not sold to the highest bidder.” – Johnny Ward

I’ve long been amazed by people who describe themselves as “normal,” as if that’s something to be proud of.

You know what’s “normal” nowadays?

  • Working a job you hate, while being heavily in debt and seriously out of shape.

So screw being normal.

I’d rather be weird, exceptional, strange, a bit of an oddball.

If you feel the same way, I encourage you not to settle for a “normal” job.

There are other options, such as:

  • Seasonal work
  • Work abroad
  • Work for room and board
  • Build up passive income
  • Claim unemployment benefits
  • Work for yourself

Let’s dive into each of those a little deeper:

The best seasonal jobs allow you to earn enough money in 3-6 months to cover your expenses for an entire year, giving you lots of time and freedom to pursue your passions or just laze about watching Netflix.

Some ideas for seasonal work: 48

  • Ski resorts
  • Amusement or water parks
  • Oil rigs
  • Cruise ships
  • Holiday resorts
  • Tour guide
  • Teacher or tutor
  • Construction work
  • Farm jobs

To give an example of the potential here, a friend of mine once had a job driving mega-tractors on a farm in Australia. The work was very boring and the days were often long (sometimes up to 18 hours), but he earned about $1400 per week after tax.

He worked there for two months, earning more than $10k, which enabled him to go travel around Southeast Asia for several months without having to work at all.

I found myself stuck in a crappy job in Ireland several years ago. I wasn’t much of a go-getter and I didn’t have much in the way of marketable skills.

So what did I do?

I quit my job and found another.

The new gig wasn’t any better. In fact, the pay was less and the boredom was more.

But there was one key difference: I had moved to a foreign country.

In my experience, getting away really shakes up your worldview and helps you figure out what to do with your life. So, if all else fails, go abroad.

Save up enough for a plane ticket and secure a job, any job, even if it means taking a few steps down the career ladder.

Had I not packed my bag all those years ago and wandered off to a foreign country, there’s a good chance I’d still be working a job I hate.

Another example is millionaire travel blogger Johnny Ward, who began building the life of his dreams by teaching English in Thailand and South Korea.

If you’re a native English speaker, teaching English is one of the easiest ways to get started working abroad, and you can even get well paid for it in some countries.

Check this site for teaching opportunities in various countries:

Who says you even need a paycheck?

Maybe all you need is a comfortable place to sleep and a few good meals each day.

Well, there are plenty of employers who are happy to house and feed you in exchange for some solid labor.

The classic example of this is WWOOFing.

  • WWOOF = World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms

Basically, you go work on an organic farm and they provide you with room and board.

Sophie McGovern wrote a great piece about WWOOFing on Nomadic Matt’s blog:

Over our two-month stay, we spent zero on food and accommodation in a region of Italy where it otherwise costs backpackers at least 18 euros a night for a hostel and 15 euros a day for food. Over our two-month stay, that meant a total savings of at least two thousand euros.

For more information on WWOOFing and see where you can do it, check these sites:

And keep an eye out for a farm with big chickens. Heaps of fun.

Man On Chicken – I Hate My Job

For the uninitiated, passive income is “income received on a regular basis, with little effort required to maintain it.” 49

As opposed to “active income,” or trading time for money, with passive income you can make money even while you sleep.

Sounds great, right?

Some examples of passive income:

  • Rental income from owning and renting property 50
  • Profit or dividends earned from investments 51
  • Royalties earned from book sales
  • Profit earned from an automated or outsourced business
    Subletting a spare room or apartment via Airbnb 52

The key thing to remember with passive income though is that it usually requires a TON of work upfront before you see any kind of significant return.

Before you get too excited about the prospect, I highly recommend you take five minutes to read this article:

If you’re still eager to learn more after that, there’s no better place to get started than this passive income primer from Pat Flynn.

I’m not advocating becoming a freeloader here, but if you have a legit limitation or disability that hinders you from finding a regular job and making a living via the other methods listed in this article, then consider taking advantage of social welfare.

That’s what it’s there for!

Just make sure you don’t go too far and turn into this dude:

Working for yourself can take many forms.

All of these examples count:

  • Uber driver
  • Babysitter
  • Dog walker
  • Owner of an international corporation
  • Party clown
  • Assassin for hire

If you’re going to work for yourself however, I’d recommend starting an online business, which will give you the freedom to work from anywhere in the world and whenever you choose.

