Switch Your Story

Don’t Quit Your Day Job: How to Survive a Job You Can’t Leave

survive your day job

I remember feeling euphoric when I finally decided to leave my job & start writing full time. Before then, I spent years on the sidelines, telling myself that I wasn’t good enough to make a living as a writer. But I was finally ready to take the risk and find out what I was made of. 

Unfortunately, I couldn’t just walk out of my job that day and never look back. I had a mountain of questions I needed to answer first. 

Once I knew I was going to leave, though, it was so hard to stick it out at a job that wasn’t challenging or fulfilling anymore. Every hour spent at work felt like wasted time when I could have been establishing a budget, building my business, or writing.

As time went on, it became harder and harder to get through the workday.

I had to figure out a way to hang onto my sanity until that blissful day when I could finally start the next chapter. Over the next few months, I came up with several strategies to help me not only stay sane and survive my day job, but actually remain somewhat happy and productive.

I’m going to teach you how I did it. 

How to survive your day job and get through the workday:

1. Use your time away from the office strategically

You’re not always at the office, right? Use your time away from work to focus on your future plans. For instance, I used vacation time to stay home & learn about blogging. I even wrote my business plan.

If you’re leaving your job to work for yourself, start using weekends to practice getting your work-from-home routine down. You can also consider getting up an hour early or setting aside an hour in the evening to work on your goals. It may seem like a drop in the bucket, but an hour a day adds up fast.

2. Look for ways to fit your dream job around your work day:

survive your day job

I’m not advocating for you to conduct personal business on company time, but it’ll be easier to survive your day job if you find time throughout the day to work on your dream job.

Look for pockets of time, like your commute, lunch hour, or coffee breaks. If you’re not able to work, find time for things that will serve you in your future career, such as listening to a podcast, reading a book, or jotting down ideas as they come to you.

3. Make work fun

Decorate your workspace with things that make you happy. Include a reminder of your dream, like an inspirational quote or photo of your why. Listen to upbeat music or motivational podcasts. Seek out colleagues who support your goals and make you feel good about yourself, and be intentional about spending time with them.

You may not be living your dream career just yet, but you don’t have to be miserable. Find ways to enjoy yourself, at least a little bit, and surviving your day job will be much easier.

4. Remember why you’re working there in the first place

survive your day job

Why did you take your current job? What do you like about it? How is what you’re doing now helping you get to where you want to be in the future?

Maybe your job is helping you develop skills you’ll be able to use later. As part of my office job, I talked to people all day long. My introverted self really struggled with it at first, but by the time I left, my skills had become so finely honed that my stress level around social interactions went way down. That job may not have been my ideal gig, but what I learned during my time there still provides value for me.

Don’t forget that you’re also getting real, tangible benefits like a salary, paid time off, retirement contributions, and health insurance. If you’re going into business for yourself, it may be a while before you have some of those things again.

5. Work on making your transition easier for everyone – don’t burn that bridge!

One of the most satisfying ways to survive your work day is to spend time on things that will help you transition to the next chapter of your life. Update any training manuals associated with your position, and begin training colleagues on tasks they may have to take over for you.

Depending on what type of career you’re transitioning to, you may be able to serve your current employers or colleagues as future clients. Begin having conversations with them now about what you can do for them. If you’re staying in the same industry, they could turn out to be a great network for you, and you’ll almost certainly need to use them as references.

Do all that you can to make your transition as smooth (and beneficial to both sides) as possible.

6. Bloom where you’re planted

Seek out outlets for your true passion at work. Being a writer at heart, I lived for the moments when I got to draft correspondence or training instructions, or when my boss would ask me to proofread things for her.

If you love cooking or baking, try putting together an employee potluck or holiday cookie exchange. If your passion is marketing, ask to man your company’s Facebook or Instagram page, or draft your colleagues’ LinkedIn profiles for them.

It may be a bit of a stretch to make your passion and profession meet, but with a little creativity, you can find a way, and it’ll make surviving your day job a little bit easier.

Are you living your dream job, or struggling to survive your day job? Tell me in the comments!

Want to receive even more tips like these to help you start switching your story? Sign up for e-mails to receive my weekly e-newsletter, Plot Twist.

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