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By Robert Pagliarini
What to do when you hate your job? You definitely can't talk about it. Your spouse may commiserate with you but will ultimately tell you that you have to keep earning a living. Your friends will tell you to suck it up and to be happy you even have a job. And, of course, they are all right. You've got to pay the bills, and there are millions who are unemployed that would kill to have a job they hated. So what should you do? If you're feeling particularly philosophical (or maybe nostalgic for early 80s pop music), you may ask yourself, "Well, how did I get here?"
Just because you have to earn a living, and just because there are people who are unemployed, doesn't mean you have to (a) love your job or (b) be condemned to a life where you hate driving to work every morning. Here are three options to help you create a richer life by getting out of a job you hate:
If you're on a dead-end career track and don't see things getting any better for you, use the other eight hours to get some new skills. But not just any skills. French for beginners and watercolor painting don't count. I'm talking about very specific and marketable skills that you know companies are seeking. Something you can learn and immediately use to get several better paying job offers. Maybe it's data entry, customer service skills, medical billing or paralegal training. If you're short on money and/or time, don't bother with a degree -- these are too general, and you won't learn a specific skill you can use on Monday morning. Instead, get a certificate or designation. These are much more specialized and are what some companies want to see on a resume.
If you don't have any skills and are stuck in a real dead-end job (e.g., one where moving up to "fry guy" is a promotion), you've got to get creative. Stay employed at
Whether you've bounced your way up or you are just not satisfied with your current career choice, you can use the other eight hours to get a new career. First you've got to figure out what you want to do. Focus on your strengths and identify a career that you'd not only be good at doing, but one that you'd be happy doing. Learn what it takes to get that job. Do an informational interview. What education is required? What skills are needed? Get a book from the library and research the career. Nearly every industry has a trade magazine. Get old copies. Start reading what they read. Attend a trade show or conference. Immerse yourself in the career you want. You can ask yourself, "How did I get here?" but a more proactive and solution-focused approach is to ask, "How did they get here?" Learn and model what others have done and are doing. This takes time, but that's what the other eight hours are for.
If you're in a job that you hate, don't feel guilty about wanting something better. Use your unhappiness as a motivator to make some changes. You'll spend more time at your job than you will with your family and friends. You might as well make it as rewarding as you can. If you don't, at the end of it all you may ask yourself, "My God! What have I done?"
Robert Pagliarini is a CBS MoneyWatch columnist and the author of "The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth & Purpose" and the national best-seller "The Six-Day Financial Makeove"
Careers - Hate Your Job? 3 Ways to Find a Better Job
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