Don’t fall into the-grass-is-greener trap. Exhaust every opportunity to balance your frustrations at your current role before looking for a new one.

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We all have bad days at work, a boss who just doesn’t get it or the general dread that comes when you feel disconnected from your job’s menial tasks. When you’ve reached your breaking point, the typical reaction is to polish your resume and start your job search without considering whether you’ve truly done all you can do to enjoy your current job.

You’ve already put in significant time and effort with this company – so have you already taken advantage of all their benefits and training opportunities, one that will propel you ahead of your competition when it’s time to leave?

And not to harp on your resume, but are you prepared to defend to a hiring manager why you only stayed with this company for a year? Or what about the great story you could create for yourself about how you tackled the difficult situation you’re in now and made it work?

Don’t fall into the-grass-is-greener trap. Be sure to exhaust every opportunity to balance your frustrations at your current role before looking for a new one.

Need to get pumped up? Here are four ways to learn to like your current job again:

1. Take stock

Inventory all the skills you have the potential to learn in this position and how you could apply them to future jobs. Having broad knowledge of a skill is helpful when breaking in to a new role, but being considered a subject matter expert with an expanded skill set will set you apart in the candidate pool.

Set a goal for each skill on your inventory list and commit to reaching those goals before moving on. When you focus on growing your expertise in specific areas, you’ll be able to seek out more relevant experience and obtain applicable skills more quickly, which mean you’ll head on to your next opportunity that much sooner.

2. Downshift

Being an overachiever sometimes works to your advantage, but being an overachiever all of the time can lead to burnout. Instead, adjust your engagement levels to better match those around you and your current workload. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress by working late and constantly checking your email, but you can continue to be a successful employee without doing these things 100 percent of the time.

Think of driving a manual transmission car and downshifting from fifth to third gear. The car continues to drive at a high level of performance, just not as fast. Apply this same principle to your approach to your day – don’t answer every email the moment it comes in; turn your email notification light off when you leave work for the day; leave on-time; and stop scrambling altogether.

Try it for a week and see what happens. You’ll likely experience some anxiety about not working as hard, but most people will not even notice a difference as long as you continue to get your work done, and you’ll have less to regret at the end of the day.

3. Set break reminders

Taking breaks is easily forgotten when you’re focused and busy at work, so schedule them!

Set a pop-up calendar reminder every few hours to take a 15-minute break – get up from your cube, walk around or surf the web. This study shows that when employees take breaks, they’re not only more productive overall, but also happier.

In addition to taking mini-breaks, leave your desk for lunch and, if possible, go outside. Giving yourself extended time outside of your cube environment in the middle of the day will break up the monotony of the 9-to-5 and help you feel refreshed and more energized.

4. Find value and meaning

Connect with what you’re already doing. You are adding value and meaning through your work, to someone each and every day.

If this isn’t readily apparent, dig deeper. How are your actions helping a coworker or impacting a customer? Don’t think big; instead, think small. You have a thousand opportunities each and every day to pitch in and help others at work. So remember how your actions are already creating positive results and seek out new ways to find meaning in what you do.

Reconnecting with your current role will help you gain even more experience without having to jump into a new situation. And getting pumped about your job will not only make your workday not suck, it will also help you feel good about other aspects of your life, too.

Melissa Anzman is a career coach, blogger and former Human Resources insider who helps people fall in love with their jobs again. Melissa’s based in Atlanta and blogs at Loosen Your White Collar.


  1. Kish Montecillo

    Very edifying will definitely help me a lot. Also aside from this I also find Peggy Mckee webinar equally informative as this.

  2. Ismail N

    “You are right to write about this. Job-hopping has become a kind of habit for many young ones nowadays, and bring anguish at the end of the day. I believe everyone who’s thinking of leaving their job should consider your points first. Great writing!”

    • MellyMel

      Thank you Ismail – I am not at all against people leaving a company, but it’s definitely prudent to be sure you’ve captured as much as possible from the company before hopping to the next one. Especially when you are starting out, sometimes sticking it out a few more months, makes all of the difference.

  3. SLV

    Downshift? Really? When so many of us are doing the work of 2-3 people just to keep our jobs, how is it possible to downshift? Corporate America has only two modes: those who don’t produce and those of us picking up their slack. So yes, maybe I do need to find another job – actually, another career – where this typical disfunctional culture is not the norm.

    • MellyMel

      Hi SLV – I completely understand you questioning the downshift. But the intent behind “downshifting” is to actively do things that add the most value, not trying to do everything all at once. It’s giving yourself some space and time to complete the important tasks, without feeling stressed out about doing everything right this minute. And from being in Corporate America for many years, there are always many different levels of achievement and drive. It’s about stepping back and refreshing the type of employee you are versus the employee you’ve perhaps become due to taking on so many different things.

      Start small, if possible – for me, one the of the things that used to stress me out, was checking emails constantly when I was at home. So I gave myself a few windows where I’d be on my BB, and after those time slots, my phone was put away so I could enjoy time with my family and create a better balance. So downshifting may be inside or outside of the office, but it’s absolutely possible, and I think you’d be surprised how unnoticeable it can be.

  4. Anonymous

    A bad job is actually GOOD for you. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but my last bad boss & job was honestly one of the BEST things that ever happened to me. Without that bad boss/job, I’d probably still be stuck in an unfulfilling, frustrating job,

    If you hate your job, use your negative emotions to propel you toward something better. Keep thinking about your crazy boss and lousy job each day, and you can motivate yourself to take actions–even small steps–every day that move you to a better situation.

    I made the transition from frustrated employee–with a micromanaging boss–to satisfied business owner. I started a consulting business part-time, and built it into my full-time gig, and QUADRUPLED what I used to make at my day job–and have much more flexibility & financial security.

    Whether you decide to start your own consulting business as I and lots of others have done, you can use a bad job to propel you toward a better place.

    Greg Miliates

    • MellyMel

      Hi Greg – Great perspective! Some of my biggest personal growth experiences were when I was in a “bad job.” It is a great way to challenge yourself to try different approaches and learn more about who you are. All of which are transferable skills to your next adventure – whether that’s doing your own thing, or finding a better fit.

  5. JJInfra

    Thanks for such a nice information.

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