10 ways to take control of your life when you hate your job

We spend about a third of our lives hustling at work, right? That’s a huge chunk of our time!

So, it’s pretty darn important that we at least somewhat like what we’re doing.

But what if your job starts feeling more like a prison sentence than a career?

Worse, it feels like you’re stuck in a rut, and every morning is a struggle to get out of bed and face the day.

I get it, not all of us can just drop the mic and quit – there are bills to pay and maybe you haven’t found that dream gig just yet.

But here’s the good news, you don’t have to feel chained to your job, and there are ways to feel more in control of your life, even when your work’s got you feeling down:

1) Pause and Reflect About Your Job

Okay, this may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s something a lot of us skip. We’re so wrapped up in our job blues that we forget to actually figure out what’s making us so miserable.

Before you make any hasty moves, take time to pause and reflect and give your job a good once-over.

What are the parts that you actually like about your job? What parts make you want to pull your hair out?

Doing this might help you spot the silver linings in your job, and also let you tackle the parts that you’re not so fond of.

I know, this whole “self-reflection” thing might not seem like a real action step, but trust me, it’s a great starting point to get your life back on track.

2) Befriend One of Your Coworkers

Creating bonds with colleagues gives you a chance to find someone who gets it – someone you can vent with, joke with, and let’s be real, maybe even gossip with.

A lot of the work blues come from feeling like you’re on a desert island, with no one who understands what you’re going through.

But when you find a work buddy, things can lighten up. Suddenly, you’ve got a partner in crime to navigate the office challenges together.

Building genuine friendships at work can actually turn your job from a drag to something you look forward to – because hey, you get to hang out with your friend!

Try inviting a colleague out for lunch one day, or if they’re having a tough time, bring them their favorite coffee and donuts. It’s a great ice-breaker and a start to those real conversations.

3) Vent to Someone Trustworthy About Your Worries

You know those friends you dish out all your deep, dark secrets to? The ones who’ve seen you at your most embarrassing?

Well, they’re the perfect folks to moan to about your job woes.

Sometimes, just getting it all off your chest can feel like a tonne of bricks lifted.

Sure, it might start as a rant-fest, but it’s a great way to let off some steam, especially when you’re not feeling your job.

Chatting to close friends and family can help, but you might find it useful to seek out a therapist or coach. They can offer professional advice that might be a game-changer.

Just one word of caution here – be careful about venting in public spaces, like social media.

You don’t want a rant to come back and bite you if your boss or future employers stumble upon it.

4) Change Your Perspective About Your Job

Alright, your job might feel like a never-ending treadmill run, but I promise, it’s not all sweat and exhaustion.

Now, before you groan at yet another “keep your chin up” speech, give me a sec. It really comes down to where you’re pointing your flashlight.

When your job feels like a drag, it’s way too easy to start seeing everything else through grumpy glasses too.

And honestly, that’s a bummer for everyone involved.

So, instead of treating your job like a clock-watching marathon, hunt down the parts you actually enjoy.

Maybe it’s the water cooler banter with coworkers, getting in the zone with certain tasks, or getting to know all sorts of folks.

Look at each day on the job as a fresh chance to crush new challenges and polish up different skills.

Remember the golden rule – where attention goes, energy flows. So, why not shine the spotlight on the job’s bright spots rather than letting it suck the joy out of your day?

5) Talk Things Out With Your Boss About the Job

Once you’ve nailed down why your job is giving you the blues, it’s time for the big step – having a no-holds-barred chat with the one person who can help shake things up: your boss.

Feeling swamped by your workload or feeling short-changed with your pay? Are your teammates picking up the slack, or are you the one stuck picking up the pieces?

No matter what’s got your work vibe in a twist, the best person to hash it out with is your boss, because let’s face it, they’re the ones who can actually make a difference.

Sure, starting the convo might feel as fun as a root canal, but it can be a total game changer.

