Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with a prospect to talk about coaching and I asked her, “How did you learn about me?”

Her response made me laugh.

She said she Googled, “Why do I hate my job”

There was a time in my life when I asked this same question. Why do I hate my job so much? Why am I so miserable?

In fact, these questions sparked my own career makeover and the development of the Career Sweet-Spot model.

Today, as a career specialist, a lot of people tell me that they’re unhappy in their job, and they have no idea why. They feel exhausted. Denied. Confused.

But the real problem is not that we’re unable to explain our situation; it’s that we’re reluctant to search for the answers.

Apart from a cursory Internet search, we often avoid answering the tough career questions because we’re afraid of what we may learn.

It’s a sad catch 22.

If we knew why things weren’t working out, we could set to work on improving them. And without this critical insight, we continue to suffer, stress, and limp along in our career whilst hoping things will change.

But they never do. [correction]

Sometimes they get worse.

Instead of waiting for things to worsen, why not FINALLY get the answers? It doesn’t have to be painful. It can be as simple as looking objectively at your career situation from a few new angles.

So to help, I’ve distilled all the countless reasons why you might hate your job into four precise categories. All you need to do is read them and identify which one applies to you. It couldn’t be easier!

Be aware that you’re likely to identify most strongly with one of these four reasons: Who, Where, What and How, signaling the deepest pain point of your work. Of course, if your job is truly detrimental to your health, you may identify with a little bit from all of them.




The source of your career frustration rests with the people you work with. This could mean your coworkers or your customers, but either way, something about their typical personality and/or communication-style seriously conflicts with your own. This leads to continuous conflict, communication errors, and distasteful politicking. Ever hear the saying, birds of a feather flock together? It’s like you’re an eagle and they’re all a bunch of turkeys. ‘Nuff said.


The reason you hate your job is the physical location of it. You might find the location of your office unnecessarily inconvenient or unsafe. You might interpret the décor and lighting as a personal insult to your stylish sensibilities. Perhaps the commute is too long or the weather is too bleak. You’re an introvert in a sea of cubicles! Or you’re an extrovert chained to your desk! Whatever the reason, you feel like your workplace is a prison and your mood, productivity and mental health is suffering because of it.


Your career pain point is harder to pin point. It’s not so much the people or the place where you work that frustrates you, as it is the day-to-day grind. Perhaps your job is in sales and you feel like you’ve never measured up, despite your best efforts. Maybe you’re craving variety and spontaneity, and yet, you work in a hierarchical institution. Or you might be dying to work with customers, but are stuck with a computer in the back office. Whatever the situation, most days you’re so frustrated you feel like screaming! You know you’re talented and adaptable but success continues to elude you. The problem is what you’re paid to do doesn’t agree with who you are.


Do you ever find yourself complaining about shift work, overtime, too much travel, or zero flexibility? Are you craving more autonomy and the power to make decisions on how (or when) the work gets done? You might have become so discouraged that you’ve started to believe that work-life balance is a bunch of crap. Before you become even more jaded, realize this: having control over how and when you work is a major factor to your satisfaction.

I hope this produces some fresh insight for you, and with any luck, will help you finally identify why you hate your job. What you do with that insight is up to you.

But as one of the founders of Gestalt, Fritz Perls, once said “awareness… is curative”. So, what if identifying the source of the problem was the hardest part?

Like Perls, I believe that awareness has it’s own magnetism. When we know what the problem is – solutions will naturally find their way to us.

Cheers to that.



Heather Petherick is the leading Career Freedom Coach for women worldwide, supporting women to create the career they love and the life they deserve. She is the creator of The Incredible Career Makeover program and since 2007 she’s been using her signature blend of humour, courage, and the unvarnished truth to help women navigate the murky waters of their career. She is a proud Canadian, a wife and mother of two, a lover of smelly cheese and salty meats, and a passionate advocate for women living their best lives. Learn more about Heather at

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