I hate my job but it pays well, what should I do? I hate my job what should I do? I feel stuck in my job, Should I take a pay cut for happiness? Should I leave a job I hate for less money? Why am I not happy with my job?

Have you been asking yourself any of these questions lately? Do any of these questions sound familiar to you? Maybe all these questions sound like you! 

If you hate your job then read on, because that’s what this post is all about. 

So you hate your job, should you quit?

The truth is, if you hate your job so much that it’s keeping you up at night, and you’re searching for answers to these questions, then it’s clear that you need to do something about it. But no one can tell you whether you should quit your job or not and that’s not something I can answer for you. It’s a very life-altering and therefore personal decision that you ultimately need to make for yourself. 

There are lots of factors involved and you need to make sure that whatever decision you make is one that works for you and one you won’t regret later.

However, there are a number of things you can do when you reach a point that these types of questions start to plague your mind, and it’s these strategies and ideas that I want to share with you. 

From I love my job to I hate my job

But before I get into that, let me share with you my own experience with these exact same questions. Some years ago I was working in a job I loved and life was great! At least that’s how it started. I loved my colleagues, the work was all about people which suited my personality and I had an amazing boss. Seriously, he was the best. Oh, and the money was good too. I was making good money. 

I was loving life. That is until I wasn’t.

Slowly, slowly something started to gnaw away at me. In the beginning, this gnawing feeling would fade away at the weekends, but after a while it was constant. And then what started as a gnawing feeling became an empty hollow feeling. I hated my job. And this feeling plagued me all the time, even at weekends. 

Nothing had changed. My colleagues were still great, my boss was still awesome and things were still going well. But I felt utterly miserable. So much so that at one point it was a struggle just to get out of bed and while it didn’t help that at the time I was also experiencing some challenges in my personal life, how I felt about my job certainly didn’t help. There was a tie when going to work was a sanctuary, an escape from the other aspects of my life, but this was no longer the case. 

Burying my head

I felt like I was going crazy, after all, this job afforded me my lifestyle and I was living in a great apartment which I loved! And this job that I hated provided for it all. 

As I began feeling worse and worse, I spent more and more money. More wild weekends, more shopping, more more more. But I still felt like crap about my job. No matter what I did to drown out the feeling, it wouldn’t change. 

To cut a long story short, in the end, the pain outweighed all the benefits of this job, at least that’s how it felt to me at the time. And while I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life, I knew it wasn’t what I was doing then. I knew I had to quit my job and figure things out. 

In the end…

I finally sat down with my boss and told him I’d reached a point where I needed to leave, and what he said to me I’ll never forget… 

“Antonette, everyone hates their jobs, that’s just how it is. That’s life. No one loves what they do – you just get on with it…” 

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. At that moment, I knew I was making the right decision for me. I loved my colleagues and my boss and appreciated all the experiences I’d had so far and what I’d learned at the company, but I just couldn’t accept that this was how things were, that this was what life was all about. I knew deep down this wasn’t the right path for me. 

I knew that I wanted something else and the feeling wasn’t going to go away on its own. I had tried to quiet it in lots of different ways, but none of it worked. I knew I had to get to the root of my problem, and that meant taking stock and getting some clarity on who I was and what I wanted. 

And that’s what I did next. It wasn’t a quick and simple process but the self-discovery was well worth it. 

Moral of my story…

The moral of my story is that you’re the only one who can decide when it’s time to take action and do something about the fact that you feel stuck in your life or hate your job. You alone know what your job means to you, how bad it makes you feel, and what it would mean to you to change your situation. 

Yes, many people don’t love their jobs but you need to ask yourself if this is how you want to spend the rest of your life. 

I know that not most of us can’t just quit a job we hate, believe me, I’ve been there, you have bills to pay! And maybe for now being able to take care of your family makes the pain of hating your job tolerable, and that’s ok. But if you’ve reached a point where you feel utterly lost and stuck, in the dark and in desperate need of a change, any change, then it might be time to take some course of action. Because change doesn’t happen overnight, the biggest changes usually happen over a period of time and take lots of little steps along the way. 

