Professional Development

What To Do If You Don’t Want To Work Anymore

Written by Peter Jones

You find yourself totally checked out at work. You just can’t bring yourself to care—let alone work—let alone work hard. Your attitude has slipped. You can’t remember why you’re even doing what you’re doing. Trouble is: this can have a terrible impact on your career. Don’t let your current attitude impact your future reputation.

First: Fight Through Work Apathy

Here are a few strategies on how to combat a complete lack of interest in your job, or work fatigue.

1. Change your mind.

Sometimes it really is a simple matter of faking it ‘til you make it. You can change the way your brain works. You can make your attitude more positive—just by trying. Start by rethinking your job as not just the bane of your existence. Until your two weeks notice are in, this is still your job and you still have to do it. Restart your thinking. Find something you can love about your work. And if you can’t, start strategizing how to change jobs.

2. Reward yourself.

Figure out a way to be able to get through your day. If you finish working on that one task you’re dreading, allow yourself a hot chocolate with a coworker. If you finish a huge project, allow yourself to take a personal day and do something fun. Stay on top of your inbox for a week, and take yourself out to dinner!

3. Think about the future.

It might just be a rough or boring patch. Consider having a conversation with your boss about moving forward, perhaps taking on more interesting work, or shifting to another department. Start setting up the meetings now that will help you realize your best future. If you’re sure it’s not just a temporary slump, start preparing for what you might need to do to get yourself into a position you do want.

Then: Make the Life Changes Necessary to Get Back on Track

If you’re sure it’s the job and not your problem, start strategizing about your next steps. The worst thing you can do is rely on a job you hate just because you have to stay afloat or you’ve let inertia get the better of you. Find yourself a job situation that lets you live a life you actually like. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Rethink your relationship to money.

Money isn’t just stuff. It’s time, freedom, possibility. It’s a family. It’s travel. Figure out which is more important to you—money, or time. If money is your priority, you’ll never free yourself from the rat race. If time is, then it’s time to start prioritizing the things that matter. Rather than buy that extra latte or designer purse, why not save it for a mortgage fund or a family trip? Material goods can end up putting you in a loop of need and want that no amount of work will ever get you out of. And remember: the less you make, the less you’ll pay in taxes!

2. Cut corners.

Save money and eat better by eating at home. Think of your car not as a status symbol but as a way to get safely from place to place. If it’s a nice day outside, consider a picnic instead of a movie. A movie night at home instead of concert tickets. Take up running instead of shelling out for gym membership. See every expense as another piece of your life you’ll have to sacrifice. Spend mindfully.

3. Choose work you care about and take action right away.

This is the most important thing. Take ownership of what you do by believing in it. Figure out a way to incorporate what you really care about into your professional life. And if you’re not there yet, don’t worry. Just get the ball rolling. Start doing the work you’ll need to do to get there.

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About the author

Peter Jones

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