How to Survive a Job You Hate but Really Need

Spoiler alert!- not all people end up where they want to be after college- well, at least not at first! It may be an uphill climb, the path to your career destiny may be long and winding but you can get there eventually. How? With tenacity, endurance and self-belief, you can achieve your career dreams. Sometimes you have to take on jobs that you hate but really need in order to further your career, or to support yourself and your family financially. So let’s figure out how to survive and not slowly die inside doing a job you hate but really need.


When you hate your job so much, you often speak in terms of survival. Instead of constantly thinking “How do I survive this bad job?”, phrase your thoughts so as to motivate yourself. For example, say out loud: “This is my current job and my current situation. It is something I should and will survive.” And why will you survive? Because you will have your career dreams at the forefront of your mind. Imagine getting where you want to be. Nothing that is worthwhile comes easy. Your purpose is to work hard, survive the hard times, survive the horrible jobs in order to gain career experience, in order to develop your work skills and to make yourself more employable for your next career move.

You can start by breaking down the big chunks of your reasoning. Why did you apply for this job in the first place? Was there a specific skill you wanted to develop? How did deciding to take the job in the first place fit into your long term career vision? If you push yourself, surviving can be more than just ‘making do’- motivate yourself to make the most out of a job you hate by thinking of your eventual rewards.


Why do you hate the job? Is it the people around you? Your boss?…“Hate” is a strong word…maybe it is just about you? Hard as it may be to hear, you probably need to just toughen up and stop going over the negative parts about the job in your head. Surely there are some good parts to your job? Life is all about perspective; if you change your perspective you change how you are feeling. Some people would say, “don’t hate, appreciate.” You can choose to see the good in every situation. No-one is saying that you should settle for less but in the short-term you may have to work at jobs that are less than ideal- the key to survival would be to shed the negativity and seek out the positives.


What if you have tried points1 and 2 but still feel terrible every morning when you wake up and remember you have to go to work? You can re-assess the job by being specific about what it is you hate. For example, do you hate your job because you don’t like your colleagues? Specifically, which colleagues are making your job hard and why? Figure out the finer details of why and see if you can tactfully speak to them about how and why they affect you. Or do you hate your job because the workload is causing you stress? See if you can negotiate with your manager or human resources department about improving your work-life balance. These ideas on how to change what you hate about your job may not always be 100% successful but they are worth a try if you have to stay in a job you hate but need.

Surviving a job you hate (but you need) may give you stress. You may sometimes feel like letting it go. Of course, you can do that but it would be the easy route. Remember that as tough as it is, you are where you need to be right now in order to further your career, improve your employability and then eventually get that premium job that you want and deserve.

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