Working a job you hate sucks, whether your coworkers are awful, your boss is a tyrant or you just can't stand the work itself. You may be pretty good at sucking it up and dealing most days, but there are some times when it just gets to be too much, and you find yourself fantasizing over ways to march into your boss's office and boldly declare, "I quit!"
Stop right there.
Before you do something you'll regret, take a deep breath -- then take look at these tips on how to handle the situation. You're not condemned to work a bad job forever, but there's a right and a wrong way to make your escape.
Appreciate What You've Got
When you hate your job with a burning passion, the last thing you want to hear is someone telling you, "At least you have a job." I understand that sometimes it feels like having no job would be better than what you're putting up with. But take a minute to and look at things objectively.
There are some populations (either industries or communities) where the real unemployment rate -- those actively looking for jobs and those who've given up the search altogether -- is 25 percent. If you're in such an industry or area, the last thing you want to do is quit before you have your next job on deck. Taking your chances in a bad job market is never the best way to go. Plus, quitters get screwed on unemployment benefits. As much as you dislike your current situation, you're better off sticking it out while you look for something else rather than cutting ties altogether.
So keep yourself going by focusing on the good things your job provides you with -- benefits, a steady paycheck ... heck, maybe the coffee in the break room is especially good. Grasp at anything you can to keep your spirits up while you look for something else.
Don't Do Anything Rash
When you find yourself in a job you hate, it can be oh-so tempting to want to write up your two weeks' notice, march it into your boss's office and enjoy the blaze of glory that comes with standing up for yourself. There's a reason Marina Shifrin's "I Quit!" video became a YouTube sensation -- we all dream of telling our terrible jobs to shove it.
But as awesome as that might feel in the moment, the repercussions could haunt you. Quitting without having anything else lined up is a huge gamble. So is burning professional bridges. If you find yourself reaching the breaking point, do something -- anything -- to refocus yourself. Excuse yourself and go out to your car to scream with the windows rolled up if you have to. Then remind yourself of those things you have to be grateful for, straighten your tie, and get back to work.
Remember, if you're already on the hunt for a different job, your time here is winding down. You just have to stick it out a little longer.
Build an Escape Route
If you quit without a fall-back plan, you could find yourself right back in another job you hate just to keep the bills paid. Instead, work on building up alternate employment so you won't be leaping blind.
Doing something on the side serves several purposes. First, it helps you save up some extra income so that when you finally leap, you've got a cushion to cover you if your new position doesn't pay as much or if there's a gap between when you quit and when you start your new job. Second, your side gig could evolve into a full-time gig, giving you the "out" to finally hand in your notice. And third, it gives you something to distract yourself from how much you hate your current gig. It's a win-win-win.
Working a job you hate is never easy. But with some planning and patience, you can free yourself in a way that sets yourself up for an amazing, awesome new job in the future.
Paula Pant ditched her 9-to-5 job in 2008. She's traveled to 30 countries, owns six rental units and runs a business from her laptop. Her blog, Afford Anything, is a gathering spot for rebels who refuse to say, "I can't afford it." Visit Afford Anything to learn how to shatter limits, build wealth and live life on your own terms.