🕑 Recap

Hey, congrats!

You’ve reached the end of what might possibly be the longest article on the internet.

High Five – I hate my job

Hopefully you found the above content useful and it helps you find a more fulfilling job.

Because it pains me to see so many people in the world working jobs they hate, and I believe such a fate is completely unnecessary for many of us in this day and age.

I’ve given you tons of examples above of people who have escaped crappy jobs and found amazing alternatives.

Now it’s your turn.

Keep this in mind as you move forward:

You know all those cool people with awesome jobs that I mentioned in this article? Many of them were once in your exact situation. And they don’t have anything you don’t have or that you can’t learn.

They did it, and you can, too.

Before You Go

I’d love if you could do the following:

  • Decide what action (or actions) you are going to take as a result of reading this article. If you don’t make a plan, nothing in your life will change, so please commit to doing at least one thing that will move you forward.
  • Jump down to the comments and share your action item(s). Putting it in writing will make it more real and sharing it publicly gives you some accountability.
  • If you found this article helpful, please take a moment to share it with a friend or on social media. That would mean a lot to me. You’ll see some handy buttons below to make sharing easier.

That’s it!

Keep in touch and let me know how everything goes for you.

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  1. Have read your article, am working in a big company in the Legal department though I love my field I hate my job i have an intense urge to practice law as have previously done so however due to my parents and society am every day going to work which I hate. I love law however here at the company it is only concerned with finance. Am a dyslexic I do not fit into such a big company.

  2. I needed this article… I graduted from English major and worked 5 years in 3 different companies in different fields, within these 5 years I obtained my MBA with a focus in finance, I was intrested in that and was looking for a job in equity investment.

    I finally found one 4 months ago, but the work place is making me miserable. I love the career and would love to continue in that path, but I just can’t handle the place. I was shocked when I joined that they have clocking in-out system, never had that in my previous 3 jobs and they didn’t specify it in the interview. They are focused on the minute and even though they like my work, the HR have a big say in your appraisal. I never felt such a demotivation in my life even though it’s the career that I want!

    I want to quit eagerly, but as you mentioned shame from family and friends plays a big role, when I tell them my desire they try to stop me due to the big risk and current market conditions. I also thought about me being negative, finding a flaw in every job (first 3 career path then rules). But I can’t just continue my misery and blame myself for it.

    I knew my earnings will be much less than my previous job but didn’t care since I wanted a change in my career. So other than the career path, they are not providing me with anything special.

    I hope I get the courage to quit! I am pursuing a certain certification that hopefully will help me in the future.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Samo. That sounds like a miserable place to work. I thought clocking in and out died back in the 20th century :-/

      What is the new certification that you’re pursuing?

  3. 1 vote for government benefits and cash under the table from odd jobs here! I only take jobs that pay cash, work when I want. If the government is going to allow massive illegal immigration and pay benefits: don’t hate them, join them!

    Life couldn’t be better.

  4. I semi-escaped the ‘rat race’ a while ago, but am not where I want to be just yet. I recently read a book called: “Escape Everything” by Robert Wringham. It has an interesting take on the whole ‘9 to 5’ concept and offers some interesting angles on escape. I loved it. Have you read it Niall?

  5. Doing option #3 while preparing for #4. Giving it a chance to get better but I’m not going to bet on it. Maneuvering my career towards what I want to do while still utilizing what I’ve learned in my career thus far

  6. there are two things: hating your job and hating your career. the second one takes much more courage to fix but the solution is the same: quit your current career and find another one

  7. Exactly what I needed to read right now! I’m in a boring job, spending my days doing tasks for everyone positioned higher than me. It’s not inspiring at all and every day I care less and less about my job. I am exploring some escape possibilities which include photography (not easy to live from that however), travel guiding (taking a course right now, but having doubts whether I’d really want to do this as a job), learning web design (just a recent idea that popped up) and eventually going for dive instructor. That last option appeals to me a lot as you get to work and travel, but than I’d have to leave my boyfriend, whom I live with and who moved to my country to be with me, behind…
    Ah, the dilemma’s…

  8. Yeah I’m in a shit job right now manufacturing alarms and security for big business. I hate going into work every single fucking day, and I absolutely can’t wait for my weekends to start. Really sucks having to go through life like this but I am married with 3 kids that depend on me, that’s what gets me through this shit. Night school sucks, and a degree in biology did sound appealing but now sounds depressing, fuck….. I don’t know what I need to do but something’s gotta change fast!

