How to Hate Your Job a Little Less

Donlyn Turnbull
7 min readMar 16, 2021

And why it has nothing to do with your horrible boss acting like such a…

I’ve had my share of crummy jobs and looking back, I realize that none of them were a waste of time.

Including the ones that felt like some medieval torture device.

Jobs are a lot like relationships. If it didn’t work out, as you and your tear-stained cheeks walk away, you realize lessons were learned that made you better — a better worker with experience, and many times, a better human.

There are things you can do right now to help make your job experience a much more positive one, and none of them involve changing someone else’s behavior. If only.

The answer to our happiness on or off the job remains with one participant. Ourselves. That’s good news.

“But you don’t know my boss or my coworkers!” You may say.

Oh, sure, they may steal your lunch from the fridge. Put you down. Dismiss you. Curse you out. Belittle your very existence. Wait, where was I going with this? Oh yeah, it doesn’t matter.

Changing our situation doesn’t rely on anyone else’s behavior. So here are some practical tools that you can use to make your Monday mornings less miserable.

Own Your Power

Often, we want to do a good job and make our bosses or coworkers happy. Is that really so hard to do?

A lot of job satisfaction comes from a job well done. Sadly, certain personality types take great pleasure in their attempts to make certain we never measure up.

Even if we are doing a fabulous job, they have a way of making us believe that we are miserable failures.

And have you ever had a boss that seems to actually enjoy it when we hit our breaking point and come completely undone?

They saunter back to their corner office with a smug look of satisfaction while they file a new notch into their corner desk.

I'm not too fond of those kinds of people.

That’s where owning our power comes into play. But what exactly does that look like?

Do you find yourself saying things like, “Brad made me so angry at work today.”? Or maybe, “Marsha makes me feel like shit on every project I do.”

My apologies to the Brads and Marshas of the world, but stop giving them that power over you.

Remind yourself that no one can “make” feel you anything. Our feelings, responses, reactions, emotions, and whether we choose to throw our cute little desk succulent across the room in a fit of rage are all our choices.

We choose where our energy goes. So stop giving Brad and Marsha your energy. They don’t deserve it.

Plus, they’ll flip out when they realize their little game isn’t working on you anymore.

Take that, Brad and Marsha!

Set Good Boundaries

“Why no, I won’t be able to do that project for you this weekend since I’m getting married.”

I’m not getting married, I’ve actually just known people who have been asked to do things for their employer when they were off during the week of their wedding. Same employer. Two different people. Am I detecting a pattern here?

Here is why you can’t, mustn’t, DON’T DO IT; I TELL YA, and give in to their demands. This sets a precedence that they will too happily continue to push.

That’s the part where you start hating life.

This is a power play. If someone asks something that crosses a major boundary, you need to do your best “Captain Barbosa” and politely be disinclined to acquiesce to their request. It means no.

Can I get some Pirates of the Caribbean all up in here? No? Okay.

That way, you aren’t left feeling bitter. A boundary has been set.

They’ll try a few more times too. Please stick to your guns and go above and beyond only when it calls for it. But not too ridiculous lengths. Okay?

Oh, and if they threaten to fire you, make sure you get it in writing what they are threatening you with and why. Go to your HR department if you have one.

If it comes down to threats, I’d be passionately looking for an alternate job where basic human protocols are observed and respected.

Be Bold

Many times, when we act confidently and boldly, people respond to us with respect even if they may disagree with us.

It’s a little scary to conquer your fears and ask for that raise — or have those difficult conversations. It may not be your nature to be so bold.

It’s not my nature. I prefer the back row of the office, preferably behind a large office plant where I will have meaningful conversations with the moth that lives in my blinds.

And my three most dreaded words from any employer are “team-building exercises.” My introverted self goes into an internal hysteria, only comforted by large amounts of alcohol. But since drinking on the job is frowned upon, I instead act “as-if.”

I act as if I am bold and therefore speak up with authority and typically volunteer to go first in any said teambuilding torture.

It’s not how I feel at that moment. It’s how I am acting and therefore perceived. You get what you want more times when you ask for it. And I like being treated with respect at my job.

Fortune favors the bold, baby! That’s my actual Clan Turnbull family motto. But I’ll let you use it this one time.

Keep Your Sense of Humor

It’s okay to look at your boss a little dispassionately and realize what a weirdo they really are. Try to look at things objectively and laugh at them.

I mean, probably it’s not wise to do this to their face but hey, behind their backs? Why not? And to preserve your own sanity? Go you!

I like to imagine that my coworkers are really in a sitcom about a dysfunctional family. Oh, there’s crazy Uncle Albert who constantly name drops every slightly famous person he’s ever been in the same room with. Then every time he namedrops, I silently in my head yell, “SHOT!”

Again, the job drinking is “strictly forbidden,” I just put it on my tab to drink when I arrive safely at home.

Or maybe you can even try to equate different coworkers with The Office characters. I don’t know.

What. Ever. It. Takes. To. Save. Your. Sanity. Yes, I was clapping.

Keep the Daydream Alive

This may be your dream job that you wish to work at for the next eleven bazillion-ty years. But, if it’s not, make time to work on what it is that you really want to do.

I’m not going to lie. It takes a lot of discipline to keep your day job while working on your daydream, but it’s crazy how much better you feel when you consistently work toward that thing that feeds your soul.

When you are taking small, consistent, active steps toward your dream, you seem to be a lot more unfazed by all the crap you have to deal with at your job.

You fantasize about the day you can yell, “I’m outta here, bitches!”

Then you take your succulent and your moth, your nasty-ass coffee mug that you haven’t properly washed for a year-and-a-half, and a handful of free company pens that you are convinced you’ll need, and head out the door.

It’s a good feeling and worth working toward.


Gratitude? That’s my favorite!

When we focus on all the good in our lives, it turns it into more. But how can you be grateful when you are so miserable?

You can be grateful for that coworker that you now call a friend. You can be grateful for the connections you are making.

Maybe your company put you through some Excel training, and now everyone calls you the Excel King and comes to you for help. You can put that experience to some good use in the future. Because seriously, Excel?

I’m going out on a limb here and tell you that I practice being grateful for the bad stuff too. I was grateful for that boss who seemed to be hellbent on destroying anything within a hundred-mile radius, myself included.

I could look at her and see that her behavior was entirely about her and her issues. That makes a girl feel warm and fuzzy. “Um, it’s totally you and not me.”

I even left that job because of my boss, and I’m grateful I did. Now I have my dream boss. Yes, it’s me! But we get along, so it’s okay.

I’m grateful for that crummy boss who made me appreciate all the great bosses I’ve had.

That’s my best advice, and good luck to you with your work endeavors. Mainly I want you to know that you are worth being treated well, and I hope you and your succulent will be very happy now. I’m rooting for you.

Watch the video version of this article here.

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Donlyn Turnbull

Dearly beloved. We are gathered here today to write about this thing called life. (Life transformation writer.)