How to Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job: 25 Practical Tips

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job
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Have you got no motivation to work anymore?

Even the most passionate people sometimes struggle to motivate themselves for work! It happens to us all, we get stuck in a rut and it affects our mood.

According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2020 study, 85% per cent of employees are not engaged in their workplace.

This post first talks about the possible reasons behind you having no motivation at work, and then gives you 25 ways to be more motivated at work.

1) Some of the reasons behind having no motivation include:
  • Disliking your job
  • Not knowing what you want to do
  • Feeling that you have no other options
  • Not being challenged enough by work anymore
  • A feeling of overwhelm with a massive workload/deadlines
  • Having a poor relationship with your boss
  • You feel undervalued and poorly paid
  • No development opportunities
  • Every year you convince yourself to stay until bonus time
  • You don’t back yourself to get a new job
2) 25 ways to stay motivated when you hate your job are:
  • Getting the basics right
  • Realising it’s normal to be bored at work
  • Pinpointing exactly what the problem is
  • Understanding what you want to do
  • Trying different things
  • Identifying your transferrable skills
  • Putting things into perspective
  • Looking to others for inspiration
  • Reminding yourself of the positives
  • Talking to someone
  • Setting clear boundaries
  • Disentangling yourself from the busy trap
  • Focusing on your outside interests
  • Managing your boss
  • Stop feeling undervalued
  • Push for development opportunities
  • Look for ways to be more independent
  • Use free time for personal projects
  • Improve your working environment
  • Pass on your knowledge
  • Front load your work
  • Give yourself incentives
  • Start small
  • Focus on just one thing
  • Break tasks into easily achievable chunks

Have a read of the below and see if any of the below situations sound familiar?

You realise you don’t actually like your job…

You have worked hard and taken on more responsibility to get promotions and earn a higher salary.

However, once you’ve achieved a big salary you find yourself stuck in a job you don’t like, and it turns out the money isn’t everything you thought it’d be.

frustrated man

You don’t know what you want…

Either you don’t know what you want, or there’s a lack of clarity about what you want.

If you ask a typical sports fan about their favourite team, they will give your so much info on their games, the players, and their thoughts on how the next few years will pan out.

But when you ask them about the details of their own life, and how it might go in the next few years they don’t have the same clarity of mind.

If you lack motivation in any area of your life, it’s likely because you haven’t decided in detail what you want in that area.

We can’t focus on something if we don’t know what we’re aiming for.

Spend some time thinking about what it look like if everything were to go exactly as planned or better?

Once we take the fuzzy dreams we have and bring them into focus by writing them out as goals – motivation will start to flow naturally.

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job 8

When you look around do you feel like you have no other options…

Everyone else seems to just get on with their job even if they don’t like it. Maybe it’s just you?

Despite disliking your job, you don’t want to go back and start over again.

You wouldn’t even know how to start all over again!

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Does your work no longer challenge you?

Do you only have enough work to occupy you for part of your working week? Is it a struggle to fill the rest of the time?

Are you watching the clock every day counting down the minutes until you can go home bored out of your mind? Has your work has become a series of monotonous tasks that offer little or no challenge?

In a 2018 Korn Ferry Survey, 33 per cent of people who changed jobs said boredom and the need for new challenges was the main reason behind their leaving.

Or have you just got comfortable in your job?

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your job but not wanting to move any higher up in the company.

Maybe you like your job, and are entering a stage of your career where you are just not motivated to advance?

It takes you longer and longer to get up in the mornings…

Do you dread the thought of going to work, and count down the time until when you can clock off for the day? Do you wake up every day thinking “What’s the point?”

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job 7

You look for anything to escape from your job…

Has your job increased your anxiety and stress levels to a point that you just binge watch tv and read mindless trash on your phone just to get your mind off work?

Have you started using alcohol or drugs to escape from the negative, low thoughts you feel during work…

Do you live for the weekend, and dread the thought of returning to work on Mondays and starting the whole depressing cycle all over again?

beer, pouring, glass

You feel overwhelmed by a huge workload with demanding deadlines…

Your work starts to suffer as you have too many balls in the air, and you start to get really stressed. This in turn affects your performance and it becomes a vicious cycle.