With that in mind…

Here are 13 steps you can take if you hate your job, that don’t involve quitting.

1. Get clear on exactly what you hate about your job

Understanding why you hate your job is a critical first step. Spend some time getting clear on exactly what you hate about your job. Because without being clear on this, you won’t know what the best next step is for you. People hate their jobs for many reasons. It could be that you feel stagnant and have stopped learning and progressing, if this is the case then you know you need to start looking for an opportunity that will allow you to continue to progress. This could be an internal move or it could be a move outside your organization. Either way, having a clear focus on what the reason is that you dislike your job will ensure you don’t end up in exactly the same situation again, once you decide to move. 

2. Make a list of the things you like about your job 

That’s right, I said LIKE. Even though you hate your job, there are probably parts of it that you like. Even if it’s a very small part. It’s worth taking the time to list what these areas are in order to gain some perspective. This will help you to avoid overlooking jobs or opportunities in the future, which may not appear ideal for you, but are things you could enjoy. Doing this exercise can also help you to stay motivated day to day, by trying to do more of the things you enjoy at work, every day.

3. List the things that you want from a job

Making a list of your job priorities is important. This list will identify what you require for your job satisfaction. You can use this list to assess potential future opportunities, that way, you know that you’ll choose opportunities based on the fact that they align with what you really want and that you’re not making decisions based on running away from your current situation.

As you think about what’s important to you and write this list, you might find that the change you need to make is a career change and it’s not just a job-related issue. Discovering this at an early stage is valuable because it will help guide your next steps so that you make a strategic decision that supports your long term.

4. Explore internal opportunities and possibilities 

As I mentioned, it’s always a good idea to consider internal opportunities. It could be that the ideal role for you is a lateral move into a different department. If you hate your job but you’ve your company, it’s even more important that you do this. Some companies are great at moving people between departments, and this could help you gain experience and exposure which might be harder to get in a new organization. Keep an open mind, the move may not be permanent, but even a temporary move to another role could be the ideal step for you, such as with a secondment. 

5. Audit your skills thoroughly 

When was the last time you did a skills audit? I’m guessing it’s either a long time ago or never. Most of us rarely take the time to think about the skills we have in detail. And by detail I mean, getting crystal clear on every skill you have and how proficient you are at it. That’s hard technical skills as well as soft skills.

When you think about your proficiency, ask yourself this, could you do a presentation, not the topic, could you speak on the topic, could you teach the topic? How comfortable would you feel if you were called on to be the expert on the topic? These might seem like strange questions, but it’s easy for us to think we are good, ok, or so, so when it comes to our skills, but what does “good” even mean? 

Really nail down how proficient you are. Consider someone you know who you deep to be at expert level, how do you compare? 

We’re often our harshest critics and we don’t see the strengths we have, you might find that you’re a lot more proficient at something than you first thought! 

As well as the skills you already have, think about the skills you want to have or, if you know what type of job you would prefer to move to, list the skills that are required for that job- and again, ask yourself, what level are you at? 

The purpose of creating this list is to clearly identify your strengths and areas where you need to develop and upskill. Really develop, as in learning a new skill, taking a course, or practice practice practice. Whatever is needed.

6. Work on your resume 

While you might not be ready to leave your job just yet, this is a good time to work on your resume. Most people only work on their resume when they need it, but working on it with plenty of time to spare means you can take your time and – it gives you an opportunity to really nail it down and make it as great as possible. 

7. Consider and research your external options 

If you’ve completed actions points numbers 1 – 5 then you should be in a good position to start thinking about options outside your company. Based on the lists you’ve created about your skills, desires, likes, dislikes, what jobs could you go for where you can use the skills you have to add value while also aligning with your requirements? 

This isn’t about quitting or searching for a job, it’s about investigating the types of jobs that are out there. And this isn’t limited to jobs on job boards. I’m talking about thinking about every job that exists, including jobs you might never have heard of or considered before, this is especially true if you’re headed for a career change. 

