Does getting up every morning to go to work feel like a burden? Do you constantly check the clock and hope that this boring day will be over? Do you feel like you’re just wasting away with no purpose in life? Do you regularly think, “I am 50 and hate my job!”?
If this is you, then you need to make a few changes to get your life back together. I’m here to give you 10 tips on what you should do if you’re 50 and you hate your job. So let’s get straight to it!
10 Tips on What You Should Do if You Hate Your Job at 50
“I am 50 and hate my job. What should I do?” Your first reaction might be to quit. However, you shouldn’t make rash decisions like that. Take the advice from Ivy Eisenberg, the Founder and CEO of Our IdeaWorks:
I quit my job at 50 to reinvent myself. Pro tip: don’t do this.
Instead, try out these tips and see whether they improve your work well-being during your 50s.
- Take the lead
- Talk to people you trust
- Do something you love
- Discover your work’s hidden purpose
- Consider part-time
- Shift your focus
- Take on a side project
- Learn a new skill
- Work for a new company
- Find your dream job
1. Take the lead
Ask yourself this, “Why do you hate your job so much?” Is it boring and unfulfilling? Is it a toxic environment with the coworkers? Is your boss super incompetent and not supportive? Maybe it’s something as simple as there is never any ink or printing paper when you need to print something.
When you find the answer to that question, ask yourself another question. “How can you improve on that?” This is what it means to take the lead. Remember, waiting for others to change or fix things is only going to disappoint you.
OK, I know that this doesn’t sound too fun. Trying to improve the workplace isn’t going to be easy. But if you want change, then you need to make an effort. Plus, if you make the first move, you might find that a lot of people in the workplace, maybe even your employer, agree with you.
Think about the one thing that could make the biggest positive impact in your workday, and let your boss know you’d like to work on improving it. It could be as simple as finding a way to share all the positive feedback you get from clients with the whole team, as soon as it comes in. It might mean finally gathering the courage to negotiate a day of working from home, on an experimental basis. Or it could be something bigger and more complex – something you’d need to restructure your day to implement. Whatever it is, step up to the plate. Find the people you’d need on your team. Take the reins.
2. Talk to people you trust
One reason why people at 50 hate their jobs is because of the constant inauthenticity they put on every single day for the last 20 years. They’re unhappy at work but have to plaster a big smile once they enter the building. They long for a worthwhile and fulfilling job but always say, “I love my job!” They instantly volunteer to do a project that they know is going to bore them to death or put them on work overload.
Lies. lies. lies. Soon enough, they won’t be able to stand it any longer, especially when they reach middle age. One way to counter your growing hate for your job and your inauthenticity is to talk about your true feelings to people you trust.
Of course, there are some things better left unsaid. But if you can be honest about how you feel to an understanding colleague or supportive boss, then it will be much better. You will be able to share your load and don’t have to feel like you’re constantly living a lie just to earn a salary.
Here’s what Richard, the Founder of Careershifters, had to say:
There was a team leader I worked with. He was about the same age as me, but further ahead on the career ladder in the company. I decided to trust him and I confided in him about how I felt. And he said he was thinking about the same thing; he completely understood how I felt. I didn’t expect that from him; it was very moving and reassuring, and it gave me the validation I needed to know that how I was feeling was OK.
3. Do something you love
Yes, working in a job you hate is very draining. When you get home, you probably don’t have the energy or motivation to do anything else. But if you never make time for anything else, your life will revolve around work. And since you hate work, you’ll live in a state of negativity and dissatisfaction, to the point you can’t stand it any longer.
Trust me, you’ll get nowhere if you just constantly think, “I’m middle-aged and hate my job.” It’s time to put some positivity into your life. To do that, you need to find time for something you do love.
It can be anything, from exercise, writing a story in your notebook, watching your favorite series, spending time with people you love, and the list goes on. Taking care of yourself and living a healthy work-life balance will help you bear the bad moments at work.
Plus, doing things you love can give you something to look forward to. Then maybe work won’t be so bad after all. A survey by Birchbox and Kelton Global showed that 89% of people agree that even just a few minutes of ‘me time’ can make a world of difference.
4. Discover your work’s hidden purpose
Do you sit at your corporate desk punching information in your computer and dreaming “I could be doing something a lot more useful in the world right now”? Maybe you’re at a team meeting that’s gone on for almost an hour already and you can’t get yourself to care. Or, maybe you have to deal with a nightmare client and you wish for a career change.
Here’s what you should know: A lot of jobs are very uninspiring and unexciting. This is why, over time, people start to hate it.
But instead of letting the boredom or anxiety eat at you, try to discover your work’s hidden purpose. Remember, all jobs have a purpose – no matter how small it is.
So the next time you do the mundane task of punching information on your keyboard, know that you are helping a number of people by providing the information they need. When you deal with a difficult client, understand that you are helping them solve a problem to make their life a lot easier. If you think about the ‘big picture’ of what you’re doing, it can boost your enjoyment or motivation.