  9. I am leaving my job in Japan, submitting my three months’ notice this Friday. Effectively, I am breaking contract by 6 months although the agreement is meant to expire the end of September 2014. A part of me is going to face the music, but I have to be free to take up my new visa elsewhere for immigration purposes, and considering the nature of my job which always goes on 4 months’ cycles, if I miss this round, I will lose out on time again the next round which is 4 months later for resigning or leaving. A friend was asking me whether I checked the exit clause, but in Japanese contracts, the clause basically just states that all else (outside of the hours of employment) is subject to negotiation. So I am effectively subject to their mercy. Still, I can no longer take it when I feel consciously that it will only stand in the way of my immigration plans to stay further, and my plans to switch careers.

  10. Hi Naill, I have for the last 13 years works in many country’s as part of my job in the oil and gas industry. The problem is although I enjoy the income it provides and that I have become dependant on I hate leaving my family and home to do a job which absolutely hate for months at a time, infact if I was financially secure I would never leave the uk ever again. The problem is I don’t have the courage to make the lifestyle changes needed to let me quit my job and so seem doomed to carry on with this depressing situation. It gets so bad when I do go home for a break I can’t enjoy it because I know a few weeks down the line I will be having to get back on a plane and back to work. I know only I have the power to rectify this situation but and advise would be very much appreciated

    1. If I were in your shoes I’d start actively looking for alternative employment that keeps you in the UK. Put the feelers out and see what opportunities you find. You never know. There could be an ever better paying job out there waiting for you, one you may enjoy.

  11. Hi, Naill! Was looking thru some of your older videos and found this one. Well, I used to work in a job I hated. I know I am in the right profession, but not the right company. So I used that company’s tuition benefits to make myself more marketable to the company I am currently with. Not sure which option you would place this under. maybe a version of changing things where youn are.

    With my current company, I have the ups and down mentioned above. During the downs, I review with my husband the positive parts of my job, I.e. a nice paycheck, excellent health benefits, and 5 weeks paid vacation (excellent for the U.S.). That is enough to get me through the hard times.

    For now, I have a 5 year plan to stay where I am until my youngest graduates high school. During this time, I am continuing to grow professionally as well as seek out alternatives. I am a nurse. In 5years I will be near 20 years in my profession. Many nurses burn out long before then. Hopefully continuing to find variety at my career will keep me strong. If not, I am preparing myself to start a new career.

    Thanks for the post and video. Helped me to again look at the many things I am grateful to have. My cup overflows!!!!!

  12. Hi Niall your blog is great and has really lifted my spirit. I quit a job last year because i hated it and started a new job in Jan this year which i hate after just four months!! Looks like i am making the same mistake over and over and i feel that i might have actually stop listening to myself. Currently it is a low paying job with high pressure.
    I am going to try option 3 and try to make changes in my current role rather them just quit again.

  13. Great post Niall! life is to short to always wish you were somewhere else! To relate this to the other post about winning to lottery.. I feel that I have won the lottery after quitting my job and working full time with my design business! It is sooo wonderful, to get to work with my passion that is creative work, designing, sketching, drinking tea and thinking about business strategies..I truly love my life like it is right now. All those hours after my daytime job and during the weekends, planning and trying out different business ideas to be able to be independent, I am so thankful to myself to have had the discipline to actually take action, day after day, even if it was something small..constantly moving in the direction of my goal. Thank you for inspiring people to live their best life, it is such an honorable thing to do!!

  14. Niall,

    Great post and video. I’m not in a job I hate, but I’m not in a job I love either and I totally agree with your ethos that you spend most of your waking life working so you may as well enjoy it.

    To that end, I’ve decided I don’t like working in the sector I work in presently, and while I feel fortunate to hold a prominent position in a trade I was trained in, in tricky economic circumstances, I’m working towards and exit.

