How To Escape a Job You Hate and Find a Job You Love


“I can’t find a job I like.”

👆🏾If you’ve ever had this thought, you’re not alone.

It’s no secret that most people either hate or tolerate the jobs they work in.

According to a survey by the Gallup research company, 65 percent of people don’t feel engaged at work.

If you’re one of these people, you need to build an escape plan fast.

Use these 8 tips to ditch the job you hate and find a job you love.


1. Start with this counterintuitive attitude

Try this strange tip from Grant Cardone:

Grant is a successful real estate mogul. He started as a car salesman. He hated his job but decided to become great at it anyway.

If you can perform well when the circumstances aren’t ideal, you’ll do even better once you decide to switch careers or start your own business.

Grant became the top salesperson in the entire state.

Instead of letting his skills go to waste, he used them to his advantage and built a side business from the lessons he learned on the job.

He created sales training resources based on skills he learned at his job and sold them on the side. By the time he was ready to quit his job and do real estate full-time, he had a million dollars in the bank.

Each job you have provides the opportunity to learn valuable skills. I’ve worked at jobs that weren’t my dream job but gave me skills I used to build my full-time writing career.

When I was a manager at a video store, I learned valuable lessons about customer service that I now use when working with customers who buy my writing programs.

After that, I became a project manager at a marketing company. I used that opportunity to get paid to learn different skills that have helped me in my writing career—like sales, marketing, pricing, SEO, social media, and more.

Get good at what you hate. Then, use your negative feelings as fuel to find a job you love.


2. The job you hate can help you find a job you love

You can use negative emotions for positive purposes.

If you hate your job, remind yourself of this fact when you lack the energy and motivation to map out your next move. Don’t let yourself off the hook like most people do.

Most people work a job they hate but stay there by coping in unhealthy ways:

  • They spend their weekends on leisure activities, partying, and drinking.
  • They buy things they don’t need to fill the void.
  • They spend their evenings watching hours of television.
  • They waste time on social media (even while they’re at work)
  • Overall, they use their soul-sucking job as an excuse to keep themselves distracted.

This resets their mind just enough for them to go back to work each week. 

Employers are smart enough to give you some time off. If you had to work every single day with no breaks, you’d realize how much you’re wasting your life doing what you hate.

They give you the weekends to help you forget.

Stop being dissatisfied with your job and your life part-time. Start to get frustrated full-time, and you’ll be in a position to start doing the work.

When I was working on my side hustle as a writer, I’d internalize every single negative moment at work.

When I didn’t feel like waking up at 5 a.m. to write before work, I’d think about a pesky client. I’d think about the fact that my job paid me much less than what my services were worth, which inspired me to build my own business. 

Your life is passing by. Don’t fall for the trap of sitting idle while it does. You should be concerned. You should be frantically trying to plan your escape.


3. Take a personal inventory

Now, you have to figure out what your next move might be. 

Taking an inventory of your life and current skills comes in handy.

This is where you’ll reflect on the combination of your natural talents, your past work experience, and your interests to come up with an idea for what you want to do next.

Let’s take a look at each category.


Find your strengths

If you focus on your natural talents and strengths, you’re that much closer to passion. Passion doesn’t come from sitting around and waiting for it to fall into your lap. You develop passion by getting good at a skill.

Cal Newport says it well:

“Don’t follow your passion; rather, let it follow you in your quest to become, in the words of my favorite Steve Martin quote, ‘so good that they can’t ignore you.’” —Cal Newport

Your odds of becoming “so good they can’t ignore you” are higher if you try something you’re already good at.

You can try a few different routes to take inventory of your strengths.

First are strengths assessments and personality tests. Some social scientists debate whether or not these tests are rooted in solid science, but science isn’t the point. You can use these tests to point you in a solid direction. In my experience, these tests have served me well.

I recommend Strengths Finder (now called the CliftonStrengths assessment) by the Gallup Research company. 

After you take the assessment, the test ranks your potential strengths. The recommendations come with tips to cultivate those strengths and ideas for careers to pursue or businesses to start.

My assessment told me to focus on gaining wisdom through studying and writing down my thoughts, which is exactly what I did. This led me to start my side career in writing. 

I find these ones useful, too:


Look for clues

You can also get insights into your strengths and talents based on anecdotal areas. 

