Dare180: Working for the Weekend, How to Survive in a Job You Hate

Loverboy’s song didn’t exactly make sense but the earworm of a hook runs through my head almost every Monday. Sometimes it feels like the entire week is just a mad dash to Friday at closing time. It really doesn’t have to be this way. Even if you like your job for the most part, but are having a pretty awful week here are some ways to get through it.(I’ll get to those of you on shift work, flexible schedules,and cubicle-less jobs in a later post but you can still get something from this so read on.)

  1. Stop being mad at Monday. It didn’t do anything to you but be a mathematically predictable calendrical circumstance. Instead, practice some gratitude and be thankful you made it to another day. Use the first day of the week to set yourself up for success by running through your plans and amending your them so you can tackle what is necessary. Strategize.

  2. Take some damn breaks. (If you smoke not just smoke breaks either) That goes for whatever your profession. You need regular breaks to shake up your brain. You need to stretch your hamstrings. You need to see some sun. You need to get some water. You need to look at something other than a computer screen. Get the hell up out of your Aeron chair. Even five minutes will help tremendously.

  3. Pack your lunch and bring good nutritious food that you actually want to eat. Something you can look forward to and get excited about. You should always pack food you like because what’s worse than having a crap day? Having to eat crap food. Also, bring snacks. You will want a snack.

  4. Look for some meaning in what you do. My parents told me that no matter what I do, whether I’m cleaning diarrheal toilets in a dingy pizzeria or walking down a runway in L.A I need to do my best because my name is on it. That’s enough meaning for me, but honestly it isn’t always easy to find when you feel like your job is powering the fluorescent lighting with your soul. Helping people in some way usually makes most decent people feel good. Figure out the ways your job helps people and do more of that. You may be going above and beyond but it’s worth it when you get that sense of satisfaction that you done good.You’ll be happier too.

  5. Make a friend. I’m the first to say, “I’m here to work not make friends.” But I am also human and I’m not going to discredit a legitimate connection. You don’t have to schmooze with the whole office but do befriend someone. It helps the day go by. Having a laugh about something that happened in your department is necessary. The levity can help break up the monotony and the drudgery. There’s no one there you vibe with? That’s okay, that’s what headphones are for. Can’t have headphones? If they don’t pay you well (even if they do…) please start looking for employment elsewhere. That place is probably not conducive to good mental health.

  6. Delegate if you aren’t doing it already. I swear, if you are a manager and you don’t know how to delegate you need to start doing this immediately. If you don’t trust anyone enough to do the work well or you know you’re a control freak you need to either: A. retrain your subordinates or B. take a non-management position. You aren’t doing anything or anyone any good by doing everything yourself.

  7. Remember you are not your job. If that typical small talk "What do you do?" questions stops you in your tracks and sends you into an existential crisis you need to remember that people don't really care what you do unless it benefits them in some way: you're an accountant or they find it incredibly fascinating: you're a bullfighter. Even if you love your job it shouldn't be the only thing that defines you. You've got friends, family, and hobbies I hope so take care of those things and steer awkward conversations in that direction.

  8. Get Dressed. If the only thing good about your job is the fact that you don't wear a uniform then take advantage of it. Put on something that makes you smile but stops short of getting you fired. Clothes have power so put it to good use. At least looking good can be one thing to look forward to each day.

There's more I could list here but really the big take away is find gratitude and remember that it isn't forever. For better or worse things are always changing but you can make the most of things as they come and go. The secret lies in your perspective.