    I worked hard to get the job I have at the moment, but I’m going to work even harder to get a similar title elsewhere (in the same medium, but a different sector). I like my job but personally, I find it’s morally reprehensible and it’s time to move on, so I can live with myself. There’s more to life than money.

    Thanks for working hard and building your followers confidence, you’re a shining light for us all to follow.

    Geniune love

    Christopher xo

  15. I took option 4 last week after YEARS of being unhappy. I am going freelance once my long notice period is up. In the last few months, I have put a plan in place. I’ve worked out exactly what I need to do in terms of paperwork to set up on my own as well as how much money I will need to pay the bills going forward (I am not a big spender anyway although I do have a small family). But none of this makes me as anxious as going to work used to do.

    If you are taking option 4, before you hand in your notice write down the reasons that you are leaving. I wish I did that because when they came back with a counteroffer I almost took it. Panic set in and I thought to myself that I was making a big mistake, how will we pay the bills, what will my mother say! It didn’t help that my boss said almost the same thing as if there was no other gig in town. Anyway, saneness prevailed and I didn’t accept the counteroffer.

    I was meeting a friend for lunch the other day and was walking through my local town when I felt something very strange. It took me a while to figure it out. I was HAPPY! And still am. And it feels great!

    1. Mona, you legend! Love that comment. Great advice about writing down the reasons for your decision. It can be so easy to backtrack and second-guess ourselves in the heat of the moment.

      Here’s to your continued happiness 🙂

  16. Hi Niall,

    Don’t know if you have ever heard of the Human Design System? It is like a user manual on yourself based on different area’s such as astrology, i-tjing etc.. Here is a link to learn more if you are interested. http://www.humandesign-uk.com/analysts/analysts.html

    I myself have had a reading and it turns out, doing nothing, is the right strategy for me as a manifesting generator. I have always been the one to say that if you don’t like something, do something about it. Now I’m not so sure anymore, because in the past, the active “doing”, hasn’t brought the right thing for me either.

    It is a general belief in society that you must take action if you are not happy with where you are at. As you say so yourself in your post you’re then thought of as a coward if you don’t. I have tried the strategy of “doing” numerous times and it hasn’t been succesfull for me.

    After the reading I understood why. Now I try to train myself in being relaxed but also alert to make sure I don’t miss out on any chances passing by. It doesn’t mean I do totally nothing. I am still working and I do the things I like to do. But not with the intention of getting a result out of it.

    This is very hard for me to do, because I’m used to doing it the way you describe in your post. Complicating factor is that I got stuck with an illness as well, making it all a little bit more difficult to do just anything.

    I guess I just have to be patient and trust that it all will be ok.

    Good luck to you on your journey!

  17. I read this post yesterday after my worst day at work in a long time. It was exactly what I needed to read so thanks for that. I’m going all out for option 4 and feel excited just thinking about my escape plan 🙂

  18. I quit my previous job when i got to a point where i didn’t want to get up from my bed and go to the office. Now i work more hours and earn less money but i am much more happier and productive. Peace of mind is priceless and few euros more does not worth sacrificing it.

    1. Absolutely, man. Any extra payment is just not worth it. I’m having a blast this year while spending less than half of what I earned in 2010, and working a lot more as well!

      Thanks for the comment!

  19. I know a lot of people who can relate to this post. Lucky for me though, my previous employers were nice to me and i really loved my job. Travel took over that’s why i decided to quit my day job. It’s easy to stay safe, but if you end up hating your job, it won’t do you good emotionally and mentally. Will share this one. Thanks for the insights!

  20. Niall Maxwell hit the nail square on the head. I worked for years at different jobs I didn’t like, trying with all my might to have the American Dream. But all I ended up with were divorces and debt. When I got laid off from my last job, I was burnt out with the whole thing. After some time staying with my sister, I finally got my courage up to do something I had always wanted to do. Hitchhike and see the country.

    If you think that you get a lot of grief over a decision like that when your in your twenties, try it at age 51. I heard every horror story and excuse for this being an insane idea. I was running away from life’s responsibilities, etc. But as far as I can make out, it wasn’t life that was placing these unnatural burdens upon me, but my idea of what others and society considered correct. They were wrong. I am so much more content with my lot. As i sold off or gave away a lifetimes worth of self (possessions) I became happier and more at ease. Just the opposite of what you would think should be the case.

