What to Do When You Hate Working

I used to think, “I hate working”.  Then after awhile I reinforced this with saying, “I hate working”.  Then it became a lot tougher to get out of bed to go to work. Then my results at work started to tank.

When you think negative thoughts a lot, they gain power and momentum.

Here is a helpful metaphor from Dr. Wayne Dyer.

“Imagine perching your car at the top of a hill and taking it out of gear and taking the parking brake off. And now, just for fun to see what will happen, you nudge your car a little bit from behind. Well, you know what will happen. With only a slight nudge your car will careen down the hill.

But if you step out in front of it right away and let it bump up against you, you can easily stop that unwanted momentum. You would not want to be at the base of that hill trying to stop the momentum.”

Most people don’t even realize how they are thinking about work, and how it’s impacting their work day and family life.  But, everything changes when you change your thinking.

You can notice when these negative thoughts like “I hate working” pop into your mind and/or out of your mouth, and stop the momentum to reverse the pattern.  You can flip your thoughts to think more creatively and be a better person to work around.  It can even help you lead more effectively.

When I began to recognize my negative thoughts I could finally do something about them.  My performance improved in every aspect of life, but the best was –  I started enjoying life a lot more.

Read on and find out the three-step solution to the “I hate working” syndrome:

Step 1 – What Word Describes Someone Who Loves Work

Imagine a person who wildly loves their work.  What words come to mind?

When I ask a group this question, I often hear lucky, crazy, trust fund baby, or even medicated. The descriptions get pretty funny, but this question actually reveals your true thoughts about work.  The more negative the words become, the more likely the negativity your thoughts and beliefs are about work.

Watch what happens when we had some fun with this exercise with the employees of a large Fortune 1000 company:

Step 2 – Consider Where These Thoughts Come From

The words from Step 1 reflect your beliefs about work.

My child is in a Montessori school, and while they call their work “work” they are usually excited to get going every morning.  In other words, your ideas about work did not come from you.  They originated somewhere else.  This is another area where it can get pretty interesting. The ideas usually start with teachers and parents, and then they quickly go to Al Bundy and Archie Bunker.  I wrote awhile back about how even music can be influential.

Your beliefs are significantly influenced and often generated by your environment.  The message in some environments often say that work is supposed to be hard, tedious, and exhausting.  This, of course, creates negative momentum.

Step 3 – Flood Your Brain with Positive Thoughts About Work

The fastest way to change your thoughts is to flood your brain with positive thoughts about work.  Try one of these methods:

Method 1) Intentionally connect with people who love ‘work’; identify role models who enjoy working.  Then spend some time in conversation and get to know them.

Method 2) Watch or listen to something that triggers a positive perspective.  Here are few of my favorites:


  • Supply and Demand, Amos Lee – I wrote a very personal article on how this song inspires your career.
  • The Avett Brothers – Here are my three favorite songs on career inspiration from my favorite band.
  • I Was Here (United Nations World Humanitarian Day Performance Video) – Beyoncé –  This gives me a chill every time.  Recommended to me by the late, Scott Dinsmore.


  • Simon Sinek’s TED Talk – “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”. One of the most watched TED talks of all time. Leadership at work never felt so inspiring!
  • Logan LaPlante: Hackschooling Makes Me Happy – In his TED talk, this 13-year old reveals how he turns subjects in school he doesn’t like (writing and physics) into activities he enjoys and is even motivated to learn more about. If he can do this at school, you at can do it at work.
  • Dreams without Goals – Denzel Washington delivering an impromptu talk to a group of actors who get a lot of ‘No’s but keep going anyway.
  • The Pursuit of Happyness – A movie about the true inspired story of Wall Street Legend, Chris Gardner.
  • Salmon Fishing in Yemen – A fun movie that shows what coming alive at work really looks like.

Try the three steps and begin transforming any thoughts of “I hate working”. Notice how much more enjoyable work can be.


PS: What helpful resources do you use to positively impact your thoughts about work?  Please share in the comments below…

P.S: Download my free report, The Catastrophic Cost of Quitting: How Organizations and Employees Pay the Ultimate Price