Quit or Suck It Up: Coping With a Job You Don't Love

Young woman looking at the computer and boring or not happy about the news.
Young woman looking at the computer and boring or not happy about the news.

With our roller coaster of a job market and uncertainty in the workplace, it's no surprise that many professionals are frustrated with their current employment situation. Just look at the many studies and surveys out there: One indicates the majority of employees are dissatisfied with their careers, another indicates 74 percent would quit consider finding a new job today. And let's not forget about the many employees who are disengaged with their work.

Coping with a job you don't exactly have a love for can be tough. On one hand, you need a job to survive. On the other, you still want to be happy. How can we solve this Catch-22?

It may be tough love, but many professionals need to take a step back, figure out what the problem is, and move towards a better goal. In other works, quit or suck it up. Your career, the job market, and your happiness is at stake!

Here are some steps to move towards this goal:

Step 1: Understand why you're unhappy

Some people are unhappy because of their bosses. Others are unhappy because of their coworkers, job duties, or even work environment. Some people would rather stay in a job they hate than even look at the job market. Before you throw in the towel, figure out what's bringing you down. From there, you can understand if it's something that's going to change or something that you need to change on your own.

Tip: Create a list of pros and cons about your job, which can make it easier to see what direction you should take. For instance, if you're not happy with your workload, you could ask your boss for different duties. If you just don't like your industry anymore, you may need to look for other work.

Step 2: Do some research

Researching is one of the easiest, and perhaps most looked over, tasks you can take to improve yourself or your job -- it can help to really see what you want out of you career.

For example, if you're not happy with your job, but still want to stay, you can research some ways to improve your current employment situation that have helped others in the past. Or, you can research ways to find employment in a sector you're not familiar with. Either way, researching can help to guide you in the right direction, no matter what your final choice is.

Tip: Participate in forums or online chats to get feedback in real-time. Not only is this a quick way to conduct some informal research, but it can also give you some insight from those that have gone through the same process.

Step 3: Talk to your peers

Your coworkers and peers may be facing the same problems you are. After all, if they're in a similar industry, chances are they've felt what you're feeling. Although the final choice should always be up to you, talking with your network can help you to see things from a different perspective, as well as open up your mind to alternative options.

Tip: When you sit down with your peers, come to the table with the situation, the problem, and any possible outcomes you'd like to achieve. That way, they can understand what you're thinking to help them provide sound opinions.

Step 4: Evaluate your options

At the end of the day, evaluating your options is crucial. Through your evaluation, research, and outside perspectives, you should have enough information to come to some sort of conclusion. For instance, if you've decided to stay in your job, but want other duties, you can now move towards talking to your boss. If you want to move to a new profession, you can dive into the job market and take the steps needed to tailor your resume and apply to the jobs you do want to do.

Tip: Don't burn any bridges. Although your choice is yours and yours alone, your employer did give you an opportunity in your current job. So, whether you want to move to a new role or check out the job market, be truthful and be thankful for what you have now.

Coping with a job you don't love can be disheartening, but the above tips should help you to figure out what you want out of your career. The rest will be much easier.

What do you think? What are some other ways to cope with a job you don't love?

Lynn Dixon is the co-founder and COO of Hourly.com, an employment network that quickly matches people who are interested in flexible positions with the right opportunities. Connect with Lynn and Hourly on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.