    It took a lot of courage. But life showed me that it was my friend, and it saw to it that I was taken care of on the road. I will not go back to that other way of living, for no amount of money. I am saving for my round the world travel adventure. I will not need a fortune. Life is good, and it is my friend. I will be okay. I have found new friends on the road and on the Internet such as you, oh happy man ND.

    My wish is that we will cross paths on the road of our destinies, share a cold beer and good conversation. What more can one ask for in this life?


    1. Michael, that’s absolutely beautiful. I can only imagine the courage required to make a change like that at 51. You’re an inspiration, Sir. Please do keep in touch. I’d be delighted to meet you on the road and buy you a cold one.

  21. Christina Marvel

    I’m currently doing #4 and #5. I totally agree with you about #4, by the way. I think there is this problem people get into by seeing the negative in a situation (like a job). Quitting and going to a new one doesn’t necessarily change those problems. Often the main issues in having a crap job originate with our own attitudes. I noticed that when I took a more proactive approach to my job and my life, I enjoyed it more and I had much less conflicts. I still use the off time to plan going into business for myself and I’m now steadily workingto that goal…but I know I won’t get there unless I take a positve point of view.

    It’s kind of like that new age saying “Change your mind and change your world”

    BTW, I love that you stopped to video tape the cat!! I was sitting on the bus this morning watching your video and just laughing about it….laughed so hard it started a conversation with someone next to me about blogging and living a life well lived.


    1. Don’t you just love friendly cats? I’m more of a dog person, but I love cats who dig a good rub, like the one in the video. Pretty cool too that that little incident got you talking with a stranger 🙂

      Oh, and way to be proactive with the job stuff, Christina. Thanks for the comment!

  22. Having just been made redundant, this post is really well timed 🙂

    Well written and I think you have it down perfectly with the options Niall. Going to put all of my time and energy into full time composition now – looking forward to it a lot!


    1. No doubt that you’ll be a rockstar with the composition stuff, Emmertt. You’ve set yourself up nicely and you’re in a much better position than all your former colleagues who were counting on that single source of income.


  23. Great post, Niall.

    Societal pressure plays a huge role in the jobs we have,the world has seemed to do a very good job of convincing us that having a flash car in the driveway and a luxury house as being the modern definition of success.

    Through out our whole lives we are conditioned and brain washed into believing we can have that celebrity lifestyle we,at this stage are subjected to involuntary be means of media and advertising.

    We are brought up with the demand that we must have respectable jobs such as doctors and lawyers but shamed if we are to say we wish to be an artist,a writer or a musician.

    This ties in closely with your previous post.

    There is a carefully constructed trap in today’s world that explicitly plays off our vulnerably and desires to be socially accepted. This incorporates selling us the idea that I mentioned before that someday we too can have the homes,the clothes,the cars etc that we see portrayed in the media. This ruthless conditioning feeds off our deepest needs to feel like we are worth something,that we are important,special,like we belong.

    In most cases the only way people can afford this lifestyle is to achieve it through debt in the shape of huge mortgages,personal loans,credit cards and cars on hire purchase. What this does is imprison people into the mind set that now we have to work,we have to keep on working those jobs we hate just to pay our bills effectively rendering us modern day slaves to corporatocracy.

    Thankfully a lot are waking up to this truth but sadly not enough….

    Travel I found to be a massively awaking experience,especially in third world countries you see many many people who commonly live on less than $2 a day live simple lives but happy ones.

    Although they many not have very much in the realm of personal possessions and assets,what they do have is of so much more value. Im talking about that deep sense of community,content and gratitude that all the mastercards in the world couldn’t buy. That in my opinion is what I consider true wealth.

    Travel also teaches us just how much stuff we can live without and still be very happy. I think a lot of people fear that loss of security and familiarity so they stick with the jobs they hate and passify themselves with excuses not to make a change in their lives.

    The above things are in essence easier said than done,this is where we learn to be courageous.

    In today’s economic environment a lot will just say “well a jobs a job” and that’s acceptable to a certain degree especially if you have those in your life that are financially dependant on you. But that shouldnt be the be all and end all and provide you with an excuse to just submit to unfulfilment and depression. Instead look at ways you can invest your spare time and resources into a greater goal,may that be of self employment or a new career?