The boundary between work and social life starts to become blurred

You start to work before 9 am, through lunch, in the evenings and on weekends. You find it harder and harder to leave work in the office and switch off at home

Every day after work you are completely drained of all your energy.

You’re unable to do anything once you get home apart from collapsing onto the couch and falling asleep.

“Hard work is only a prison sentence when you lack motivation”

– Malcolm Gladwell

clock, alarm, alarm clock

You might have difficulty sleeping, and start getting sick more and more….

Your mental health takes a beating from emotional exhaustion, with anxiety and pessimism overshadowing your mood.

You don’t feel like your work matters or don’t feel a connection to your co-workers.

Mentally you’re just not there when it comes to your job.

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You don’t get on with your boss….

He/she ruins your self-confidence which in turn leads to poor work performance, which results in negative feedback from your boss. A vicious cycle.

In a survey carried out by CareerBuilder, 75% of people who willingly leave their jobs don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses.

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job 2
How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job

You’re getting micro-managed…

Your manager is constantly hovering over your shoulder telling you how to do your work.

They treat you like a child that can’t be trusted and ask you a never-ending stream of questions.

In a survey published in Harry E. Chambers’ book My Way or the Highway: The Micromanagement Survival Guide, 85% of respondents said that their morale was impacted negatively by being micromanaged.

You feel like you do a good job at work but never get any recognition for it…

Despite staying late or taking on more work you never get thanked for your efforts. Other people in other teams seem to do little or no work.

Studies have shown that 79 per cent of people who quit their jobs did so because they were ‘not appreciated’.

You feel like you are underpaid, under-utilized, and no one thinks you are any good.

Your self-confidence is in the toilet and you think you could never get a job in a different department or company.

Your workplace is non progressive and uninspiring…

There are no interesting roles and everyone seems to be stuck in a rut.

The prospect of being promoted is a key motivator for many employees, but if there are no chances of promotion / a better job / more money, then you can start thinking what is the point?

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You hate your job but keep waiting until bonus time every year to get your end of year bonus?

Then summer hits and says you will look for a job in the autumn, but then convince yourself to do one more year and wait until you get your next bonus?

You become stuck in a never-ending cycle.

Are you staying in a job you don’t like because you need to pay your bills?

We all need to pay bills but does it mean you have to be stuck in a job or career you hate?

Paying Bills as a Motivational Factor to stay in your job

You don’t back yourself to get another job…

Are you too intimidated to go for a higher level job where you really have to sell yourself? Do you think that better jobs are beyond you?

Or that you wouldn’t be able to handle increased responsibility or a more difficult workload, even though you have mastered your current job.

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job; Solution
How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job

If some of those scenarios sound familiar and you have no motivation to work anymore, then what next…?

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job…

You can do lots of different things, some will work for you others won’t. Have a read of the below and see which ones might work for you:

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #1: Get the basics right

You can’t get to work on fixing yourself unless you have the basics right first – proper sleep, diet and exercise routine.

If you don’t have these, then fixing these will sort out part of your problem. Healthy habits will help bring you motivation and happiness naturally.

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How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #2: Realise it’s normal to get bored with your work…

It happens to a lot of people. An article in Psychology Today showed that “…between 30 per cent and 90 per cent of Adults experience boredom at some point in their daily lives.”

To try and change it up a bit see if you can get work on a project. Change is as good as a holiday.

Working on a new project with new people might show you that actually, you like the company and the people, you just got bored with your role!

traffic lights, problem, analysis

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #3: Pinpoint what exactly the problem is…

Is it the role you are doing?

It could just be the job making you miserable?

Have you talked to other people in the organisation who do different roles?

Does your job suit you?

Maybe you would respond better to a job where you are your own boss? Or where you have no interaction with customers/clients/strangers?

Maybe it’s the company?

Think hard about whether your current work environment – is helping you grow? If not, then maybe a move will help refresh your motivation?

Often, people stay in roles and companies way past the point where they have stopped learning anything new. If you are no longer enjoying your role, and you are not learning anything new, then it is time to move on!

