Many people love their jobs. Others…not so much so. Strangely, even when you love your job, it can sometimes be hard to find motivation. When you really don’t like your job, finding motivation can feel nearly impossible. Still, you’ve got to keep going. So, how can you find motivation, even when you can’t stand your job (or boss or company or co-workers or all of the above)?


Leave your work and its associated problems at the office. Sure, it’s easy to say and sometimes hard to do. Here’s the thing: It’s bad enough that your job ruins your life for eight hours a day (or however long it is). Why on earth would you want to let it ruin the remaining 16 hours of the day? Leave it at the office.

Find Motivation by Setting Goals

Having a goal helps you focus on a desired outcome. When you don’t have a goal, you’re like a boat at sea without a rudder. Think about where you’d like to be at some point in the future, say six months, one year, or five years. Write your goals and post them in a place where you can see them to keep them in the front of your mind. People who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. Search on the term “goal setting” for more ideas on how to set and achieve goals.

Find a Distraction

Find something engaging to do outside of work. Engaging does not mean getting sucked into television. There’s certainly nothing wrong with watching your favorite shows or sports teams. That’s watching television intentionally. It’s a whole other thing to mindlessly sit in front of the television clicking through channels, getting sucked into a digital landfill of infomercials and reality television. Instead, go work on a car, take up crafts, learn pottery, practice yoga, go for a walk, read a book, travel, go to a park, walk a dog, learn a language, do woodworking, do metalworking, learn to sew, take up archery, go bird-watching…well, you get the idea. Find something outside of your work to engage your mind and spirit. Here’s a post on Lifehacker on how to find a hobby or interest.

Make Yourself as Good as You Can Possible Be

This is a recurring theme here at the Compassionate Geek. Recall the competence/charisma four-quadrant model. In this model, you focus on achieving as high a level of technical competency at the same time as your strive to achieve a high level of personal charisma or people skills. Even if your job sucks, you can still focus on self-improvement, investing in yourself through training, education, reading, and experimenting. Not only is there tremendous satisfaction in being the best you can be, it dramatically improves your chances of getting a new, more satisfying job.

Find Motivation by Surrounding Yourself with Positive People and Influences

I read an article in which the author talked about how highly successful people avoid negative people. It’s certainly been true in my experience that negative people suck energy and darken the mood of everyone around them. Find positive and uplifting people and experiences to provide a positive influence on you. If you circle of friends includes people who like to shout, argue, and put others down, find new friends. In my own life, I’ve dropped relationships with former friends who were negative influences on me. Here’s a great post by Dr. Judith Orloff on how to find positive friends.


Volunteer to help others. Whether it’s working with homeless people, mentoring a high school student, or helping at an animal shelter, volunteering is good for the soul. It helps us refocus our energy away from our problems and on to the act of improving our world. Volunteering broadens our world view and helps us become less self-centered.

Keep Your Act Together

A bad job can manifest itself in other areas of your life, such as with alcohol and substance abuse and marriage and relationship problems. When your job is bad, it becomes even more important than usual to keep the other areas of your life in good shape. Be sure to keep communication lines open with your spouse and close friends, be careful about seeking solace in alcohol and other mood altering substances, and go for walks outside to clear your mind and keep your body in good shape.

For More Ideas on How to Improve Communication and Customer Service Skills

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1 thought on “7 Ways to Find Motivation When You Don’t Like Your Job”

  1. Motivation is more than something that you just do and then you magically feel better. You can’t really stay motivated all of the time; there will be moments in your life where you will lose motivation even if you are doing what you love. This means that you have to build habits that will keep you going even when you are un-motivated to do so.

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