How to cope with your old (not-great) job while looking for a new (great) job.

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You don’t like your job. That is why your main New Year’s resolution is to get a better one. However, despite the fact that the employment rate is back at pre-recession levels, you haven’t yet been successful.

You will be. It just hasn’t happened yet.

Meanwhile, you’re stuck in a job that makes you unhappy, maybe even miserable. What to do?

For starters, you can spend more time with positive, upbeat people. At work, gravitate toward that colleague who always seems to find a kind word to say. Elsewhere, seek out buddies who make you feel good about yourself. Look for ways to introduce laughter into your life — watch funny movies, read funny books.

When we’re unhappy, we tend to complain. This is fine. In fact, feel free to give yourself permission to vent (outside work hours, please!). You might even schedule rant sessions, setting a time limit so you don’t start to wallow. You could also seek out the counsel of a clergyperson, mentor, trusted family member or friend.

Now is also the time to make those off hours count more. Yoga, watercolor, a kickball team — outlets like these remind you of what’s good about the world and your life. A passionate hobby, particularly one that supplies the qualities your work lacks (creative expression, validation), can improve your mental outlook tremendously. Also, consider volunteering. There’s nothing like helping others to make us feel better about ourselves.

Being unhappy at work can take a toll on our physical health, too, so don’t forget to eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep. This is the year you really need to keep that New Year’s resolution to start a workout regimen.

Focus on the things that are good about your job, or at least not bad. Look for ways to spend more time on pleasant projects, and less on the activities that you don’t enjoy. Sometimes just changing up your routine injects new energy into your day.

Finally, consider this: You don’t have to like your job to be happy. Life has so much more to offer. Yes, it’s good and even desirable to be at a job you love, but if that isn’t where you are right now, it’s not the end of the world, either.

Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use and of the novel “The Paris Effect.” Email her at