October 1, 2015

How to Make the Best of a Bad Job






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Work can be just “a means to an end”; the thing that you have to do to pay the bills and finance your holidays. I’m not knocking that ­ I’ve been there ­ but to spend your days doing a job that you love and which inspires and rewards you in more than just the financial department, may feel like a luxury many of us can’t afford.

But as Confucius said:

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

So what are your options?


Well, you could stay where you are and try not to look beyond that pay cheque, while maybe keeping an eye out for a better offer within the company ­ a promotion or a new opportunity.

You could leave the job that’s not inspiring you and take a chance on doing something else; whether that’s finding the job of your dreams, becoming your own boss or setting off on an adventure (this may require some planning/saving first!). Of course, this isn’t possible unless you’re prepared to make big changes in your lifestyle but people have done it – sold up everything and gone traveling, for instance.

Or is there another way, a different route? Is there an alternative that could bring you more of what you want while still offering the financial security you need? It’s worth considering whether you could work less hours in your current job and if it would give you more time to explore other things that may be calling to you: the siren song of self-employment or the temptation to use the extra time to take a course?

Here’s something else to think about


In his book 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans,  Karl Pillemer Ph.D interviewed a thousand people over the age of 65 to find out what advice they would pass on. Some of what they shared might not be what you’d expect and many had a lot to say about work! Here are some of those life lessons:

  • Don’t make money your main criteria – none of these wise interviewees thought that future earning potential or wealth led to happiness and job satisfaction
  • Passion and purpose in your work is much more important than the size of your pay cheque in the happiness stakes
  • Learn what you can from a job you don’t like – about yourself and about other people – and practice your interpersonal skills. You may make surprising connections!
  • Try to create some room in your work/job to have a bit of independence and to make decisions for yourself. Having greater autonomy can make a big difference to your enjoyment of an uninspiring job.

But if you really can’t leave your job (not yet anyway)?


If you have to stay where you are, at least for the time being, then you can change your mindset and your outlook in some simple ways:

I’ve already mentioned passion and purpose and even if you’re only there for the money then make that your PURPOSE. You are bringing home the bacon and that’s helping keep a roof over your head, getting your kids through college or enabling you to save for the big adventure you’re planning. Remember those reasons – write them down and remind yourself about them when you’re feeling fed up.

Don’t give up on your dreams and keep those goals clearly in mind. On bad days that can help you get through the frustrations of a job you hate. Keep some pictures or quotes around you at work that remind you of where this is all leading – create a small vision board if possible and use it to inspire yourself.

Express your gratitude and try some random acts of kindness at work. There are so many small ways we can make our lives and the lives of others better and improve our connections with them. Whether it’s thanking someone for a job well done, surprising your workmates with cake or other treats, or just being a little kinder to those around you; you can make yourself and others so much happier.

Changing how we see our situation and adopting a new way of thinking about things really can make the best out of a not­-so-­good job ­ and it’s not just me who believes that – these are scientifically proven ways we can improve our happiness and well­being so…

Go on, try them!


Jane Minton, She is Fierce! Contributor

Jane Minton

Jane Minton knows what it’s like to be teetering on the brink of change and wondering about whether to take that big leap or not. It’s her journey over the last 20 years that informs how she helps her clients create their best life; a journey that took Jane to Italy for 8 years, living a life of greater simplicity and building a business that supported her financially but didn’t stop her traveling. Today, she divides her time between the UK and France working with women wherever they are in her Wednesday Teatime coaching business. She loves sharing what her journey has taught her – about herself and about what life can be if we have the courage to step into the void and create our own futures.

With a background in counseling and supporting women in crisis, Jane also built up a lot of experience in Third Sector administration and project management. She’s a qualified Coach and NLP practitioner, with a deep interest in the science of happiness and positive psychology. If you’re feeling stuck and lost your optimism, or if the life you’re living isn’t the one you long for, then Jane can help you explore how to change things. She’ll be a trusted guide and supportive confidante.

Connect with Jane…, Facebook, Twitter

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