10 Ways to Thrive at a Bad Job

Ready to quit? Make the most of a bad situation while pursuing your dream career.

If you dislike (or even hate) your job, you’re not alone; but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make your experience work for you, even as you’re planning your exit strategy. Don’t let the time spent at your dreaded 9-to-5 go to waste, and make the most of a bad situation while you search for something better aligned with your skill set and career goals.

1. Make a plan.

First and foremost, formulate some sort of game plan. You can’t sit around at your desk, hoping and wishing for the perfect opportunity to simply roll into your lap. Think about what you want and what steps you’ll need to take to get it. Then, make it happen, whether that means building your portfolio with meaningful projects or a side gig, or spending your evenings applying for jobs in your dream field.

2. Find a proper work-life balance.

While it’s increasingly difficult to do so, thanks to the abundance of technology that keeps us constantly connected to our work, sometimes it’s necessary to just say no, turn off your cell phone and enjoy time with family and friends. Perhaps the problem isn’t your job itself, but that you’re simply extending yourself beyond your capabilities.

3. Stop complaining.

It’s extremely easy to complain about your job, especially to your coworkers, as you can usually get them to join in, leading to a never-ending spiral of whining and griping. However, this negativity can make things seem worse than they actually are. Try looking for (and vocalizing) the positives around you, without sugarcoating the negative details that have inspired your new job search.

4. Learn to love your coworkers.

Speaking of coworkers, you’ll find that getting along with yours will make a world of difference. Work environment is every bit as important as the actual job that you’re doing, so take an active role to ensure that your office’s culture fills your needs. If you already know that you can’t get along with the people in your department, branch out and see what it’s like in accounting, human resources, or marketing.

5. Negotiate with your boss.

Negotiating new benefits with your boss may do wonders to improve your work satisfaction and productivity. Some employees thrive while working remotely, and others would feel more appreciated with just an incremental pay raise. If you truly believe that a small adjustment could make the difference between thriving and failing at your current job, schedule a meeting and talk to your boss.

6. Look for projects that use your skills and interests.

Bring some of your personality into your everyday work tasks, finding creative ways to mold your jobs to your personal strengths and interests. Interested in editing at your PR job? Volunteer to copyedit the department press releases. While it may take a little work and some brainstorming, taking measures to feel more invested in your daily tasks may make your work situation more bearable.

7. Pick up healthy habits and then bring them to work.

Unfortunately, dissatisfaction on the job can often lead to more serious problems, such as depression, which can then lead to an entire host of unhealthy habits. Make sure that you’re eating properly and getting enough exercise and sleep. If you feel that you may be suffering from depression due to your job, consider talking to a professional, so you can both work together to discover what you need to live your healthiest life.

8. Find a role model at work.

Look for those around you who make the best of a bad situation, and who seem to be succeeding even if they’re not in their ideal place in their careers. Approach them for advice, and develop a mentor-mentee relationship. These coworkers or superiors can inspire you to keep moving forward, as they probably know better than anyone exactly what you’re going through.

9. Take a vacation.

Sometimes taking a mental and physical break from the daily grind is all you need to develop a healthier attitude. With a clear mind, you may realize that your job isn’t as bad as you thought, or simply develop a better idea of what you’d rather be focusing on career-wise. Even if you’re not jetting off to a tropical island, use those hard-earned vacation days for a staycation, or take the free time to apply for new positions, go on interviews and make professional connections.

10. Give yourself the encouragement you need.

Remember that if you put a concerted effort into actively exploring your options, you won’t be stuck in the same place forever. Finding a new position, particularly in certain industries, can be extremely difficult, but it can be done. Perseverance through potentially discouraging circumstances is the key to securing a position that fulfills you.

Ken Sterling is the Executive Vice President at BigSpeak Speakers’ bureau – the leading keynote and business speakers bureau in the world. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California and an MBA from Babson College. Ken teaches Entrepreneurship, Marketing and Strategy at UC Santa Barbara. He is a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker, business consultant and sales & marketing expert. For press interviews, contact marketing@bigspeak.com.

This article originally appeared on Business2Community.