First off, I’d like to congratulate you.
It takes a lot of strength to keep going each day to a job you hate. You could have run screaming from your cubicle ages ago. You could have just melted into a pool of boredom in the staff lounge.
But you’re sticking it out.
And more importantly, you’re involved in a process of figuring out what kind of work you really want to be doing and how to get to there from here.
In the meantime, you have this boring or toxic or stressful job to contend with until you can find or create something better. Here are some ideas to help you cope:
See the job as your teacher. Any difficult situation holds the opportunity for emotional growth. It’s very possible that your job is providing the exact conditions necessary for you to change in ways that will enhance every part of your life.
Do you need to learn greater understanding or assertiveness with difficult people? Do you need to develop patience? The ability to hold onto your dream when you’re feeling discouraged?
Ask yourself right now what you might have to learn.
Enjoy whatever you can about your job. What good exists there? The people? The schedule? Opportunities to develop new skills?
Unless you’re in a dangerous or highly unethical environment you can find something good about your job. Focus on this.
Appreciate the job you have and think often about the parts you like, especially if there aren’t many. You may miss these things in a better job that you’ll have down the road.
And oh – if you are in a hazardous environment physically, emotionally or legally, get out immediately.
Be around people. You need others now more than ever. It’s easy to avoid people when you’re down, or complain to the point that your friends wish you would isolate yourself.
Have lunch with someone every day. (And you must take a lunch break.)
Look around for a job-hunters’ or career development support group.
Take walks during your breaks (you must take breaks) and ask a co-worker to come with you.
Don’t give up! This job is temporary.
Even in this difficult economy, you aren’t condemned to a dead-end job.
You’re in the process of creating a great career, and nothing can throw you off this path. Celebrate your courage, your smarts, and your conviction that you can have more.