The first involves feedback you’ve heard from other people. The best kind of feedback comes from people you know but aren’t close friends of yours, which means they’re more objective when complimenting your skills. 

An example might be a teacher who told you to pursue a certain career or an offhand comment from an acquaintance. I’d always get complimented on my communication skills.

People would tell me I’m articulate, have a strong vocabulary, and even have a nice voice and should be on the radio.

Today, I write, shoot YouTube videos, and record podcasts, all of which line up with those compliments.

Another valuable question to ask yourself:

What comes easily to you that’s difficult for others?

Maybe you’re naturally organized, you dress well, you’re good with words, you’re good with numbers, or you have excellent social skills.

An organized person could become a consultant helping others with their productivity. The stylish person could be a style consultant. A person good with words could become a writer. If you’re good with numbers, an accounting firm might make sense. A person with great social skills could teach others who lack them.


Lean on your experience

Prior work experience can be helpful, too. Often, many people are in careers where they enjoy the skill they have but just don’t want to have a boss. An example could be a designer who works for a company but wants to become a freelancer who earns more and has more free time.

Most knowledge workers would be much happier if they found a way to provide their services without the oversight of a boss.

Say you’re good at sales like Grant Cardone, but you want to sell something else on your own terms. You could explore careers that either involve selling a different product or using those sales skills to start your own business.

Maybe you like the field you’re in but want to work in a different position. You might even be happy in the same company as long as you have a different title or work in a different department.

Many people want to switch to entrepreneurship, but they don’t think they’re cut out to be entrepreneurs. Here’s a good mental re-frame that helps. If you’re an employee, you’re already an entrepreneur but with a single client (which is your employer).

If you had the dedication to go to college for years at a time or learned certain skills to land your gig, you already have the motivation level required to switch jobs or start your own business. You just have to deal with the fears and mental barriers that get in the way.


Trust yourself

At the end of the day, you already have somewhat of an idea.

If you knew whatever you tried would work out, it would suddenly be easier to choose a new career or business idea, wouldn’t it?

When people discover what I do, they open up to me and talk about their passions because they know I won’t judge them. When I ask them what they would do if they couldn’t fail, they’re bursting with ideas.

Your new career or business could be as simple as figuring out what words come next after the phrase:

“It would be cool to…”

Another question I love that I heard from one of my favorite writers, James Altucher:

What section of the bookstore would you read if you could only choose one?

The answer is usually sitting right underneath your nose.

One time I was talking to this Uber driver in L.A. After finding out what I did, she started pouring her heart out about the fact that she hated her job and wanted to switch but didn’t know what to do. 

I can’t remember her exact career, but she mentioned that people reached out to her occasionally for help with reading the language in contracts. She said she was really good at it, too. 

I said:

“Why don’t you just charge for that and make it your business?”

Sometimes the answer is that simple.



4. Begin the learning phase, then make a decision

The next phase involves picking something to run with.

I can’t tell you exactly how to find a job you love. But with patience and persistence, that answer will come from your personal inventory. Eventually, you’ll have to narrow it down to one choice. 

Even if you don’t have a perfect idea yet, get in motion:

  • Start reading books about your interests.
  • Watch videos and listen to podcasts.
  • Reach out to people in fields of interest to pick their brains.

You want to start dedicating time outside of your job to learning and research.

The minute you land on an idea, you have to map out the next steps:

  • If you found a new career path, figure out what requirements and certifications are needed.
  • If you want to start a business, look at step-by-step guides or take an online course.
  • For something like starting a non-profit, look at what bureaucratic red tape you need to cut through to get there.

Map out a simple plan and then do this next…


5. Try a new path as an experiment

Commit to a 90-day experiment where you try your new skill, project, career idea, or business to see if you like the direction you’re moving in. 

  • Write a blog post every day for 90 days.
  • Spend 90 days setting up your e-commerce store, looking for products, and trying to sell something.
  • Spend 90 days on a coding boot camp.

The goal is 90 days of action where you’re going harder than you have in your entire life.

Treat it as an experiment so you don’t feel over-committed.

If after 90 days you like what you see, map out a new 90-day plan for the next phase in the journey.

I started writing and worked hard on it daily for 90 days. After that, I spent the next 90 days working and learning what it takes to get paid. For the next 90 days, I started focusing on ways to earn money, like freelancing. The next 90-day period after that, I worked on my first book.

These 90-day chunks will look different depending on the path you choose. Get started, and the answers will reveal themselves to you over time. 

