Have you ever sat in your car outside of work, dreading the next 8 hours or so? If you’re at that point, or near there, I can relate. I’ve been there. And I can tell you that harboring that feeling every day is destructive and wears you down. So, let’s do something about it. I’m going to share 10 things to write in a journal when you hate your job.
The goal is to help you shift that ‘icky’ feeling, either to feeling better or taking steps to giving them the middle finger (not literally, please don’t go into to work and give them the middle finger because of me). And just like in the post on 48 things to write in a journal, I’ll be share enough prompts and suggestions for you to pick ones work for you.
This post contains some affiliate links below for your convenience (that means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, I’ll earn a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more). You can read my full disclosure policy here.
First, why do anything? Why not just leave things as they are?
Really? That’s not even an option.
Being that miserable guy/girl who’s on edge and unhappy is no fun for you, your coworkers, your family (trust me on this, your spouse/family are probably tired of hearing you complain).
Staying in that situation with no end in sight, no plan and no way to shift your energy from negative every day will burn you out. Or at least make you the person nobody wants to be around because you’re a tall glass of misery. (don’t be that person.ever!). Several things can help you shift your energy. Journal writing is one. Another trick I’ve used is meditation, like my meditation in the Self-Care Lounge to help you get through the day when you hate your job.
So, why does journal writing work so well?
Writing helps you change the situation by getting clear on what the problem is, how to solve it, and what you really want to do.
It also helps you relieve a lot of the tension and stress. Not much comes out of feeling over-stressed. It’s hard to do a good job, find a good job, start a side hustle, or anything else productive if you’re overspilling with stress and negative emotion.
Also, writing helps you actually do something. It’s easy to click around the web, consuming articles and videos, going to bed and waking up again to go to the same job you hate.
When you take pen to page, something happens. Your brain wakes up (even just a little) and recognizes that you’re serious and ready to make a change.
If you don’t have a fancy journal, no worries. You don’t need one for these prompts to still be effective. It’s great if you have one, but if you don’t, just use what you do have.
Grab a notebook or a few pieces of paper. Don’t make excuses to start. But handwriting is better than typing. It’s been proven for most of us, it’s more effective.
Here we go. Here are 10 things to write in a journal when you hate your job
Journal Prompt #1
What *specifically* do I hate about my job?
Why do you hate your job?
No vague statements, like, ‘I can’t stand that place and everyone there is a moron.’ That’s not useful. And you can’t do anything about your job situation till you know what exactly is bothering you most about the job. So write. Everything.
Go to town with this and don’t hold back (of course, as long as you’re not writing this on the work computer).
When writing this out, try to use descriptives and not just labels/insults.
‘My boss is unreasonable. They expect more from me than the time I have to do the job. They don’t seem to understand time constraints’
‘My boss is a complete fool.’
Do you see how this is specific and descriptive?
Maybe the second one feels right to you at the moment, because you’re feeling frustrated. And maybe they are a complete fool.
But writing that doesn’t give you any insight on the situation, what exactly you don’t like, what can be changed, and/or what you want to look for differently in the next job.
When did I start feeling this way?
Did you always hate your job?
Think back to when you started there. You probably enjoyed the job at one time. Did anything change? What? Around what time?
Again, be specific. try to identify when this feeling started and why.
Do I want to change departments, get promoted?
Write about what you want to do.
Have you thought about transferring to another department or role? Is this an option?
Have you done any research/thinking on this? If this is your choice, what do you need to do next?
I have decided to leave,…
What will I do? When? How?
This is about making your transition smooth(er). As much as you dread going to work now, it can always get worse. Don’t make a rash decision. Those rarely turn out well.
Write about what you need to do to make a move.
Do you need to:
*Reach out to your network (via text/phone/email/LinkedIn) and let them know you’re looking and what you are best suited for?
*Set a schedule to apply for x amount of jobs every day/week?
*Make x number of new LinkedIn connections every day/week?
*Start building a personal brand?
Do I need to gain more skills?
