My CompliKAITed Life: The Working Girl’s Guide to Surviving a Terrible Job

By Kaitlin Marie

No matter who you are or where you work, you’re going to have a rough day every now and then. Even if your typical daily mentality is all, “Butterflies! Sunshine! Rainbows! Unicorns!” (a trait I possess that drives my friends and boyfriend crazy), you will occasionally find yourself sitting under a doom cloud. And your weekly chance-of-doom-cloud forecast increases dramatically if you have a shitty job.

Maybe you forgot to put the cover on your TPS report. Maybe you missed a deadline. Or maybe your fashionista-wannabe boss decided your cute new shirt was “too casual for the office atmosphere” even though you’ve worn a bunch of other shirts that are WAY more casual and one of them even said “American Eagle Outfitters” on it and you got away with wearing it three times already and she’s never said anything about it. But I digress.

The working world is not perfect and it never will be. So here are a few tips and tricks I use to save my sanity and survive life with a shitty job.


1. Use the buddy system

They say that misery loves company. Having a friend in the workplace makes all of that terrible-ness so much easier to bear. While your parents/boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse will say “screw that bitch!” every time you come home and complain about your nosy co worker, having a friend who is familiar with your working environment can help you gain some much-needed perspective.

After all,  they’ll probably tell you not to “take a stand against the Man” and quit just because your boss made you delete the sound effects on your Powerpoint. And if worse comes to worse, your work buddy can lend you outdated magazines to cut up and use in your threatening “Give us a half day this Friday or else” letter.

2. Your Home is Your Refuge

Unless you’re employed at a trendy startup that has frequent nerf gun fights, you probably wear some kind of work uniform. Business casual clothing, a shirt and visor with a fast food logo, a bow tie and your tighty whiteys (Magic Mike, anyone?) … it’s all the same really. And you hate it. So when you get home, don’t just throw yourself on the couch and cry. Take that uniform off! Then cry.

Before I worked as a secretary, I worked in a casual office in Costa Rica with NO DRESS CODE. I miss that every day as I shimmy into the dress pants that used to fit me 2 years ago.  So the first thing I do when I get to my apartment is throw those clothes in the hamper, put on some boxer shorts and my zombie-killing t-shirt, wash my makeup off, and put my hair up. If I have to be business casual for 8 hours a day, I’ll be DAMNED if I have to put effort into my appearance for the remaining 16 hours.

3. Exercise

As the great Elle Woods once said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t kill their [bosses]. They just don’t.”

You can tell Lumberg to eff off in a series of imagined scenarios as you angrily jog, kick box, do yoga, lift weights, or dance it out. Exercise is good for you, and at the end of the day you won’t be worrying about the state of your severance package and no restraining orders will have been filed. It’s win win!

4. Drink

Now, I’m not just talking about alcohol, but I am mostly talking about alcohol. Every so often, your shitty job is going to drive you to drink, and that’s okay. You’re a 21+ adult and if you responsibly imbibe the occasional spirit, more power to you! Just don’t do it at the office. The only acceptable drug to abuse at the office is caffeine, no matter what your twitchy co worker says.

6. Don’t Just Complain

Everyone is entitled to the occasional rant, but it’s far too easy to fall into a pattern of constantly complaining about your job. This is one of my pet peeves and it drives me absolutely crazy. I fully support your right to whine, provided that you’re DOING SOMETHING TO CHANGE YOUR SITUATION.

You’re underpaid? Ask for a raise. Your job didn’t give you the raise you wanted. Have you looked for a new job?

Don’t just  bitch and moan. You’ll drive your loved ones nuts. Take action and take control of your life.

7. Continue to Improve Yourself

And while we’re talking about taking control of your life, how about learning something new? Don’t waste this valuable time wishing for a better economy. Take time outside of work to develop skills that you’ll need for your dream job. Write a blog, take a class, read up on something at the library. Continuing to improve yourself will boost your confidence and make you a better worker, at your shitty job as well as your dream job.

8. Laugh.

Sometimes it’s the only thing you can do.

So if  you hate your shitty job, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Pretty much every recent college grad fortunate enough to be employed feels the same way. If you apply some of these tips, you may find that your outlook on life will be less …

and more…

Double Rainbow

My CompliKAITed Life is a column by Kaitlin Marie running on every other Wednesday at noon. You can read all about Kaitlin’s Zombie Apocalypse plans on her blog Oh, and follow her on Twitter here or on Pinterest here. She pins obsessively.

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5 thoughts on “My CompliKAITed Life: The Working Girl’s Guide to Surviving a Terrible Job

  1. Kaitertot says:

    Good thing my current job doesn’t involve basic counting, because I just noticed my list skips the number 5 and goes directly to 6. Whoops!

  2. Keely says:

    LOVE, as always. And you’re making me grateful for my job, where the dress code only exists for safety purposes (barring presentation days, anyhow), I can take off for a run midday if I plan my experiments carefully enough, and roughly half my social circle has similar work issues and can commiserate.

    That said, have I mentioned lately that GRAD SCHOOL SUCKS AND I HATE MY PROJECT? Waaaaaaah.

  3. Kelly Ann says:

    Great read. I really appreciate the section on not just complaining. I constantly hear people complaining about their situation but then not doing a damn thing about it.

  4. Kate S. says:

    Ok the images that accompany this article are hilarious! The next time someone asks we what time it is, I have a brand new answer for them. Love it! These are really great practical things that we all forget when the going gets tough. Thanks for the reality check.

  5. [...] Related: The Working Girl’s Guide To Surviving A Terrible Job [...]

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