If you did this for 12 months, you’d have a solid footing to leave your full-time job. If you secure a new gig, then the answer is clear. But if you don’t know when to quit your job to start a business, here are the benchmarks I used:

  • Have six months in cash saved up.
  • Make sure your side hustle makes as much, if not more, as your job, for six months in a row.
  • If you feel the revenue will keep coming in at this rate, then quit your job.

If you find a job you love and feel confident in the above benchmarks, why not take the leap?



6. Ditch what didn’t work or double down on what does

It’s rare that your experiments end up a total miss if you did everything I mentioned beforehand. If that’s the case, then you have to dust yourself off and try again.

Odds are there will be some aspects of your experience you enjoyed and some you don’t. Your career will always be like this. 

To keep moving closer to a job you love, course correct until you find a great fit.

I’m reminded of this TED talk by Robert Greene, author of the book Mastery, which talks about how to find your purpose in your career.

He tried all sorts of jobs on his path to becoming an author. He wrote scripts. He was a journalist. He did random freelance writing gigs. Also, he worked dozens of different random jobs that gave him the experiences he would use to write his first big hit, “The 48 Laws of Power.”

He wasn’t too fond of the different forms of writing he tried before he focused on books, but he did love to write.

It was a theme that stayed true his entire life.

Working these odd jobs exposed him to different types of bosses. He noticed these different “power games” they’d play, and that led to his idea for the book.

The bottom line: You don’t find your passion or a job you love by sitting around and thinking about it. You find it through doing the work and course correcting over time.


7. To find a job you like, reverse engineer your life

Start with the kind of lifestyle you want to have and map your work to it.

Sometimes the lifestyle you want is a lot closer than you think.

Tim Ferriss wrote a blog post about finding your dream income number. Often, we think we need much more money than we do, even to live a lavish lifestyle. 

For purposes of Lifestyle Design, it is necessary to move from annual thinking (‘I make $50,000 per year’) and total costs (‘A Ferrari 612 Scaglietti costs $250,509’) to monthly cash-flow. What is your ideal lifestyle in exact detail, and how much does it cost per month?

Taking the time to figure out the answers to questions like these can give you a true target to aim at:

  • What kind of house do you want?
  • What kind of car do you want to drive?
  • How many vacations a year do you want to take?
  • What kind of experiences do you want to have?
  • What are the luxuries you love to splurge on?

You literally run the numbers and then create the career or business required to reach the number.

Speaking of business, you can make a great living in your business without doing stuff you hate like:

  • Working 12 hours per day
  • Having to take on tons of clients
  • Skipping important events like your kid’s recital

My business coach, Ryan Booth, told me to figure out what my non-negotiables are and go from there. Things like:

  • How many hours of work per day do you want to do?
  • When will you be available to help clients?
  • What’s your hard cut off for doing work throughout the day?

This way, you build a business around your life instead of building your life around your business.


8. Shift your perspective with this universal truth

There’s one phrase I’ve used for years in my writing. I’ve repeated it more times than I can remember but it’s so important that I never get tired of repeating it:

You’re going to die.

Maybe not tomorrow. Or a month from now. But one day, maybe sooner than you think, you’ll cease to exist.

Mortality is one of my favorite lenses to view life because it puts everything into perfect perspective.

It seems absurd that people take the precious gift of life and spend a huge chunk of it working jobs they hate to buy things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like.

Such is the way of the world, though.

Quitting your job and doing what you love is hard. Not because the steps in and of themselves are difficult.

But because you have to overcome so many psychological roadblocks on the way—self-doubt, fear of uncertainty, and the risk of rejection and embarrassment, just to name a few.

Unlike some motivational gurus, I’m not going to pretend there’s an easy answer or way out of this situation other than to bite the bullet and do what needs to be done.

The life-is-short perspective is one of the best psychological tools you can use to do it.


Commit to finding a job you love

The work you do for a living matters a lot.

You spend a third of your waking time at work for most of your life. 

Don’t treat this lightly. 

If you’re frustrated right now, use it as fuel, and don’t give up until you find a job you love.

Life gets much better after you break through that struggle phase of making the transition.

All the setbacks and obstacles will make you smile looking backward, even though they made you sad in the moment.

You’ll realize everything you did was worth it, ups and downs included, when you not only find a job you like, but figure out how to find work you love.