How to Manage Life at Work in a Job You Hate

When you realize that the average American spends over two thousand hours per year at work, almost half of their total waking time in a year, it quickly becomes clear how much of an impact your life at work can have on your life in general. Knowing how to make the most out of your life at work can greatly improve your quality of life, and at no time is this more important than when you're working in a job you dislike.

First, be friendly. Chances are, at least one other person is as unhappy with their job as you are with yours, so that can be a point of bonding. Or you may find that you share outside interests with others at work. Either way, you should always be cordial and pleasant to your co-workers, because nothing can make your work life less miserable like having someone to share it with.
A corollary of being friendly is never, ever talking about your co-workers or boss behind their backs, even though it is extremely tempting to vent when you're in a job you hate. Although participating in the office grapevine may initially ingratiate you to your co-workers, there truly is no quicker way to get burned. In the politics of life at work, what goes around inevitably comes around.

However, don't be too friendly. You were hired to work, not chat, play fantasy football, or forward e-mails, and your boss can make your work life much more unpleasant if they find out that you're slacking. Not being overly friendly is also an good way to protect yourself from scheming or sticky-fingered co-workers. You need to set boundaries, and likewise respect the boundaries that your co-workers set for you. This is an integral step for keeping yourself sane in your life at work, and lets others know that you are not a good person to "borrow" supplies from, or an easy mark for backstabbing.

Finally, in order to keep your life at work from ruining your life outside work when you're in a job you hate, find ways to make the most of your non-work time. If you come home and crash on the couch every day after work, the highlight of the non-work portion of your day becomes a TV show or a bag of chips, which is not only physically and psychologically unhealthy, but can make you feel even more miserable when you are actually at work. By giving yourself something to look forward to -- say, a post-work bike ride or home facial -- you can actually make your work time go by more quickly.

Spending most of your waking hours in a job you hate can be a nightmare, but is sometimes unavoidable. Whether it's gossipy co-workers, unpleasant bosses, or simply a boring job, a bad work life can quickly put a damper on the rest of your time. However, by following a few simple steps, you can keep your work life from making you miserable.

Feeling down at work and thinking you need a new career? It is possible! There are opportunities for every person, even if they don't have much time or money for college.

By Jade Knight

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