    Times of hardship can really show us our true colours and really provide us with priceless opportunities to grow and develop. Sometimes a disruption in the rabblement of a societal system we have been forced to accept can inspire us to invision one we wish for.

    Do not fear the unknown but rather embrace it.


    1. Love it, Niall. Cheers for sharing. That last bit really is the key, isn’t it? If you can learn to roll with uncertainty, the world is your oyster, never afraid to shake things up and try something new. As you noted, travel definitely helps with that.

  24. Esther van der Wal

    My boyfriend is in this position, and has been for a long time. We’ve had many conversations on change, motivation, finding a new job, freelancing, financial security, self-confidence and so forth, but not much is changing. His thought cycle goes a bit like this: “to search for another job, you have to know what it is you want to do instead, otherwise you’ll search for anything, anywhere. And I don’t know what I want to do yet, so I can’t search for another job until I find out.” It drives me crazy. I know it’s hard to take risks and quit, but moving upwards (i.e. finding a job that’s slightly better) would still give him financial security and a little more happiness. I’ve started to think it’s better if he’d go with your option 3 and improve things from the inside, since the likelihood of quitting remains very low.

    In other words, timely post. Quitting takes courage and confidence that many of us lack. But there needs to be some kind of change, even if it’s small, to carve a road towards improvement if you hate your job. I hated my job, quit and started my own company and I’d never want to go back to where I came from!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Esther. I think the biggest thing for some people is the uncertainty of change. At least when you’re working a job that you hate you pretty much know what to expect every day. Jumping ship or trying to instigate change from within means pushing out of your comfort zone. Can be quite scary.

      For me though, it’s absolutely worth it. Jumping into the unknown always seems to work out pretty well for me, or at least somehow leave me better off than I was previously.

  25. One of my BIGGEST pet peeves is hearing people say, ‘UGH is it Friday, yet?’

    My response is always, ‘Stop wishing your life away. When you’re on your deathbed I doubt you’ll be wishing to fast-forward.’

    They hate it. They hate it because I have clearly illustrated what they’ve been trying to ignore – they are wasting their lives.

    It’s also true that I hate my job. I’ve known this for a while and I’ve been building myself a vehicle to make an exit but at this point I still have to go into that damned office every day. For a while I thought that changing jobs would be better – but you’re right – changing jobs will only *seem better* for a short time until I realize that another job isn’t what I want.

    So for now I will keep the daily grind – fortunately I’m pretty good at the job so I can do a lot of networking and writing while I’m at my desk – and here’s hoping for liberation some time soon!

    1. Keep working at it, Tim. It’s great that you see the opportunities within your current job (networking, time to write, etc.). I’ve had jobs in the past that I really didn’t take advantage of.

      Be careful not to sit back and hope too much for liberation though. Nothing like a deadline to help that happen 🙂

  26. Hey Niall! So a couple weeks ago I decided to tell work that I will be taking a cut in hours, in order to allow more time for other projects. What happens today…they offer me Full time, with pay increase…doing something more stressful than I’m already doing now. I politely declined. My mom was kinda pissed, but she will get over it. I am happy I could say no.

    1. Rock on, Justine. Waaaaaay too many people would have taken that offer, even if they knew it would make them miserable. Wishing you all the best with your other projects. Let me know if I can help in any way.

  27. Niall, tomorrow I will be posting a nice little article addressing what I am doing to unchain myself from a job I won’t be staying at long-term. In the meantime, I’ve told my boss I’m burned out and that I will be taking a month off in January to backpack through Guatemala. I haven’t set a deadline for my job departure just yet, but I feel the way I’m conducting myself is the most responsible and logical way to start a new life. I never want to work for anyone else ever again!

      1. awesome article, I found myself laughing because it sounds like me. I hope I can eventually find something I enjoy. Thanks for sharing great advice.

  28. I once had a job I really dislike and I swear I did everything to make it all better. I’m a positive guy so seeing that it really isn’t suited for me, I reviewed my contract and then decided to resign. It was one of the best decisions I made.

  29. I made the jump from corporate to non-profit about two years ago, and have never been happier, despite the big pay cut. I didn’t hate my corporate job, but it just didn’t feel right to me anymore. My passions were elsewhere, which is now what I am involved in every day. I still have work stress, but I have no regrets– I am deeply committed to the organization I work for now.

