Survival Guide: What to do when a shitty job gets even shittier

June 5, 2019

Photo by Arnel Hasanovic

We’ve all been there. In that horrible mental place where we feel stuck, angry, depleted, emotionally drained, and those awful feelings are budding from a very significant place in your life… your day job. You’re living paycheck to paycheck, your boss refuses to give you the raise or promotion you deserve, you work insane hours with very little reward or maybe your job is just painfully dull and your boss is a tyrant. Regardless of your situation, pretty much everyone who has a traditional job started off shoveling shit for a living (metaphorically speaking of course). Oh, if only our professors in college had prepared us for how bleak, unfair and soul-crushing the corporate world could be, maybe we’d beat ourselves up less for going through these growing pains.

But here’s the thing, these growing pains are kind of inevitable. And, you bet your sweet ass this sucks right now, but complaining about how awful corporate America is, how shitty the pay is, or how completely mind-numbing your job is will not get you any closer to living an inspired life. You know what will? Taking action my friend, that will get us all closer to our dream lives. That’s why I’ve rounded up my personal tips, tricks, and action plan to elevate your career and your life. But since I’m still in the early stages of my career development, I’ve also rounded up some incredible resources from people way smarter than me with more experience in this subject. I hope these articles and tips will help you feel motivated to take just one action to make tomorrow better than today.

And just a quick reminder, all of the advice listed below might not be a great fit for you. Just take what feels right and leave the rest. Unless we win the lottery, we are not going to magically prosper overnight. It’s going to be a process full of hard work, mistakes, tears and, for me, a ton of wine, but we will get there as long as we get back up every time we get off track. And isn’t that why we are all here? To encourage each other and help each other focus on curating beautiful lives - I certainly hope so.

The Problem: I want to be paid my worth

How to change it: So my first step would be to ask for a raise or a promotion (which should come with a raise). If that request gets denied, and you’ve worked your butt off and deserve one, it’s time to start looking for another job my friend. But I once heard that you never want to run away from a job because you might be running right into a worse work situation. So in order to avoid accepting a job offer in an act of desperation, look into picking up a side hustle. Having a higher income will allow us to see our current job and any potential new jobs with a healthier perspective. Now that you’re not moving on to a new job just to pay the bills, you are buying yourself time to find a job you will actually like… now that sounds like a dream. And don’t worry, I’ve included some links regarding how to stay sane at your day job while you’re job hunting.
P.S. We will go into job hunting skills in another post - tbd.

16 Ways to Make a Lot of Money Without Another Full-Time Job or Degree

How to Ask for a Promotion (and Actually Get It)

How To Survive A Job You Hate (But Can't Leave – Yet)

The Problem: I want a more challenging and fulfilling job

How to change it: So there are two main options here. One, come up with a list of tasks and projects you would like to take on at work, put them into a neat little presentation, and pitch them to your boss. I happen to have an amazing boss who LOVES to hear all of our new ideas when it comes to growth and development… if you’re not that lucky - it’s time to look for a new job.

How To Stay Sane At The Job You Hate – From Women Who’ve Been There

The Problem: I need to work in a less toxic work environment

How to change it: So you’ve talked to HR and they didn’t do shit. You’re already job hunting. You have a list of 20-30 companies that you would love to work for, but what can you do in the meantime? My friend, you need to find a mentor who’s been in your shoes. This can be an internal mentor or you can use Bumble Bizz or Linkedin to connect with someone. You need an ally, and you need an outsider's perspective to remind you that this is a freaking temporary situation.

11 Tips For Staying Sane in a Toxic Work Environment

The Problem: I feel lost and don’t know what the f**k I want to do with my life

How to change it: Reflection. Reflecting, reading, researching and trying new things is literally the only way you’ll figure out what you want to do. If you don’t like reflecting because you hate the emotions that come with it, you honestly just have to suck it up and accept that you might cry during this exercise. But that pain will move us forward, so it’s completely worth it. You can always have a glass of wine (or 2) while you reflect and write out everything that interests you.

Listen to this (5-minute watch w/ Marie Forleo): How do I figure out what I want

And this (8-minute watch w/ Marie Forleo): Feeling Lost

Ted Talk: Refusing to Settle - The Quarter Life Crisis - 16-minute watch

Book Recommendation - You’re Not Lost

The Problem: I f***ing hate corporate America and want to run my own business

How to change it: It. Is. Time. To, Moonlight. Quitting your job until your side-hustle replaces your current source of income is non-negotiable unless you have a trust fund or live with someone else who's paying the bills. And even then, it’s pretty risky to quit your job and be financially dependent on someone else. Do you really want someone else to be in control of your future? I sure as hell don’t, so the daily grind continues and you wake up at the crack of dawn to work on your business before you head into work. And you add a 3rd shift to your day after you get home from the office and the gym. And you make a lot of sacrifices. This is the stage I am in, and I might be in this stage for a while.

I know successful entrepreneurs who also have day jobs because it’s a constant source of income. Running your own business means you don’t always get a paycheck each month. Maybe you want to keep your day job for a few years and just cut back on the hours you work. But if that sounds like a death sentence, then start working harder and smarter than you’ve ever worked before. Action is the only way any of us will be able to grow our businesses enough to sustain our lifestyles. Trust me, I’m eating my words as I type them. I have to step my game up and start taking my own freaking advice.

On Mental Wellness
One thing I’ve learned the hard way is that our businesses and our careers cannot successfully thrive if we don’t take care of our mental and physical health. If we neglect ourselves for a season, we might be able to get away with it. But if we neglect ourselves for too long, we will burn out and breakdown. So go ahead and add self-care to your daily to-do list while pursuing goals. It’s a  necessity.

Podcast (28-minute listen) Why you aren’t taking action

A Little Inspo (57-minute listen) SDH 268: Corporate America to Six-Figure Entrepreneur in Less than 4 Months with Julie Ciardi

SDH 304: How to Create Self-Discipline and Drive Within Yourself with Amanda Boleyn

And here are a few resources to deal with feeling down while job hunting

Let me know what your game plan is to create a better life for yourself in the comments below. And if you have any tips you’d like to share, please do!! We all need as much help as we can get. Sending you all the love and prosperity in the world my friend. Cheers to a brighter career, because your current job is just a stepping stone on your way to success. Until next time.

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