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July 10, 2014 at 1:00 AM

Tips for coping with a bad work situation

Does your job give you a stomachache? Ultimately you may need to find a new one — but what if you can’t? If you need to stick with your current job for a while, here are some survival tips.

Get up a little earlier every morning and take a few minutes to meditate, pray, contemplate or just sit quietly in a chair sipping your coffee or tea.

A bad job takes a toll on our physical as well as emotional selves, so get your body in shape to meet the test — eat right, exercise and get enough sleep.

In your free time, try volunteering. It’s great for your morale.

Identify the people in your life who consistently make you feel better, stronger and more capable. Spend more time with them.

Are bad bosses the problem? Consider that they may have something to teach you. Maybe you’ll learn to work more quickly or become a better record keeper.

While you’re at it, forgive your boss. It requires real effort, but forgiveness can be tremendously freeing and empowering.

Introduce more laughter to your life. Rent funny movies, read funny books, spend time with funny people.

Pretend you are on the outside looking in. If a friend came to you with the same problems, what advice would you give?

Have you unwittingly locked yourself into a dynamic in which you’re so nervous about making a mistake that you make a mistake? Be willing to analyze and change the way you do things at work.

Give yourself permission to screw up. Remember that successful people fail more often than unsuccessful ones because they try many things.

Give yourself permission to complain, but don’t get carried away. Limit your wallowing to, say, 10 minutes at 8 p.m. every day. When you feel bad, say, “I’ll put that on my list for tonight.” (Bonus: By the time 8 p.m. arrives, you may be in a much better mood.)

Finally, set goals. These can be career or personal objectives. What’s essential is to have something wonderful to work toward, plan for and dream about. Goals give you a reason to get up in the morning and remind you that your current situation is not going to last forever.

Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at

More in Work Life Blog | Topics: conflict, morale, office politics

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Blog contributors

Randy Woods Writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.

Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.

Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.

Former contributors

Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant.

Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."

Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.

Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.


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