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How to survive a job you hate

MAKING THE BEST OF IT: Jonathan Lockwood Huie runs down the best tips on how to survive a job you dislike

IT IS never fun to be in a job you don't enjoy, and it is especially challenging during difficult economic times. Are there ways you can make your situation better? Yes there are. Here are ten tips to help you survive a job you hate…

1. Know that you actually do have the choice to leave your job. Would there be consequences to quitting your job? Of course, but there are also consequences to your physical and emotional health as well as to your self-esteem in continuing to spend a large part of each day being stressed and upset.

Simply the realization that you do have a choice each day about staying or leaving can be a big factor in making your job situation bearable.

2. Having decided that you aren't giving your notice today, there are three broad paths you can travel with regard to an unpleasant job. The best alternative is to actively search out ways that you can either change the nature of your job or change your attitude toward your job so that you begin to find your work enjoyable.

The second path is to discreetly but actively begin a search for a job you will enjoy. The third path is simply to find ways to minimize the pain of your job.

3. Look for opportunities to transfer within your company that will make your duties more pleasant or your relationship with your supervisor and co-workers more cordial. If you intensely dislike your current situation, a parallel transfer to a more pleasant position would certainly be a good deal.

Even consider what might be thought of as a step back in your career in order to escape an unpleasant supervisor or duties. Remember that if you are unhappy with your job, your company is likely to become dissatisfied with your attitude, so any move that improves your happiness will improve your attitude, and therefore your potential for career advancement.

4. Consider how the nature of your current job duties could be changed in ways that would benefit both your employer and yourself. As an example, if your job is in telephone technical support and you love helping people with their product issues, but hate dealing with irate customers, you might suggest to your boss that an individual who prides themself on calming angry people be designated for such calls, allowing you and others with top technical proficiency to focus on troubleshooting issues.

That is a small organizational change that would benefit everyone as well as making your job much more pleasant.

5. Even though the economy is down and you may feel that there are no jobs to be found, begin a discreet job search anyway. Don't take any time away from your current job for interviews, and don't tell any co-workers you are looking.

Beside the obvious benefit of likely finding a great new job you love, actively searching for a new job will be good for your morale in reminding you that your current job situation is only temporary, and you can survive anything for a short time.

6. If you are clear that there is no long term potential for your current job to become enjoyable and rewarding, create a mindset that your job is only temporary and think of it like a broken leg or a case of the flu - something that is annoying and debilitating, but that soon will be gone. Visualize better days that will follow after your job search succeeds.

7. Make a list of the things that you do like about your job. It is easy to focus only on the negative aspects and forget that, like everything in life, your job has good points and bad.

8. Be grateful that you are physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy enough to have a job. Be grateful for the time and pleasures you have outside of work hours. Be grateful for all of life.

9. Smile. Put on a happy face and you are likely to be surprised by how readily your emotions rise to match the corners of your mouth.

10. Be cheerful and supportive of your boss and co-workers. No matter how unhappy you are, there is no benefit to showing it. If you are cheerful and helpful, you are almost certain to improve the attitude of those around you, at least a little bit.

Even though you know you will be gone the moment you get offered a better job, do your best and be the best person you can while you are still working at this job.

Jonathan Lockwood Huie, "The Philosopher of Happiness," is author of 100 Secrets for Living a Life You Love and co-author of Simply An Inspired Life.

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