Advice for the Candidate You Can't Place : Surviving The Job They Hate

Have you ever had a candidate that you really liked but just couldn't place?  I make it a policy to be completely honest with these candidates as soon as I realize I can't help them, but it doesn't keep them from "checking in" with me from time to time. That's ok, because I can usually count on them for leads on positions they've struck out with or referrals. I try to offer encouragement where I can suggesting career  networking sites, resume writers, etc. If the candidate is really miserable where they are, I will find myself suggesting ways they can cope while the search for something new.

This is my three step plan to surviving a job you hate:


1. Become A Morning Person

  I know that when you hate your job, even getting out of bed is a challenge, but if you put some focus on becoming a morning person while you’re looking for something new, you’ll see a ton of benefit. Come up with a morning routine with at least one thing you really enjoy BEFORE you start your day.  Maybe it is getting up earlier so you can take the scenic route to the office, or perhaps you’ll have coffee and a danish on the balcony while watching the sun comes up before you hit the office. Whatever puts the day off to a good start outside the office will surely help you face the day better than hitting the snooze button until the last minute and having essentially no “you time” before you enter “that place.” Start by getting up a few minutes earlier each day to enjoy something that will help start your day off right.


2. Plan To Stay Busy

When you are looking for a new job, but completely miserable in your current position it is very easy to get depressed, especially when the majority of your time is spent at work. Having an active social life outside of work may feel like a real challenge when you really just want to get home where you can escape from the pressures of a job you hate. Don’t let that stop you! Besides giving you a great reason  NOT to call in sick, a  lunch date with an old colleague or a meet-up with new friends for drinks at an evening networking event can expose you to new business connections. Maybe you could volunteer for a project to support a good cause. All of this keeps you busy in a positive way. Are you seeing the pattern here? Use the time you are not at work wisely. This will help you stay positive and happy! It will make your job searching during this time much more successful. Just remember that no one wants to hear about how miserable you are at work in a social setting. Make it a rule to only discuss new business opportunities outside of work.  

paint on a happy face

3. Fake It As Long As You Can Take It.

  Being in a job you hate can be a real bummer. I know it is tempting to share just how bad it is with everyone you come in contact with. Don’t do it! Be very careful who you confide in when it comes to your job hatred. For example start with a rule to never discuss the subject with anyone you work with or with anyone that does business with your company. Trust me, it is much easier to find a new job you love while you are gainfully employed. “Bad-mouthing” your employer does nothing for a job search. When you do this, you are the one that ends up in negative light. Your job during this time is to make sure this employer will really miss you when you are gone. This company may provide a reference for you later in your career. You want them to LOVE you, even if you don’t share their affection. To do this, try to try to keep your daily tasks planned and blast through your to-do items as quickly as possible. You need to think of this as a survival of the fittest. Ask yourself, ” What must I do to be an acceptable employee today? ” Write it down. Start with “Smile upon entry to building and say “good morning” to the first person I see.” Then move on to more traditional tasks like check email, return calls, etc. Check each item off as you complete the task. There is nothing more helpful for completing cumbersome projects than moving down a list. You will be surprised at how much it will help you make it through the day..

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Comment by Anna Brekka on May 12, 2014 at 2:06pm

Good advice - most of us has been there.


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