Would you be happier earning less money?

Money isn’t everything.

A study titled Charting the Relationship Between Money and Happiness, based on data from the 2017 World Happiness Report showed that money helps when it comes to being happy at work but only in a limited way.

Ask yourself if you’d be happier earning less money and having a less stressful job.

Many people change careers and earn less money but they are 10 times happier than they were in their previous job.

Happiness is more important than money.

Money vs Happiness Motivators

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #4: What do you want to do?

Many people experience dips in motivation as they lose their sense of purpose. They don’t know what they want to do with their lives.

Try to understand what drives you. What do you get a kick out of?

Is it solving problems? Learning new skills? Helping others? Creating something new?

Once you can understand what drives you internally to do things then you can start to plan your work and career around these factors

Make a list of things you want to accomplish, and then imagine these things actually happening.

Then for the more realistic things, make a plan as to how you are going to achieve that thing and give yourself a deadline to achieve it.

question mark, important, sign

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #5: Try different things…

Lots of people stick to one thing even when they don’t like it.

Try as many different things as you can. You might only figure out what you really love after trying four or five different things!

Eventually, you will find your way, but you need to experience different types of jobs and careers so you can compare and contrast things you like about them.

Think about doing something completely different that interests you and see where that takes you.

You might just end up finding new strengths and skills, and use your experience to do something that you have a passion for.

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #6: Understand what your transferable skills are

If you are not motivated by your current job, ask yourself what are the transferable skills that you have that can get you into another job?

How could you take all the things you like about your current job and get a new job that has all of them present?

Once you have your transferable skills listed out, start looking at job advertisements, and update your CV.

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #7: Remind yourself that life is too short…

…to be stuck in a job that sucks the life out of you if you are procrastinating about looking for a new job.

What if you are hit by a bus tomorrow?

If you start loving what you do, money and promotions will look after themselves as you will be great at your job!

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job 6

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #8: If you are totally fed up, look to others for inspiration…

If you google ‘people who have quit their job AND inspiration’ , you will find loads of inspiring stories that may help you think differently…

Check out this article of people who quit their plush corporate jobs to start something they love:

To get inspiration from the very different meandering career paths of 100 graduates 10 years out of university, check out my book ‘1000 Years of Career Advice’

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #9: Write down positive things about your job…

….the friends you have there, it’s pretty easy going, you can leave at 5 pm every day, you have time to do other non-work related stuff.

Practising mindfulness can also help in appreciating the good things about your job.

At the start of every day, try noting three small things that you are grateful for in your job.

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #10: Talk to someone…

It can be a very lonely thing to have a hard time at work.

Talking about your situation can be good for your mental health. It is often the first step to overcoming mental health problems and there are people who are willing to listen.

Try talking to your friends and family to see what they say.

You can also talk to your GP about how you are feeling, they can offer you information on support such as treatments and counselling available.

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #11: Set clear boundaries…

Don’t work after 6 pm or on the weekends.

If people want you to reply to emails outside of these times, make it perfectly clear that it can wait until tomorrow when you are back in the office.

If it is really urgent, they will find a way to get an answer without you.

Nothing is ever that urgent if you think about it! No one will die if something doesn’t get done!

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #12: Disentangle yourself from the ‘busy trap’…

To do this you’ve got to ruthlessly prioritize your most important tasks and eliminate the non-urgent ones.

This will allow you to invest in work that’s truly important.

Step back from responsibilities that are actually someone else’s work.

Practice saying “no” more often. If it is urgent it will get done by someone, it doesn’t always have to be you.

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job 5

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #13: Give more focus to your interests outside of work…

If your job isn’t challenging enough then maybe start your own project on the side?

Start a side project that’s interesting to you or a hobby that makes you happy. After a few weeks, it’ll pass or you really hate your work and will start thinking differently.

The more interests you have in your life outside of work, the more perspective you have on what is important and what is not important.

If you have non-work goals or priorities that are more important than work then you are going to be more motivated to get your work goals done and out of the way.

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #14: If you have a bad boss…

Try and look at the situation from a different perspective to yours.

Is he/she a poor boss with everyone or is it just you? Do you think you could be part of the problem?

