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Hate your job? 10 ways to cope

By Kate Lorenz

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Having a job you hate is never easy to deal with, but sometimes you need to just grin and bear it until a good opportunity comes along. Whether you're stuck because you have to pay the bills or are holding out for that next great job, here are some things to do to help you get through the day.

1. Set weekly goals: Sometimes it is easier to get through the day when you can keep your eye on the prize. If you hate your current job, there is something out there that will make you happy. Make weekly goals to help you find that golden opportunity. One week you might send out five résumés or attend one networking event. Setting these goals will keep you motivated.

2. Do one thing each day to help you reach your goals: You don't need to cross all your goals off your list every day, but you can chip away. When you get up in the morning, set a daily objective and make sure you achieve it. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and keep you feeling good about your progress.

3. Give yourself "me time" before work: Going into a situation you hate will be worsened if you get to the office feeling rushed, stressed and frazzled. Set aside some moments of solitude each morning. Develop a positive morning ritual. Treat yourself to a latte, get up early enough to read the paper or just set your alarm to play upbeat music when you wake up. Improving your mornings can do wonders for your afternoons.

4. Create a diversion for yourself in the office: Does being in the office make you yearn for the outdoors? Are the incessant ringing phones driving you batty? Do something to brighten your mood at work. Use a tropical picture as your screen saver. Buy yourself a joke of the day desk calendar. Plug headphones into your computer or bring your iPod to work. Go out for lunch.

5. Develop your skills: Hating your job doesn't mean you can't learn new skills. Use your time to make yourself a better candidate down the road. If your company offers training courses, take advantage of them. Use downtime to learn something new on your computer. Pick up a management development book and read it at lunch. Turn this job into an opportunity for improvement.

6. Blow off steam: Most people have an activity that helps them unwind and get rid of tension. Go for a run after work, go swimming on your lunch hour, take a nice long walk. Put this time on your schedule so you will have something to look forward to each day.

7. Treat yourself: To make up for your office misery, find little ways of treating yourself. Buy a good book. Treat yourself to ice cream. Buy some flowers. Shop for an interview suit. Plan your next vacation. Find out what makes you feel better inside, no matter what is going on outside.

8. Maintain your performance: It is important to continue to do your work and do it well, regardless of your current situation. Set performance goals. Then use the accomplishments in future interviews.

9. Keep your bridges intact: It really is a small world, and you never know when you will run into co-workers from your past. Don't burn any bridges at your company because you are unhappy. Maintain your contacts and keep your relationships positive. You might just need a reference or a good word from one of your colleagues in the future.

10. Realize that this, too, shall pass: Right now it might seem as if you will be stuck in this job forever. Keep your chin up and remind yourself that you are in charge of your destiny. Search internal postings for new positions. Start your search for a new job externally.

Kate Lorenz is the article and advice editor for She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

© Copyright 2005. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority
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