How to stick to a job that sucks and still enjoy it

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a job they love. Many of us have been through that period of disillusionment and frustration mixed with disappointment when we compare where we imagined we would be at 25, to where we are at now.

We also know how annoying it is to be asked, “If you really hate your job, why don’t you just leave?”

Whatever your reasons for staying in a job you despise, there are survival tips you can put to use to help you get through the end of each excruciating day.

1. Think long and hard, without forgetting to engage yourself with your work

The root of the problem: The problem starts when you leave the “thinking” for later. The more you do this, the greater the tendency to be indifferent about your job in general – your performance at work, your boss’s displeasure at you, etc. The next thing you know, it’s 10 years later and you’re asking what went wrong.

What you should do: Be woman enough to confront your situation, no matter how difficult it might be for you to think of the frustrations and fears and disappointment it brings.

Ask yourself from time to time: Why am I here? What are my priorities for now? What are my goals? Remind yourself of the reasons why you accepted the job in the first place, and keep yourself engaged with your work while researching other options at the same time.

Never procrastinate or pressure yourself too much as both would only do more harm than good.

How this helps: The logical first move to find your way out of the problem is to analyse the situation well. Ask why you hate your job; is it because of a horrible boss, your coworkers, or the boring, repetitive things you are required to do? Remember, different circumstances call for different courses of action.

2. Learn to plan and budget long-term

The root of the problem: When you do not plan for the future, the tendency is to go blindly with the flow until it is too late for you to shift to the options you actually prefer.

What you should do: Plan your course of action for the next months and years according to your goals. Jot it down in a notebook, planner, or checklist and look at regularly.

For instance, if you are staying in your sucky job to save enough money to study again, research and compute how much you will need to cover your tuition as well as your daily expenses, and how long you will need to stay in your job to achieve these goals. Then budget every month’s earnings.

Watch your spending. If you are one of those who shops as a hobby, break the habit or, at least, follow a strict budget that you planned beforehand.

You may also use a daily planner to keep your day-to-day goals organised and to keep yourself from slacking off; set small goals you can achieve in a day like finishing the paperwork you hate doing. Then reward yourself a little for accomplishing those arduous tasks.

How this helps: The important thing is to always have a goal in mind. When you have goals, especially goals broken down into small ones which you can finish daily, you can keep motivated. This serves as a reminder that you have a reason for being there.

Other than that, budgeting can significantly affect your future actions; saving up part of your monthly earnings can better prepare you for a sudden change of plans or a change of career direction.

3. Engage yourself in good deeds as another source of happiness

The root of the problem and how this helps: When all you do and think about is work, everything from your career to your relationships will go downhill. That is why freeing yourself from the stress and pressure of your job is essential to surviving a job you hate.

Giving yourself enough space and time for other things you actually enjoy will inevitably affect not only your career but more importantly, your life. Such acts can fill the gaps for empowerment and motivation that your job lacks.

What you should do: Do not beat yourself up too much for being in a horrible job. Focus on your goals and the positive outcomes of being in that job rather than the things you hate about it.

Other than that, look for ways to relax and keep negativity off your mind. One of the best ways is to get a hobby you enjoy that doesn’t disrupt your budget too much.

For example, you can try meditating, reading books, colouring books, or painting. Learn to be grateful for the other things and people in your life that are positive, and learn to show how thankful you are.

These things don’t involve spending money – just your time and attention. Invite a friend over for coffee or visit your parents over the weekend.

If you are one of those workers who curse every Monday morning, cringe at the thought of overtime, and give sighs of relief as Friday ends, always bear in mind that you are not the only one suffering the same fate.

Many have gone through the same thing at some point but eventually got over it and went on to better, if not great things.

So hang in there – just because your job sucks does not mean your whole life has to too.

This article first appeared in

The New Savvy is Asia’s leading financial, investments and career platform for women. Our bold vision is to empower 100 million women to achieve financial happiness. We deliver high-quality content through conferences, e-learning platforms, personal finance apps and e-commerce stores.