Sometimes it’s the level you’re on that most irritates you. If you want to move up (in pay/status/responsibility), you likely need to gain more skills.
How can you do that? What are your options?
Research/talk to people who’ve done this and find out what they did. There are a ton of online resources and forums now. No excuses. The internet has made things infinitely easier to connect with people and learn new things.
The issue is that it’s also made it infinitely easier to spend the evening on Netflix avoiding what you know you need to do. Don’t do this. You have to go back to that place you dread in the morning. Use that as motivation to do what you need to do to make a change.
Do I see any patterns in my work history?
Reflect on your work history for the past five or so years. Have you been here before (hating your job)? Several times? Is it the same ‘difficulties’ that are popping up over and over?
As you explore and write about this, you want to get clear on why this keeps happening.
That’s the only way you can make a positive change.
You want to figure out if you are lacking soft/hard skills, are having difficulty getting along with teammates/managers, are not doing thorough research before accepting a position, are doing work you just plain hate, etc.
Patterns can help you see this.
Do I want to start a side hustle?
I’ve side-hustled while at several jobs. Like everything, it takes work but has been game-changing for me every time for several reasons:
*If your side hustle is something you love, with a plan to eventually go full-time, it can energize you and make all the full-time work issues irrelevant. Suddenly, you’re not ‘sweating the small stuff’ at work because in the back of your mind, you know you have a plan and are taking action.
* If you’re unsure what you want to do career-wise A side hustle is a great way to figure out options. It lets you try stuff without all the angst and pressure of needing to earn money from it to pay bills.
A few side-hustle resources I dig:
*Side Hustle School Podcast – each episode is short and sweet, averaging 10 minutes (you can get tons of ideas and inspiration from this podcast).
*The host (Chris Guillebeau) also wrote a book: 100 Side Hustles: Unexpected Ideas for Making Extra Money Without Quitting Your Day Job
Side hustling on top of a job can be exhausting. If you’re already over-worked, you don’t need to add a side hustle, you need rest. At least to recharge.
You have to learn how to prioritize like a ninja and manage your time and energy like a champ.
Here’s a great interview by Becca of The Happy Ever Crafter with Scott Russell. He works full-time and also runs a side-hustle (or two) and gives tons of valuable information and tips in this video interview (below).
Now, we’re going to flip the script. No matter what decision you make (based on the prompts above), while you’re still at the job and need to endure it. I know, I’ve been there so many times, it’s painful asf.
How to feel better right now (while you’re still in the job you hate)
Three reasons I’m actually grateful for my job
The pay is obviously one of them. But go deep with this. What does that paycheck allow you to do (live in a house/apartment, buy things, feed yourself/your family)?
There may be a lot of reasons why you hate your job, but if you really think about it, there’s a lot of reasons why you appreciate it, too.
Three things I’ve learned from my job
These may be direct hard skills you learned on the job but they may also be things you’ve learned about yourself or the clientele/customers you serve.
Just like prompt #8, you don’t have to stop with three things. If you can think of more, list them.
This co-worker is pretty cool…
Write about one cool/interesting/fascinating/funny person you’ve connected with just by working at this job. List more than one if there are a few. There usually always are a few cool people, no matter how crappy the workplace.
In the Self-Care Lounge, there are more prompts and resources on different topics to help you make it through the day. Sign up to enter the resource library here:
Hating your job is common. Doing something smart about it is not. Most people stay in jobs they hate, getting more bitter every day. You are not most people.
Use your journal (or notebook or whatever you have) to figure out your best options, release some of that tension, and stop sitting in your car before work dreading the day ahead. You don’t have to feel that way.
You can change how you feel or make a plan to change jobs.
Either way, it’s a choice.
And because I’m ‘unconventional’ by nature (can’t help it. I’ve tried). I figured I’d round out this post with a few unconventional resources that may help (every one of these has helped me in some way). Enjoy!
If you’re really daring: 10 Reasons You Have to Quit Your Day Job
Need more help?
You’ll also like the mini-meditation in the Self-Care Lounge to help you get through the day when you hate your job.