If you’ve been in the working world for a while and find that you have seemed to hate every job that you’ve gotten, you’re probably wondering what’s going on.
You might be asking yourself if you’re the problem. If you haven’t found the right job yet. Or if work really just sucks that much.
To that end, I’m going to share my perspective about what might be going on if you find yourself hating every job that you get. This article is going to offer recommendation on what to do and also answer some FAQs around hating your job and what to do .
Let’s dive in.
Why Do I Want to Quit Every Job I Get?
The first step to treating a problem is a correct diagnosis. So, before doing anything, it’s key to take a step back and assess each individual job that you’ve had and try to understand why you wanted to quit.
I find that a helpful tool to understand why you might not have enjoyed a job is to evaluate it through the lens of the flower exercise, which originated from the book What Color Is Your Parachute.
Basically, the book argues that there are seven different aspects to a job, which make up the “anatomy of a job” and all of them impact the likelihood that you would enjoy your work.
My recommendation is to assess each job that you’ve had through each of the different pedals and craft an honest assessment of where your work isn’t compatible with what you want.
The 7 Pedals of The Flower
Here is a quick run down of the seven pedals in the exercise and how to assess each of those against your current job:
- Pedal #1: Compatibility With People
In general, who are the people that you like to work with? Did you find that your colleagues and your boss were consistent with people that you like to spend time with? Or did you find you have an absolutely toxic boss?
- Pedal #2: Workplace Conditions
If you could create your ideal working environment, what would it be? Would you prefer to work inside or outside? Remote or in-person? Is the traditional 8 hour day too much for you and you want more flexibility?
- Pedal #3: Skills
What are your top 10 favorite skills? Have you gotten to use them at previous jobs? If you’re not using your best and favorite skills, is that causing you to struggle at work and feel like you suck at your job?
- Pedal #4: Purpose
Have you been able to wake up in the morning feeling like you have a purpose and that you’re fulfilling that purpose through your work? Is your work meaningful to you?
- Pedal #5: Knowledges
What are you interested in and knowledgeable about? Is your work aligned with that?
- Pedal #6: Money
Have you been making enough money to live the type of life that you want for yourself? Or have you been finding that you’re struggling to make ends meet and can’t do the things that you’d like to do in life?
- Pedal #7: Location
Have you been living in a place that you wanted to live? Have you had an abnormally long commute that you’d like to cut down?
Look at each of your previous work situations across each of those seven pedals and make an honest assessment of how well it aligns with what you would ideally like in each of those areas.
That will help you to understand what areas of misalignment there were with what you ideally would have wanted.
Lastly, if you’re struggling to know which of those pedals is the most important to you and carries the most weight, you can use this prioritizing grid to help you assess which of those areas impacts your enjoyment of your job the most.
What To Do If You Hate Every Job You Get?
The flower exercise helped to understand why you didn’t like all of your previous jobs, which is a helpful starting point for understanding what you do want.
But, outside of looking at what you don’t like, it’s important to also step back and think through what you do want out of your life and your work to understand a career path that could be a good fit for you.
But how do you do that?
At a high level, you want to start by establishing a vision for your life. And I mean looking at your overall life, not just work.
Too often, particularly in the United States, I think that we start by selecting our work path first and then building our life around that.
I recommend that you think about what you want your life to look like and then seek work that fits into the context of that life.
Once you have your vision for you life, then try and find tangible work paths that fit into that vision and that may be life giving to you.
I find Ikigai to be a wonderful framework on how to do just that. While there is a criticism that Ikigai is a bit too much of a “pie in the sky” framework for trying to identify the perfect work for you, I personally find that going through the exercise can open your mind up to career paths and possibilities that you may not have thought of before. And I would challenge you that in our internet era, there are more opportunities than ever to make money from things that you enjoy.
From there, once you have a sense of what some potential paths might look like for you, it’s time to go out and experiment and reflect on which of those feels right to you (I find journaling as my personal favorite means of reflection).
I unpack that whole process and provide tools and references for each on the different stages in our article called I Have No Idea What To Do With My Life: How To Get Unstuck.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does the Average Person Hate Their Job?
A recent survey from the career website Zippia found that 50% of workers said that they dislike their jobs.
When you step back, that’s a fairly staggering number. Normal work day hours for most people are 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. Monday – Friday for eight hours per day. That means that about half of your waking hours five days per week are spent at work.
Half of people hating half of how they spend their time is a shocking and disappointing number that reflects overall disengagement within the traditional workforce.
Should I Quit My Job If I Hate It So Much?
Yes, if you hate your job then you absolutely should quit at some point. Work is a huge part of your life and can absolutely drain the joy out of you if you hate what you’re doing. It’s too important to just accept spending that much of your time doing something that you hate.
That said, you need to make sure that you quit responsibility. Ideally, you would line up another job. And, if not, you would at least make sure that your finances are in order to be able to make a jump.
What Should I Do If I Hate My Job But Can’t Quit?
If you hate your job, but can’t quit, there are three big things that you need to do.
The first is developing skills for coping with your job in the short term. Mindfulness tools like meditation and journaling can be helpful tools for enabling you to detach from a difficult situation as you look for something else.
The second thing is to complete an honest assessment of why you hate your current job and what you really want in your work and life. We walked through a process for doing that above.
The third thing is to start aggressively applying for jobs and preparing to interview well so you can move as quickly as possible.
We walk through a full process for what to in our I hate my job but can’t quit article.
If you hate every job that you get, it’s key to step back and assess why that’s the case. Look at each job one by by one and try to assess why you hated each one.
From there, shift to trying to map out what you really do want to do and then go find work and build a life that is more in line with what you truly want.