Don’t limit your options, just research, learn and understand every option that’s available.

8. Join relevant groups 

The benefit of researching what’s out there that might interest you is that it gives you a basis to go and do some further research, by joining groups, attending events, and connecting with different people. 

You can find groups on Linkedin, Facebook, or even Clubhouse to name a few options. The point is that that’s where you can connect with people who are doing the job you’re interested in and really understand if it’s potentially the right job or path for you and if so, what’s required. 

9. Get active on LinkedIn

Like your resume, your LinkedIn profile is a valuable asset. Make sure it’s up to date and if you haven’t been active on it, start now. Connect with people within the industries and in the jobs or companies, you’re interested in. Doing this when you’re NOT looking for a job takes the pressure off. It doesn’t matter if someone doesn’t respond in double-quick time. What’s more, you can simply start engaging with people and seeing what’s being posted or talked about in the industries/job areas that you’re considering, and maybe start posting things yourself, as well as making more connections. 

10. Try new things 

If up to this point, you’re completely stuck, you hate your job and still have no ideas and nothing on your potential dream job list, then just start doing. 

Doing can take many forms. Taking the actions I’ve shared so far is doing something, however small it may feel. But there are other things that you could do. Like restart a hobby you gave up on, or take up a new one, take a short course, volunteer. 

The truth is, this isn’t about finding the mealy job necessarily, sometimes, you need to get out of your head before you find the solution. 

When you hate your job, chances are you’re in your head about it all day every day, and when you feel stuck and unclear on what to do then you can become frozen in fear and do nothing. Which won’t change matters. That’s why taking some sort of action is important. It interrupts your pattern and can lead to a shift in your thinking. What’s more, by doing things, you could interact with new people discover that you’re good at something, discover a deeper interest in learning something, or simply get some mental relief from your daily grind in the process. 

Either way, it’s a good idea! 

11. Sort out your finances 

Ok, so this is one of the most important actions on this list. One thing I had to do was get real about my lifestyle. Remember, I was in a job with good money and perks, but knew that I might lose all this ( and I did for a while). What did I do? I simplified and consolidated my life and finances, I created a buffer.  

For me, that looked like moving out of a fancy apartment into somewhere much much smaller, and also cutting back on all that spending and saving, so I could be sure to have a buffer. For you that might just mean, actually knowing what your expenses are, because we don’t always know, and if you don’t know, you can’t plan. 

The point of this is to prepare yourself and to take stock. It’s all about realistic preparation so that you don’t find yourself in a more stressful situation down the line. 

This exercise will also guide you in finding the right answer for you. Because the real question isn’t should I take a job paying less money to be happy? Or I hate my job but it pays well, what should I do? The question is, what is your life like right now? How much does it cost you? What are you prepared to sacrifice and WHY? What is it that you want ultimately and will the sacrifice get you there or be worth it? 

12. Create a plan of action 

Finally, create a plan of action, this will look different depending on your situation. It could be that you need to plan your job search strategy and timescale, or it could mean planning to go back to university to retrain! 

Whatever the change is you need to make, create a plan of action, and better yet, enlist someone to support you in the process. 

13. Implement a morning routine for your mind

Everything on this list has been clear and tactical. But let’s not forget that your mind won’t make things easy. After all, you hate your job and if the process of change will take time, you need to get through that. That’s why I strongly recommend implementing a morning routine that sets your mind up in the right way. 

That’s meditating, practicing gratitude, and spending some time visualizing achieving your desired outcome and actually seeing yourself loving your work. 

The meditation is to get you to a state of calm, the gratitude will help you keep perspective, after all, you hate your job, but what do you love about your life, what do you have to be thankful for? And finally, visualizing what you want will help you to stay focused and on course, no matter how long the process of change. 

If you want to get started on the journey to finding a job or career that you love then start with the posts below:

The Truth About Finding Your Passion And Purpose

Powerful Questions To Ask Yourself To Get Unstuck & Find Your Dream Career