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What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Cannot Afford to Quit

by William Henderson

Your boss notes when you come in even five minutes late while your co-workers come and go as they please. You dread going to work and even have nightmares about being stuck there, hour after hour, performing tasks you once thought you’d love doing. You can take steps to help make your workday better, even if your bank balance makes clear that walking in one day and telling your boss to shove it isn’t an option.

Review Your Reasons

Make a list of the reasons you hate your job. Be honest with yourself. Do you hate it because you earn less than you think you should? Is your commute killing you? Does your supervisor skimp on the praise? Write down everything, and then do the same for the aspects of your job you like. Hating the work itself is a much different problem than not getting along with your boss.

Change What You Can

No one will prioritize you and your happiness like you will. Take control of the situation and change what you can. If one of the reasons you hate your job is you no longer feel challenged, ask for more responsibilities or look at in-house job opportunities for which you may be qualified. If you haven’t talked to your supervisor about your feelings, set up a time to do so. Don’t go in with a laundry list of problems. Instead, discuss the primary reasons you're unhappy with your job and ways that she or the company can help address the situation.

Gain Experience and Skills

Consider how you can learn new skills while employed, even if at a job you despise, Cathy Goodwin, a career consultant, told "The New York Times." Take advantage of any education benefits your employer offers, such as reimbursing you for taking career- or industry-related classes. When you can afford to quit, you’ll be that much more attractive to a prospective employer.

Research Other Jobs

Regardless of how many zeroes you have in your bank account, research other employment opportunities before giving notice. Having a job, even one you hate, gives you a leg up in a competitive job market, according to "Forbes." Line up solid leads or even a new job before bidding adieu to your nightmare job. Even if your research turns up no solid leads, at least you're taking control of the situation and beginning the process of becoming unstuck.

Review Your Finances

Financial guru Suze Orman, in her book “The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke,” recommends that you create a “cash cushion” before quitting a job you hate. Cut back on extras, such as eating out or weekends away. Saving money now can help you alleviate unnecessary financial stress later. She also recommends that you consider going back to school or taking a job that pays you less, especially if you think your work is killing you. Barrie Davenport, a life coach, also suggests preparing yourself financially in advance of quitting, such as by paying off debt. She also recommends saving enough money that you can get by for between six and 12 months without additional income.

About the Author

William Henderson has been writing for newspapers, magazines and journals for more than 15 years. He served as editor of the "New England Blade" and is a former contributor to "The Advocate." His work has also appeared on The Good Men Project, Life By Me and The Huffington Post.

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