By Ashley Stahl, Originally Published in Forbes

In a perfect world, ice cream wouldn’t have calories, you would never get stuck in traffic, and you would always have a job you love.

…But we exist in an imperfect world, and face challenges quite often. I have held bad jobs, so I speak from experience when I say that having a job you love is not a guarantee; it’s a goal.

So if you’re knee-deep in job hunting while also dreading waking up for work the next day, I have some tips that can help you cope with your current less-than-ideal position.

1.Stop being part of the cast in the “Gossip Girl” series…

On rare occasions, gossip can be a harmless and effective tool to share information in the workplace (think: leadership changes at the corporate level), but more often than not, gossip breeds a highly negative working environment. With some studies reporting over 90% of workplace conversations are gossip it may be tough to avoid entirely, but you can (and should) control your involvement.

If you find yourself eating lunch while gossiping to a co-worker about your boss (for the fourth time this week) change the topic to something positive, upbeat, and non-office related. It won’t work in your favor if your coworker feels judged by your conversation change, so be graceful in changing the topic! By all means, do NOT contribute.

…Stewing over that email from a superior? Resist the urge to immediately complain about it to your office allies. Instead, take a walk or grab a coffee until you have processed.

If you are in a toxic or negative work environment, make very sure that you are not a top contributor. Bonus: your professional reputation will thank you. And so will your bank account.

  1. Get a hobby.

Sure, you feel miserable at work, but what about when you get home? Do you have something besides a drink to look forward to? It’s always five o’clock somewhere!A recent labor poll showed that we spend about five hours a day in leisure. Compare that to an average eight-hour workday… see the imbalance? So, how are you spending your precious leisure time?

If you don’t have a hobby aside from venting to your roommates/partner/friends about how much you hate your job, now is seriously(!!!) the time to develop one. While there isn’t much research on the topic, hobbies are widely known to reduce stress, promote positive self-care habits, and sharpen your mind. The positive benefits of your hobby can translate into a more positive attitude at work.

It doesn’t need to be complicated, either. Some of my clients’ favorite hobbies include reading fiction, walking the dog, or writing short stories. If you need some inspiration, check out this list.

  1. Become friends with your HR department.

Aside from the obvious benefits of salary, sick days, health insurance, or 401k, there is a high probability (78% to be precise) your employer focuses on employee engagement and retention; take note!

If you work for a larger organization, pay a visit the HR department. Some companies offer discounts on everything from movie tickets to gym memberships, while other organizations may pay for you to attend job-specific seminars or offer tuition reimbursement. Take advantage of these offerings. If your organization doesn’t offer much other than sick days, consider proposing your own benefits.

…Even a four-day workweek could put some more pep in your step.

If all else fails, turn your job into your networking platform and get to know the key players in the organization face to face. Stop by their office or ask for lunch (rather than sending a quick email)… If you make the choice alone to stop starring at your phone and keep your eyes open for a conversation in the elevator, it would even transform your network.

If you see a deficiency in a policy or process, find a solution and present it to your supervisor. The initiative will give you a renewed sense of purpose and the execution, confidence.

Being in a job that doesn’t suit you, for any reason, can be draining. In these situations it’s imperative to maintain positivity, perform well, and continue to invest in your future successes. Having a dreadful job is miserable, but having a dreadful mindset is worse.


  • I'm a career coach, keynote speaker, podcast host (You Turn Podcast) and author, here to help you step into a career you're excited about and aligned with. This may look like coaching you 1:1, hosting you in one of my courses, or meeting you at one of workshops or keynote speaking engagements! I also own CAKE Media, a house of ghostwriters, copywriters, publicists and SEO whizzes that help companies and influencers expand their voice online. Before being an entrepreneur, I was an award-winning counterterrorism professional who helped the Pentagon in Washington, DC with preparing civilians to prepare for the frontlines of the war on terror.