Enduring a Job You Cannot Stand

I was once recruited to a job that wasn’t what it claimed to be. I never would have said yes to it if I’d realized exactly what I’d be getting myself into. After about a month I’d had enough, but my financial situation was such that I couldn’t quit without having something to replace it. So, I found ways to endure the horrible job while actively seeking out employment elsewhere. Here are some of the tips and tricks I developed during that season of captivity:

Formulate mantras

Mantras can give you courage and strength. I put mine on pop-up reminders on my phone that interrupted my distress throughout the day. Some of them were:

  • “You can only do what you can do. Everything else must wait til tomorrow.”
  • “It’s not your fault, don’t let it ruin your day.”
  • “You are not Super Woman, you cannot save the day.”
  • “The worst thing that will happen is they fire you, and you can overcome that, too.”
  • “Honey badger don’t care, honey badger don’t give a f***.”

Pretend every day is your first day

This helped me lower my too-high expectations I had for myself that I should be more capable than they trained me to be, it removed baggage from previous bad days (what bad days? Today is my first day!), and it gave me freedom to reinvent myself every day into a more mellow and emotionally-detached person rather than feel the pressure to remain the same chipper and fake-friendly person I pretended to be on the first day (#socialintrovertproblems).

Shut off your work brain at home

I.e. “think happy thoughts.” After venting or crying to my husband for an appropriate amount of time when I got home, I needed to get my mind off of work. I didn’t want that place to own me at home, too. We planned activities or had conversations that made us happy, which gave me something to look forward to as I trudged through the workday, and it let me leave work at work while I was distracted by more worthy thoughts and activities at home.

Form an alliance / friendship at work

It may be difficult to find out who hates working there as much as you do, especially if they are afraid of being fired. But if you do know someone who wants out as much as you do, consider them your ally, the person who “gets it” and makes it more bearable to be there. Vent to each other, encourage each other, and console one another when necessary. I’d advise if you’re married, that you limit the venting / consoling to coworkers of a gender you are not (or would not in the future become) attracted to. Just don’t risk it.

Milk it for every resume-building skill you can

Learn as much as you can, volunteer for the projects that will be great to brag about on your resume, and write down any accomplishments you make along the way (also to add to your resume).

Apply your way out (or up)

Don’t feel guilty about looking for something that works better for you. Keep in mind, however, that future employers may question your reliability if you hop around too frequently. So weigh your pros and cons, determine if there’s a minimum number of months you will stay for your resume’s sake, and look around. It doesn’t really hurt to look. And if you find a possible dream job, it doesn’t really hurt to apply (as long as you check the box that says you want the potential employer to NOT contact your current employer—definitely don’t want them to catch wind that you are hoping to quit before you’re ready to).


May you find your own ways to endure your horrible job for the time being, and may you hold on to hope for something better.

Writing Themed Resumes

Back when I was desperately searching for work, I was neither very efficient nor effective at first. My generic resume didn’t really sell me very well for each particular job I applied to, so I rewrote it for every single one. That, on top of writing unique cover letters for each job application, was taking too long, discouraging me, and not getting me any results. There had to be a middle ground between 1 overly-generic resume and 25 overly-specific ones.

There was! At first, it was to make two differently-themed resumes: one for office work (what I really wanted), and one for general labor (my back-up option). The office resume highlighted my work with filing systems and computer programs; the labor resume highlighted my ability to work long hours, to keep things clean and organized. Of course there was overlap, but I took the skills off that were irrelevant to the theme of the job I’d be applying to with each type of resume.

From there my office-themed resume expanded to a few different sub categories: one that emphasized working at a university, one that emphasized my background in fundraising, one that emphasized my experience putting on events and programs. I could see myself in any of these kinds of office jobs.

Once I had 5 or 6 themed resumes, I found it much easier to apply for various jobs. Instead of fussing over an entirely new resume every time, I could just focus on creating good letters of introduction (i.e. cover letters) to sell myself, and just attach an already-completed but relevant-to-the-job-at-hand resume. Way less time-consuming, less stressful, more effective.

Feel free to use this tip to get yourself organized in your own job search! And good luck!

Retiring the Credit Card

I hate credit card debt. Nothing good comes from it, and I have tons of regret whenever I dig myself into a hole. For every dollar of debt I’ve added to my credit card, and for every dollar of interest laid on top of that, I am throwing money down the drain, and I can think of many other things I’d rather put those dollars toward than the decisions I regret making in the past. Imagine what I could buy now (or save toward) if the $500 I have budgeted for my credit card payments could be used for something else! Like being able to visit my long-distance family and friends for the holidays, or to save toward a down payment on a house.

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Penny Pinching: Recycling the Old Calendar

When you live month to month and have retired your credit card, sometimes you have to decide between getting paper towels or getting toilet bowl cleaner; face moisturizer or a fresh, non-rusty razor blade refill. There’s not a whole lot of wiggle room for extraneous purchases, so you either go without some things for a while, or get creative with the things you already have.

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Unemployed Full-Time Work

Some of my longest, most depressing, and most anxiety-filled months were those in which both myself and my husband were unemployed, with rent and bills piling up every month on my credit card. Having that kind of stress and fear hanging over our heads was debilitating. To the degree that occasionally, out of hopelessness, we stopped applying to as many jobs as we could and just succumbed to the inertia that grabbed at us. Not getting the results for which we’d hoped discouraged us from putting more effort into trying.

I found that I needed a perspective-shift.

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