Do you ask the question, ‘help me, I hate my job?’

Do you ask the question, ‘help me, I hate my job?’ I’m hearing it more and more, but it’s not always easy to get a new job.


 Why do you hate your job?

It’s a rare person who hates their job from day 1, we start a new job with high hopes. We want to tell other people that we love our job. Let’s face it, when you say ‘I hate my job’ people will wonder why you don’t do something about it.


So let’s see what we can do.

The first area to address is what is it specifically that makes you say I hate my job?

Is it a general feeling that there is something better out there, has something just happened or do you now realise you made a terrible mistake and that’s why you are telling people you hate your job?

A job can be a bit like a long term relationship (which it is!) we start off only seeing the best, it is fun and exciting, and we keep telling others of our wonderful new boy/girl friend but as time moves on we spot the flaws, and things begin to irritate us.

Peter told me I hate my job and for him it was the long travel to work distance, yes he should have realised that 50+ miles each way would take its toll but he had started work in May and all through the summer and autumn the journey was fine, but as bad weather set in he regularly hit delays.

>> He could have seen this coming, and we spoke that next time to think about the journey to work at all times of the year.

Nicola was doing fine but it was a new boss that led her to say I hate my job. She had a great relationship with her previous boss who gave her freedom to work in her way, including working from home a couple of days a week. Her new boss was micro managing and insisted Nicola was in the office each day.

>> We discussed arranging a meeting with her boss to talk about her objectives and her preferred way of working.  She would need to start the conversation by showing how she is eager to help her new boss to meet her objectives and to show appreciation for how a new manager needs to make sure she understands how her staff work, then to work for what she wants.

Oliver got bullied into taking on a job by his father, no wonder he said I hate my job. Soon out of university he hadn’t got a job and was told he had to join the family business. This was never a job he wanted, and said I hate my job from day 1.

 >> Oliver had taken the Highlands Ability Battery and I could see it was the wrong job for him, calling on abilities he didn’t have. We needed to create an escape plan.

Finally Tina had worked her way to a senior level with her company and was very well paid. But she felt trapped. Her salary gave her a comfortable lifestyle but she was trapped, how can I move from knowing that I hate my job when I’m unlikely to keep this salary in a different job.

>> We addressed the ‘I hate my job’ question, by being specific on what she did hate and how she could deal with each particular element. What she wanted was a more creative job and she identified taking art classes. She arranged to work from home one day a week but actually took a class at the local college (don’t tell her boss!) and began to feel a bit better.


The answer to what to do when you say ‘I hate my job’ that I share with my clients may help you too.

 When clients tell me they hate their job I want to find out what they hate. I want them to tell me what specifically?

Take this structured approach to get some clarity, and identify some action to take. It’s unlikely you hate everything, there must be something that is good, and other elements that are ok.

Step 1: Take some time (perhaps over the weekend) and write down in detail what you dislike about your job.

You really must be specific, it is not just that you dislike your boss, but e.g. the way he never gives you feedback or flies off the handle without reason, or never shares business information with you and your colleagues or perhaps you are just bored.

Step 2: Next, write down what you like about your job.

There must be some­thing that you like, perhaps not your boss, but your colleagues, your free health­care or the salary.

Step 3: Identify what you can resolve.

For each of the things you dislike and have listed in Step 1, can you identify ways that these could be addressed? Of course you can’t deal with everything but if, for example, you are unhappy that your boss never gives you feedback could you schedule a meeting with him or her to review progress?

Can you be proactive in some areas? Can you approach the person you are having problems with? Perhaps it’s a colleague who doesn’t do their fair share of work so everything gets loaded onto you. Be careful though. Don’t charge right in, wait and think things through from their perspective.

Step 4: Address the areas you may need some help with.

Has the volume of work increased so much that you have to work late each night, or are you taking work home? Do you need to discuss this with your manager if it is becoming far too much?  A technique I discuss with my clients when they are getting overloaded with work is to tell their boss that they can happily do X but what should they leave or pass on to someone else.  It’s being assertive and it usually works.

Step 5: Should you look for more responsibility?

Are you bored by what you do? Let your boss know that you could handle more and get involved in some projects? If you get turned down, then persevere. Perhaps you need to convince him or her more. Are they aware of your out of work achievements? A review meeting will allow you to discuss and emphasise strengths that your manager may be unaware of.

Step 6: Do you need more variety?

Look to do more of what you like and less of what you don’t. Think about how you can position this to your manager to make it a win-win for both of you. If you get on well with your boss she or he is likely to want to keep a valued member of staff and so be more willing to help.  Think about other people who could take on some of your tasks, such as an eager junior member of staff who may love to develop themselves too.

 Step 7:  You can take a wider view and see what else you can do to make your time there more tolerable

Sign up for an evening class and do some study in your lunch break? You might even get some support from the company.

 Step 8: It’s not just about the job!

When people say ‘I hate my job’ I ask them if they also hate their life, their relationships, friendships. Think about what you can do outside of life, in your personal time. A job doesn’t seem so bad if you have something to look forward to such as regular trips to the cinema, joining a sports team, going to Salsa classes.

This should help you change ‘I hate my job’ to this is an ok job, and I work to live. I’m so much more than my job.

Brought to you by Denise Taylor, Career psychologist and award winning career coach. Denise is also the author of ‘How to get a job in a recession’.  If you want help in understanding your values, making a career choice or any aspects of job search you can contact Denise at

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