5. Consider part-time
If your stress levels are through the roof and your job is ruining your lifestyle, maybe it’s time to make a change. No, not a very drastic one like start a new career or start applying for jobs. Why not consider asking your boss if you can work part-time?
If you can financially support that, then this is a great way to overcome your exasperation when you think, “I am 50 and hate my job!” At least if you only do half a day in your job, you will have the other half to do something you receive great fulfillment from.
You can learn a new skill, network with people, take care of your children, enjoy a hobby, etc. If you spend a big portion of your time on something you love, you’ll find that you can bear your job a lot more.
OK, I know it’s not easy to ask your boss for a part-time schedule. But you’ll never know if you don’t muster up the courage to ask. And this might be the best career decision you’ll ever make, especially at 50 years old.
6. Shift your focus
If you always focus on the negatives at work, you’ll start to hate it more and more each year. By the time you reach 50 to 55 years old, you can’t stand a single thing in that workspace. Pretty soon, you’ll think coworker Joe constantly gets up to make a steaming cup of coffee to avoid work and you wonder why no one else notices that. You’ll feel that you get all the mundane tasks because your skills are undervalued.
Small things like this will start to annoy and irritate you. I think the saying “What you focus on, grows” is very true in this situation. If you focus on the negative, the negative aspects of work will grow. But what if you shift your focus to the positive?
Maybe coworker Joe can’t get anything done without a steaming cup of coffee by his side. Or maybe, he hates work as much as you, and you can relate to how he’s feeling. As for mundane tasks, maybe you’ve always been given those types of jobs because you’re the best at doing them.
As cliche as it sounds, looking on the bright side will help you improve your midlife crisis of hating work.
7. Take on a side project
If you want to change your life for the better, it’s time to take on a side project. Now, this can mean one of two things.
First, you can do a side project while at work. What puts a smile on your face? If it is to make people happy, then challenging yourself to make a colleague or your boss happy will give you a daily purpose, whatever that may be.
Here’s another example. What makes work depressing? If it’s the monotony and dullness of the corporate grind, you can do a side project to make your work environment more lively. You can add flowers or do a happy dance once in a while. This will do wonders with your mood.
The second side project you can undertake is at home. A lot of times, people hate their jobs because they feel like there’s no way out. “I can’t quit my job at 50!” That’s a scary thought. However, you can slowly transition to a new career path later in life.
Find a flexible side hustle. This is a good time to experiment with what you want to do for the remainder of your work life. It’s also a time to gain new skills and experiences. You’ll feel much better when you know you have an escape plan whenever the time comes to find a new job.
8. Learn a new skill
It’s never too late for a fresh start. If you decide that you need to leave your job for a job you enjoy, you can get started right away. No, I don’t mean to send in your 2-week notice immediately. You can get started by learning a new skill.
If you do this, it will help you get started on the next steps. You’ll be more confident to embrace a new profession. So go ahead and study that online course, go back to school and get a certificate, and find a side hustle that will earn you the experience and skills needed.
When you aim to find a career that you enjoy, you won’t feel so trapped in your current role. Here’s what someone in Quora had to say:
Start small. Pick up a new hobby, one you like. Get good at it. You will immediately feel the empowerment of knowing you still have what it takes to learn something new. Keep learning things and picking up skills related to your passion until you know you are ready for the next step.
9. Work for a new company
One person on Reddit made a very good point. “Try working somewhere else (doing the same thing)? Sometimes the workplace just sucks, not the job.” Yes, you can enjoy your job but hate the work environment. If that’s your case, then why not transfer to a new company?
Since you already have all the skills and work experience, it shouldn’t be hard to make your CV stand out. You can boast that you can bring your knowledge to help the new organization grow. It will be a lot easier than switching to a different role.
When you change to a better environment where you can start anew, you’ll be able to enjoy the work you do much more. Of course, you should make sure that the work environment is an improvement and not just the same ol’ as your last job.
10. Find your dream job
If nothing can make you love your job, then it’s time to secure a dream job in your 50s. As I said, this shouldn’t be a rash decision. You have to really think and plan it out carefully. Start to build savings in case nothing goes to plan. Improve your soft, transferable, and technical skills. If you want, you can even go back to school to gain the necessary skills.
Remember, even at 50, you can find a fulfilling job that will make everything worthwhile. Who knows, you might even make more money than you ever dreamed of, especially if you start your own business.
Rachel Joy Tanzer, a Logotherapist at Golden Lotus Self Discovery Lab, says:
I work with people in your situation and have dealt with this myself at 55. It’s NEVER too late to do anything you want to do. Where there is a will, there’s a way. Consider this a new and fresh start and a chance to reinvent yourself and your career.
If you’re screaming, “I am 50 and hate my job!” in your head constantly, then try out the 10 tips that I gave. This will help make your work a lot more bearable. It will also help you transition from your job that you hate to a job that you get great satisfaction and fulfillment from. Remember, it’s never too late to find your purpose, take action, and turn your life around for the better, even at 50 years old.