Take Stock of the Situation
List all of the things you like and don’t like about your job. Identify what it is about your workday that brings you pleasure and satisfaction and what it is that brings you down. Be specific.
For example, if your boss is making you miserable, figure out exactly what it is that bothers you about him or her. If it’s a particular assignment you can’t stand, break out the aspects of the tasks that displease you.
Change What You Can
Then, look at what you dislike and see what you can change. For example if you’re having trouble getting along with your boss, try to see things from his or her perspective. Figure out what makes your manager tick — and what ticks him or her off!
Observe co-workers who get along well with the boss, see how they interact and emulate their style and actions. If there are particular activities you hate doing, see if you can delegate them to someone else. Or talk to your boss about swapping those duties for others you’d find more interesting. If that’s not possible, try to get the activities you dislike doing out of the way early in the day, so you don’t spend unnecessary hours dreading them. And because a spoonful of sugar does help the medicine go down, schedule rewards for yourself (like a walk around the block or a cup of your favorite tea) once you’ve completed the disagreeable duties.
Accentuate the Positive
Next, look at all the things you like about the job and find ways to get maximum mileage out of them. If there are certain activities you really enjoy doing — try to become the resident expert so that you can specialize and do more of them. If you take pleasure in the company of your co-workers, setting up lunches and coffee breaks with them will help boost your energy levels.
Even if the only bright spot is your paycheck, use that to your advantage, too. Figure out your daily, hourly — even per-minute rate (if it’s not too paltry). Then, when time is dragging by or a situation seems unbearable, stay motivated by reminding yourself how much money you’re putting in your pocket.
Think Long Term
Above all, keep your desired future in mind. A career is not something you fall into but something you work at over time. Everyone needs to pay their dues. This may not be your dream job, but it can provide a way to work toward something you desire.
Talk with people who are in the jobs to which you aspire. Find out what skills, training and experience you will need to make your next move. Then, use your time to fill in the gaps. Offer to take on those responsibilities at work or as a volunteer for a charitable organization. Take classes and network in your desired profession. Build or rewrite your résumé. That way, when an opportunity arises, you’ll not only get out while the going is good, but move in a direction that fits your long-term needs and career aspirations.