Even if you have the best job on the planet, there will be days when you just can’t bear to get out of bed to go to work. Fortunately, those days are probably few and far between, and a few recitations of “Tomorrow will be better,” is all you’ll need to get yourself to the office.
But what happens when you’re harboring a seething hatred for your employment situation? You already know tomorrow probably won’t be any better, so how exactly do you talk yourself out of bed and into the shower for yet another terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day in the office?
Well, as luck (or lack thereof) would have it, I’ve managed to survive more than my fair share of horrible jobs. Here’s how I did it.
1. Get Up Early
I know, I know. Getting up early to go to a job you despise is the exact opposite of what you’ll want to do, but I promise, it helps.
During my darkest career days, I was literally in the dark whenever I was home. It was dark when I got to work in the morning and dark by the time I left. Not exactly motivating. For a while, I made a habit of hitting the snooze button about three times before dragging myself into the shower, until I finally realized that wasn’t helping me. My only other option was to get up early (or even just on time) and try to enjoy my morning as much as possible.
I started gradually waking up just 15 minutes early at first, until I was up to a full hour. I filled that time with things I enjoyed, my only requirement being I wasn’t allowed to do anything even remotely related to work. I made French-press coffee, fixed myself a nice breakfast, and read the news, every day. Some days, I’d add in a bubble bath, and others I even squeezed in a short workout. This was “me” time, and I was going to enjoy it if it killed me.
And guess what? It not only didn’t kill me, it made getting out of bed something I could look forward to. By the time I had to start thinking about leaving the house for work, I’d already had a nice, relaxing morning, which took the sting out the fact I’d be spending the next 10-12 hours in office hell a little easier to stomach.
2. Make Plans
When you loathe your job, chances are the first thing you want to do when you’re off work is run home and crawl into your favorite pair of sweats and pour yourself a giant glass of wine (or warm milk, if that’s your thing). That crappy job has sapped every last ounce of energy and zest for life right out of you, and the thought of spending even a moment out in public, let alone being social, is a terrifying thought. Sound familiar?
Well, this is yet another case of how doing the opposite of what you want to do is actually better for you. When I was at my lowest with my lousy jobs, I tried to make as many plans with friends or doing activities I enjoyed as I could. When I couldn’t make plans work during the week, I’d make plans for the weekend. The point being, I always had something to look forward to, rather than only something to dread—going to work.
While I still had to get my work done while I was actually in the office, knowing I had a party to attend on Friday night or a lunch date with a friend Wednesday afternoon was enough to keep me going and gave me a reason not to call in sick every day of the week.
3. Make a List
I can’t say this enough—making lists can change your life. While I’ve never considered myself a “type A” personality, I can’t deny the benefits—especially if you’re facing a job you loathe a minimum of 40 hours per week.
When I first came to the realization I hated my job, many years ago, I was still early on in my career, and trying my best to establish myself. Which meant, even though I despised going to work every day, I still needed to make a positive impression.
That’s when I started making lists. Really long, detailed lists. I put everything from sending emails to calling a client to getting my morning (and afternoon) coffee on those lists. Sometimes, if I was having a particularly bad day, I’d even put things like “Meet Jane for drinks at 6.” If it had to be done that day, it went on the list, no matter how seemingly insignificant. Then, when I finished it, I’d cross it off and move on to the next task. When the day was over, I’d copy any items I hadn’t finished on to a new list for the next day. Then, when I arrived in the office the following morning, I already had a list of things to get me moving.
Making a list is a surprisingly simple—and effective—way to power through a challenging work environment. It not only gives you defined parameters of what will make up your day, but it has the added benefit of making you more productive in the process.
While I’m sure just rolling over and never showing your face in the office again may sound like a viable option on some days, trust me, it’s not. While looking for a new job is probably advisable, until you’ve found one, you’ll have to survive the one you’ve got. Employ these strategies, and not only will your boss never suspect how much you loathe your job, you might actually forget every once in a while, too!