Know How to Deal with a Bad Job?


What Is The Right Way to Deal With It?

Should you stick with it, wait and see, or start updating your resume? If your job is going from bad to worse, you need to come up with a game plan. Here are a few ideas that might help you -- find a way to get a handle on what is going on, define your options, and evaluate when to call it quits.

Ultimately, right answer for you depends on you, your current situation and what you expect will happen in the future.


Understand the Current Situation

The first step is often the hardest, and that is the case here. You need to get an accurate and complete idea of what is really going on. If you have read our page Figuring Out What Went Wrong, you know what the problem is. So now you need to ...


Step 1 - Identify The Size of The Problem


Step 2 - Identify The Nature of The Problem


Step 3 - Identify If The Problem Is Getting Worse or Better


Understand Your Options

You have several options to consider. The best way we know to define and evaluate them is to look at the circumstances under which you would ...

Take a few minutes and see if you can clearly define what the circumstances are that define these three options for you.


Be Happy To Stay

Above you imagined what needed to happen in order to restore your job to its former "dreaminess". That defines an ideal state where you would definitely be happy to stay with the company.


Be Happy To Leave

There is also a set of circumstances under which you would be so unhappy with your current job (or feel so confident you could find another dream job) that you would be happy to leave. This is the point at which you feel in your heart it is clearly time to leave.

So take a moment to imagine and write down what would need to happen for you to decide it was time to move on. Your list should include all of the things that would immediately make you decide to start looking for another dream job. These usually are things that violate deeply held values or signal that it is no longer worth waiting to see if things will improve. Your list should also include the combination of smaller things that together make it clear it is time to quit.


Wait And See

This is a hard place to define, a virtual "no mans land" between being 'happy to stay' and 'happy to leave'. Many people get stuck here, often for years -- not happy about staying but not quite unhappy enough to leave.

Therefore it is critical that you know how much of your dream job ingredients you are willing to give up and for how long. Because that is what you are doing -- working at a job you no longer totally love, waiting to see if things will get better. So take a few minutes and look at the difference between the two job descriptions you created above (your dream job and current job). Now put a time frame in terms of weeks, months or years for how long you are willing to go without this ingredient in order to see if the job will improve.

This list of what you are sacrificing helps you ...


Three States Clarify Where You Are

Once you have defined these three states, you can now determine which one you are in. You also can clearly see what it will take to make you happy to stay or unhappy enough to start looking for your new dream job.

This clarity really helps you deal with the daily and weekly ups and downs. How? By helping you decide in advance what you want and how you will react if things get worse. Now, instead of worrying, your focus is on observing what is happening and monitoring how things are going. A lot of the uncertainty, doubt, and fear are sidestepped when you have thought through and know what you will do when, or if, you see certain things happen. So much of the problem with jobs gone bad and jobs from hell is getting so deeply involved in the emotional impact and spending all your time wishing things were different. Instead, you want to step back and focus calmly on the action you need to take.


Understand When & How To Call It Quits

When you have worked at a dream job, it can be very hard to leave it, even if it no longer fits you. It helps if you realize that everything around you is evolving and changing -- you, your co-workers, your boss, your company and your customers. Sometimes, through no fault of anyone, things grow apart and your current job no longer meets your dream job description.

Many people hang on far too long, not recognizing that once the "dreaminess" of a job is gone, it rarely returns. So learning how and when to move on is a good skill to develop. We recommend the following ...


avoid bad jobs in the future


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