Maybe there is just a personality clash, and you’d be much happier working for someone else?

Is your boss rubbish because they are stressed out themselves? Does he/she hate their job?

Sometimes it’s best to just focus on what you can control

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #15: Stop feeling under-valued…

Don’t take this personally, it happens to us all.

Your boss has a million things on their mind, it’s not your fault he/she doesn’t take the time to acknowledge your performance.

Find other ways to recognise your progress. Mention your good work to trusted friends, and co-workers, get them to give you the pat on the back you deserve.

Also, keep a list of everything you’ve done well and bring these things up in your next one to one with your boss.

Don’t leave it until your end of year performance review.

Bring these things up regularly to remind your boss of the great job you are doing.

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #16: Push for increased training opportunities…

Companies usually have sizeable budgets set up for training that often go unutilised because they try to save money.

Go to your manager with specific types of training that you want that will help you in your day to day to job.

Put together a mini business case, saying why you need it, the cost and the benefits that you getting the training will bring the company.

Propose it in such a way that they will find it difficult to say no.

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Diverse People and Training Concepts

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #17: Look for ways to be more independent…

If lack of autonomy is killing your motivation, then start looking for ways to gain independence at work.

You could volunteer for a project that involves working with other teams, or ask whether you can work from home more.

Deliberately ask your boss abut ways you can contribute more independently.

If you present the suggestion as a solution to an existing problem for your team, then you have a much better chance of your boss saying yes!

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #18: Use your free time at work for personal projects…

If you have some free time at work why not dedicate a couple of hours a day to your personal projects (online course, writing, etc.)

It will seem as if you are working, but really you are working on your own personal self-improvement!

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #19: Improve your working environment

If you find yourself lacking motivation, go to a space where you can concentrate fully 100% on what you need to get done, maybe a quiet area in the office or at home?

Eliminating all and any distractions will help you focus on the task at hand.

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #20: Pass on your knowledge

If you’ve reached the stage where you enjoy your job but have no great desire to ‘climb the ladder’ in your company any further, then, just be grateful that you’re at a point in your career!

Look at other sources which you can get motivation from.

Maybe take on a mentee and share your expertise and experience, or give talks to other teams/departments about your role and what your department does.

business meeting, meeting, business

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #21: Front load your work

One trick you can do is to convince yourself to work really hard for the first couple of hours of the day, then once you have done that tell yourself you can relax or mess around for a bit.

Try to work on the hardest/most uncomfortable item first thing in the morning and get it over with.

You will then feel motivated to do things that are less important, and your easier tasks will seem easier to accomplish.

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #22: Give yourself incentives

Another good trick to increase your motivation is to offer incentives for each task you complete.

For example if you get a piece of work finished, then you can reward yourself with a coffee or a beer or some chocolate?

Or maybe treat yourself with a new gadget/some new clothes if you get a certain amount of work done in the week?

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job 3

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #23: Start small…

If you find yourself struggling for motivation, try and start off with something small like I’m going to find one job advertisement I like the sound of each day, or research a possible job I could do every day.

Once you start to do this a few days in a row, you will build momentum and you will start to do other things which will lift your motivation levels

If you start to form a habit, this can give you a great sense of achievement every day.  

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #24: Just focus on getting ONE thing done every day…

If you get that one thing done, you can have the day off after that.

If you get tempted to add other tasks or to dos into your day don’t! Just focus all your time and energy into getting that one thing done. You’ll be surprised how liberating this is!

Note: I throughly recommend ‘The One Thing’ by Gary Keller. A fantastic book on how to improve your focus to get whatever you want.

How To Stay Motivated When You Hate Your Job #25: Break your tasks into smaller easily achievable chunks…

…which help you to achieve your bigger goal. If you focus on crossing off the individual tasks one by one you’d be amazed where it’ll get you.

Make sure you break your goals down into smaller tasks with a deadline for each one.

If you found this post on Motivation, please do check out some of my other posts:

How To Find The Right Career: 11 Effective Tips

Soft Skills in The Workplace: 5 of The Most Important

13 Practical Career Advice Tips for Teens

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