Your boss is there to guide, support, and cheer you on, but they’re not mind-readers. If you’re struggling with something, you’ve got to let them in on it.

Many bosses would be more than willing to switch things up if it means keeping their star players happy and the office humming along nicely.

6) Upskill and Learn Something New

If your job’s a downer but you’re eyeing bigger and better things in the future, then it’s time to level up and pick up some shiny new skills for your resume.

Aim for a diverse toolbox of skills to make sure you stand out when you finally decide to jump ship and embrace new adventures.

For instance, LinkedIn’s got a whole buffet of courses you can add straight to your profile.

There are loads of schools offering online courses and workshops too, where you can learn at your own pace, in your own time.

Don’t forget to check out any free training your company might offer. You could even pitch some training ideas to your boss – it’s a win-win, helping everyone in the office work smarter.

7) Relax and Pamper Yourself After Work

Working a job that’s about as much fun as a dentist visit can really mess with your zen and leave you feeling like a hamster in a wheel.

It’s way too easy to forget to look after numero uno when you’re drowning in work and stress.

But, taking care of yourself isn’t just important, it’s crucial. It’s like the airplane safety rule – put on your own mask before helping others.

Remember to carve out some ‘me time’ after work, even if it’s just an hour or two once you clock out.

It could be as simple as diving into your favorite takeout or savoring a glass of your go-to wine. Little joys like these can work wonders after a tough day at the grindstone.

I’m all about treating myself to a spa day every few weeks.

All that desk work can leave me feeling like I’ve done ten rounds with a wrestler, so a monthly massage helps me shake off some of that tension.

It’s a win-win, because I feel more chilled out and don’t need as many work breaks.

8) Reduce Your Working Hours and Set Boundaries

Clocking up crazy hours and tackling a never-ending to-do list can turn even the coolest job into a nightmare.

It’s also a one-way ticket to Burnoutsville, even if you’ve only been with the company for a hot minute.

It might feel like a long shot, but how about chatting with your boss about shaving some hours off your workday?

It could be the ticket to more time, less exhaustion, and keeping your job.

Who knows, it might even ramp up your productivity, giving you more time to zero in on the important stuff.

Of course, cutting back hours isn’t an option for everyone. If that’s you, it’s time to put up some fences between your work and personal life.

Don’t be a yes-man if your plate’s already overflowing, or if you know you won’t be able to wrap it all up by day’s end.

Try to leave work at work and knock out your tasks during office hours. That way, home can be your sanctuary, not an extension of your office.

9) Try a New Hobby to Release Your Stress

Inject some fun into your life with new activities outside of work.

Learning cool stuff and mastering new skills can make work worries evaporate, letting you chill out once you’ve clocked out.

Plus, hobbies give you something to get pumped about when the workday or week wraps up.

Besides being an instant stress buster, hobbies can also sharpen skills that could come in handy at work or in future gigs.

They show bosses that you’re a well-rounded person. Hobbies keep you chilled and happy outside work, which can transform you into a productive pro who actually digs their job.

Over the years, I’ve dipped my toes into all sorts of hobbies to unwind – from knitting and baking to brewing the perfect cup of joe and whipping up new recipes.

While I haven’t found one that’s stuck around for the long haul, each new hobby has given me some much-needed downtime and a ton of fun outside work.

10) Take a Short Vacation and Get Away From the City

If you’re busting your hump at work, don’t forget about that little gem called vacation time.

Even superstar employees need a break from the hustle and bustle of the office every now and then.

Do yourself a solid and take a mini vacation, either solo or with your favorite people. Come back to the grindstone feeling all refreshed and raring to go.

Vacations don’t have to mean blowing your savings on a fancy trip to the tropics.

It could be as simple as a three-day jaunt to the countryside, or a weekend spent camping under the stars.

The goal is to go off the radar, so you can properly unwind.

Taking a breather from work can also give you some headspace to think things through.

Like how you’re going to chat with your boss about your wor k worries, or what you can do to make the daily grind a tad more tolerable.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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