Stop Being Miserable At Work: 6 Tips

frustrated at work

By Kelly Gurnett

Having passion for your work makes all the difference in the world.

You wake up looking forward to the day ahead. You give it your all. You take difficulties in stride and face challenges with a "let me at 'em!" attitude. Loving your work makes you one heck of an employee.

Which is all well and good, but what about those of who don't love our work? Those of us who are just there for the paycheck, who once loved our jobs but have since fallen out of love, who are only hanging around long enough to move onto something else?

If you're in one of those situations, it can be all too easy to become resentful, apathetic, even hostile -- all things that make you a prime nominee for a little talk from HR. No one wants to be let go for poor performance or attitude (especially when you're already planning your escape), but it can be hard to show up day after day when your heart just isn't in it.

More: 5 Ridiculously Easy Ways To Be Happy At Work

So while you work on extricating yourself, what do you do to in the meantime to keep yourself from becoming a grumpy, disgruntled employee?

1. Find positives wherever you can.

Does your company treat you to free lunch Fridays? Do you have some great inside jokes with your cube-mate? Does the receptionist make the best pot of coffee you've ever had?

Look hard for these little pleasures, and grab onto them like life rafts. Enjoy everything (and anything) you possibly can, and try to let the other stuff glance off of you.

2. Put up your shields.

Don't let yourself become Milton from "Office Space." Yes, bad bosses and annoying co-workers can get on anyone's nerves -- but when you're halfway out the door (in your mind), these little frustrations can start to feel unbearable. Don't let them.

Remind yourself as often as necessary that these things are petty and, most important, temporary. You are not long for this office, so learn to see the humor in how mad these things used to make you, and laugh about them. At the end of the day, what do they really matter?

3. Remember why you're doing this (for now).

If you haven't chucked it all to pursue something else by now, there's something making you play it safe and stick around till you've got somewhere better to go. What is it? Keeping up on your mortgage payments, providing health insurance for your family or paying down your debt so you can afford to be a little less play-it-safe in the future?

Whatever your reason(s), keep them in mind when you start to feel stir-crazy. Someone depends on you to hold down this job -- whether it's a significant other, a family, or just your future self -- who would not like to find herself out on the curb before she has a new position lined up.

More: Dealing With Mean Girls In Your Office? You're Not Alone

4. Think of the future.

No, I don't mean "envision your freedom" (although that can help, too). I mean think of the cold, hard repercussions of your actions today. If you ultimately long for something better than this, being the best employee that you can be now is the best way to get it.

If you become that sullen, skulking employee who darkens the corner of every conference room, you're not likely to get a glowing recommendation for your next job. (Or to stay very long at this job, for that matter.) Take the high road, be the bigger man (or woman), and remember that your value as an employee in the future is tied to how well you perform today.

5. Do not (I repeat: DO NOT) take your work home with you.

You're more likely to survive your 9 to 5 if you have an enjoyable, relaxing life outside your working hours. So do whatever you can to keep your job-related emotions at your job. And fill your evenings and weekends with family, friends and hobbies that will keep you motivated and optimistic.

6. Keep looking for something else with a vengeance.

Even if your search isn't leading you anywhere at the moment, just the act of actively looking can help you feel better. You know that ultimately your time in this less-than-ideal situation is limited. You are on your way out, even though you're not out quite yet.

Take it one day at a time, knowing that this will not stretch on forever.

Kelly Gurnett is assistant editor of Brazen Life and runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits, where she documents her attempts to rid her life of the things that don't matter and focus more on the things that do. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook and hire her services as a blogger extraordinaire here.

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Kapil Gupta MD

Should I Quit My Job To Follow My Dream?

November 03 2014 at 8:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This article is a waste of space. If you hate your job, you hate your job. None of these things will stop you from being miserable. Sometimes, unfortunately, the only solution is to get a new job or change careers.

November 28 2012 at 5:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I actually think these are pretty good tips. We all have issues with our jobs. There is always something you dislike about it. But with this economy we have to hold onto a job at least until we find another one. So these tips appear pretty good ideas.

November 28 2012 at 2:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I wouldn't hate my job so much if I didn't have such B*&^% for a so called manager! She is the WORST! As far as the coworkers, I can tune them out.

November 28 2012 at 1:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have an even better way that takes only seconds..... QUIT!

November 28 2012 at 10:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to scottnsandrac's comment

Well, if you quit your job that does leave more time to sell and pack your belongings because the house gets repossessed from you not paying your mortgage (or you get evicted from your apartment) BECAUSE YOU QUIT YOUR JOB! Quitting your job without having another one is a fool's world!

November 28 2012 at 11:36 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to uncommonsensesc's comment

Wow, you are a freakin' genius...

November 28 2012 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down

I find that running into the men's room and flatulating good and hard for about 5 minutes helps me get through the day...

November 28 2012 at 10:39 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Work would not be so maddening if were not 8 hours a day, 5 days a week; if it were 6 hours a day, 4 days a week, it would be tolerable. The all morning, all day, 5 days in a row thing is just unbearable.

November 28 2012 at 8:47 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to umm's comment

8 hours a day would be a dream! 5 days a week would be a dream! If you've got a job where you only put in 40 hours a week, you better hang onto it!

November 28 2012 at 11:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

really dude? Try 6 days a week, 9 to 11 hours a day with rotating shifts ranging from 6 am to midnight. Do 6 figures compensate for that? I'm still not sure. Enjoy what you have.

November 28 2012 at 3:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hate your job? Perfect. Do what I did - start your own business. It's not that difficult to do if you are in the right profession. My career path of 30 years is something that every business has a need for so when the economy tanked and all I could find was part time jobs being offered I thought hmmmm .... and I made up proposals to businesses showing them how they could still have essentially full time benefits from my profession at a fraction of the cost of hiring someone on their payroll part time. The result? It worked beautifully. 2 years later I am now making nearly 6 figures again and I have alot of free time, I work from home for the most part and only go to my clients one day a week for a half hour at a time each. I get to do my laundry when I want, listen to my TV or radio when I want, take phone calls from friends and if I get up in the morning and don't feel like working I go back to sleep and work when I do get up. LOVE IT! No better feeling than being your own boss.

November 28 2012 at 8:40 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

While these suggestions are well-meaning some of them are really hard to do. My old job had so few positives and such a high stress level and something like donuts in the breakroom once every few months didn't make much of a difference. Taking work home was just part of the job--there was just no way to keep up otherwise. I worked as a public servant and the public can be thankless and brutal no matter how polite and helpful you are to them. Suggestions #3 and #6 were the only things that kept me going! I was working to create a college fund for my kids and a retirement fund for myself. The day I moved on was the day that I finally relaxed!

November 27 2012 at 8:25 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Sherri's comment

Couldn't agree more, public servant = public slave, and as the person posted below this comment, being bullied on top of that just compounds the dissatisfaction and miserableness.

Whatever happened to plain old common decency among coworkers...

November 28 2012 at 9:40 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I hate my job. I'm bullied, overworked, unappreciated and tired of having to work every Christmas. But I would also hate being Unemployed even more. So I guess any one of the 23 million Unemployed would like to trade with me.

November 27 2012 at 8:16 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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