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What to do when you realize you hate your job

Quitting isn't the only option.
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Sure, there are plenty of monotonous tasks that make the workday drag on, but if the thought alone of coming into the office makes you cringe, it might be time to make a change. While handing in an abrupt letter of resignation may sound like a glorious solution, for many people, walking away is not always realistic.

So what other options are there? We spoke with Foram Sheth, the co-founder of the career-coaching platform Ama La Vida, to find out.

Solve the happiness equation

Before you make any major moves, it’s important to get real and ask yourself why exactly you hate your job. Of course, that doesn’t mean running through a never-ending list of all the things that you dislike, says Sheth. “It’s best to list one or two specific things that must change in order for you to be happy.” Say you’re a consultant who hates getting up for 6 am flights, eating out all the time and working long hours. Your best bet would be to narrow in on the most crucial issue — say, the constant flying — and start thinking, “How can I make this work?” says Sheth. “Maybe you could travel every other week, or Monday through Wednesday instead of Monday through Friday.” Ultimately, you want to ask yourself: “Are there opportunities for me to do more of what I love and less of what I hate?”

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Be frank with your manager

Plenty of people are miserable at work but have one thing standing in the way of their happiness: their outlook. “They think, oh, my boss won’t want to hear my complaints, or they won't give me this role because what I’m doing now is the only thing that’s available,” explains Sheth. Except, that’s not true. If you hate working on a particular project, or believe you could be utilizing your talents more effectively, you should approach your manager and say, “I think I could be more productive, happier or more engaged if I were to do this instead— what do you think?” Chances are, if you’re honest and can offer up solutions that will benefit the organization, your boss will be open to making a few adjustments.

Seek out a career coach

Career coaches are basically the therapists of the workplace, explains Sheth. “They know the right questions to ask and can support you when you’re trying to make a change.” Rather than running through directionless inner monologues in an attempt to figure out what you want, seeking out the help of these experts will offer you a more clearly outlined solution. He or she might streamline your decision with questions like, “What is your end goal?” or “Walk me through what you don’t like within your existing environment,” explains Sheth. In the end, you want someone “who will take you through all of these different variables, and help systematically say, 'OK, here's where we are — now let’s take it one step at a time.'”