    There is a very practical book I strongly recommend to those contemplating a change- it’s called Escape From Corporate America, by Pamela Skillings. And yes, I think her approach would be helpful to those on the other side of the Pond too 🙂

  30. I fully support options 3 & 4, and I write a lot about making the most of the job you have on my blog. So much of how I experience my life depends upon my attitude and I choose to make the best of what I have.

    While I do want everyone to have a job they love, I also know that no job is perfect and even in my favorite jobs I’ve had periods of major stress and dissatisfaction.

    The perfect job doesn’t exist, and so I’m generally content to make the most of the job I have while taking positive steps to pursue the career of my dreams. I am also aware that even the career of my dreams will come with ups and downs, so continuing to exercise the right attitude is a must in my happiness.

    I wrote about this topic specifically here: “It’s your career- love what you do!” http://www.liveandlovework.com/2011/07/29/its-your-career-love-what-you-do/

    1. Thanks so much for the comment, Chrysta, and for your great advice in that article.

      “While I do want everyone to have a job they love, I also know that no job is perfect and even in my favorite jobs I’ve had periods of major stress and dissatisfaction.”

      I agree with that completely. I’m much happier working for myself these days, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I’m reminded of something Danielle LaPorte said at the World Domination Summit: “Too many newly self-employed people are under the mistaken impression that they should only be doing work that they love.”

      That’s exactly why I urge people to work on themselves before jumping ship. If your work ethic sucks right now, a new job isn’t going to magically fix it.


  31. I can’t say I hate my job ) but I don’t like to work at all. I would definitely prefer be a princess and spend all my time in charity and hobbies ) however I like my hobbies, and I definitely don’t want to make them my profession ) and for my hobbies I need money ) and to have money – I have to work! Or take money from my spouse, but I’m sure it’s not the best idea. Money is freedom ) and unfortunately we have to pay for everything in our life. Work – is not so much for freedom )

    I always have the same situation – I don’t like to work, but I like people, results, salary, holidays (yes, because if you have holidays all year round you don’t feel them) .

    I’m expert. I like what I do ) I’m good in it. I don’t like to do it on regular basis.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Tatiana. I’m glad you like your job.

      And yes, I agree that when you work for yourself you never really have holidays. But the flip side is that you never feel like you’re trapped either. I’m working longer and harder now that I ever did as an employee, but with it comes unprecedented feelings of fulfillment and empowerment. It’s a trade off I’m happy to make 🙂

      Also, I get that you’d be wary about making money from your hobbies, but to me that’s better than working at something your not passionate about just to make ends meet. I’m learning that I can love what I do and make good money from it at the same time. It’s taking a while for me to get there, but getting there I am 🙂

      1. I can’t say I like it… Sometimes yes, but sometimes hate ) I mean, it happens, when you hate not your job, just to work! Because you re lazy ) for example, as I am!

        Sometimes it’s easier to motivate yourself, cause if I don’t like to work, so I won’t be able to start my own business )

        But it’s wonderful you re so hardworking! Sure your business will work very very good ) good luck again!

  32. I can honestly say that I hate my job. It was better back when I started and I was working in the role I applied for: development. But my current project is past the development phase, so it’s all meetings, playing hide-and-seek with data, and explaining to business partners why their idea sucks. The project is nearly over and I’ll be back in development again, but the cycle will then repeat itself. And again. And again.

    But, I have an escape plan.

    Niall, I know you’ve read parts of my blog, so you know I’m learning Japanese. I was already planning to move to Japan and teach English, but was going to wait for two more years so I could see my two siblings graduate high school. After talking with them, I’m aiming for getting to Japan when they start the new school year in April. I have to move fast to be qualified and get hired, but I want it very badly and am willing to put in the time and effort. I eventually want to open up my own English school in Japan.

    Will I make it? Time will tell. But this is the first time in a LONG time that I’ve felt this much motivation.

    1. Love it, Matt. I’m pretty sure you’ll make it. Sounds like you’re willing to take all the necessary action, as evidenced by your fast progress learning Japanese. Really looking forward to following along and seeing you reach your goal. Let me know if I can help in any way.