Until recently, I thought I’d have crappy jobs forever. In fact, until I started writing for a living, I probably would’ve folded your laundry every day if you told me that you could pay me enough to make rent and buy groceries. I hated a lot of my previous positions that much.
And because I was in that situation, I know what you’re going through if you’re currently a member of the not-so-exclusive “I Hate My Job” Club.
That’s why it was so easy for me to write up this list of the three things you’ll only understand if your current role makes you want to tear your hair out.
1. You’re Still Trying to Do Your Job Well
A few years ago, my dad told me that hating your job isn’t an excuse to slack off at work. He’d assumed from all my complaints that I was just sitting around–well—complaining. But for the most part, I pushed myself to do my best every day. And I’m willing to bet that many other members of this club are in the same boat.
As you know, people who think their jobs suck still have a lot of motivation to work hard—whether it has to do with making sure you remain employed (until something better comes along) or getting a promotion (that gets you away from your current boss).
And no matter what the case is for you, telling someone that you don’t like what you do should never be a cue for that person to assume you’re loafing around at the office.
So the next time someone says that, don’t be afraid to say, “I told you that I dislike my job, but I never mentioned anything about slacking off while I’m there. I’m proud to say that despite all the issues, I work very hard.”
2. You Know You’re Lucky to Have This Job
There are days when everyone—especially those of you who cry on Sunday nights because you realize you have to be at work in only a few hours—forgets the fact that they’re lucky to have a steady paycheck.
But for the most part, one of the things that keeps members of the “I Hate My Job” Club motivated is the understanding that they’re lucky to be employed at all.
While I hated my job (so much at points), I also knew plenty of people who didn’t have any sort of consistent employment. And even though I’d often tell people that I was going to quit and drive around the country in a beat-up minivan, I also understood that I was lucky to be able to pay my bills and afford to go out for the occasional happy hour.
People who think their jobs suck have a lot of thoughts during the day—and for many of them, one of the most surprising is gratitude for having a regular source of income.
So when someone tells you to feel lucky that you even have a job, you can say that you’re well aware—and that you don’t need to be reminded not to take it for granted.
3. You’re Always Just Days Away From Quitting (Then Payday Comes)
On the flipside, it’s that regular paycheck that keeps people in those horrible jobs for far too long. There’s a lot of comfort in knowing that twice a month, you’ll have the cash you need to buy groceries, as well as something fun that you absolutely don’t need. And when you hate your job, sometimes those impulse purchases help you cope with the fact that you’d rather be doing anything else for a living.
Or for me, even when I knew it was time to get out, some sort of “major life event” would always occur. Someone would get married, and I’d need to buy a gift. Or something I’d been eyeing for months went on sale. They were silly reasons to stay at a company I hated, but ultimately, the fear of not being able to even consider them kept me in positions I hated for far too long.
You should consider yourself lucky if you can’t relate to any of these things. But for those of you who know what it’s like to do a job that sucks the life out of you, it’s about time that the people in your life understood what’s going through your head.
With that said, being able to purchase something you really want doesn’t compare to having a career you love. And you truly deserve to have a job that you’re excited to go to every day (OK, most days). So while you should get kudos for surviving a position you hate, you also owe it to yourself to look for something better.
Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy or follow his blog.More from this Author