Fed Up With Your Job? Don’t Just Rage Apply, Do This Instead

Not so long ago, if your boss was acting like a total jerk, you had two choices: grin and bear it or hand in your resignation.

Now there's a new trend in play: "rage applying." This is where you send out as many applications as you can, as quickly as you can, in a fit of anger and frustration.

Applying for jobs has never been easier. Now, a simple click can send your resume to hundreds of potential employers within minutes. But just because you can do it doesn't mean you should do it—and what might sound like a productive way to vent your anger may be harmful in the long run. 

Why? Well, the biggest problem with rage applying is its scattergun. When you rage apply, you fire off applications to every job you see, even though it might not be right for you in the long-run.

People who are happiest in their jobs tend to be thoughtful before they make a big decision about their career. If you end a bad day at work by rage applying, there's a chance you're going to end up in a similar situation at your next job because you haven't really thought through your options.

So, what should you do instead of rage applying? Next time you're tempted to take your frustration out on a job board, try these steps instead.

1. Pinpoint what it is about your job you dislike

Are you genuinely unhappy at work or was your rage applying a knee-jerk reaction to a specific incident? Be really clear on this or you might end up leaving a pretty good job, only to discover that the grass isn’t greener.

To figure out what’s going on, make a list of reasons why you dislike your job. Think about things you dislike generally, as well as specific incidents that make you frustrated or angry, even if they don’t happen every day. For example, are you feeling bored, under-challenged or stuck in a rut? This could be a sign that you’re ready for a new challenge. Are you feeling burned out? If this hits home, it may be time to have a word with your boss and redesign your job to get a better work/life balance

Taking an inventory like this can put reasons to your feelings. Once you have reasons, you can find solutions.

2. Discover what you really want

A career can last for 40 years, so it's important to make sure you're in a job that aligns with your values, interests and personality. But too often, we stumble into our first job and continue riding that wave because it's comfortable.  

It may sound patronizing, but when you take some time to reflect on your passions, you might discover the field you’re in doesn’t align with your needs and goals. One way to identify your needs is to take a career aptitude test, which will outline your strengths and provide a list of potential career fits.

You can also try asking yourself some crucial questions for finding a job you love to help you narrow your list of potential career choices. Simply taking the time to ask “What do I enjoy learning about?” and “What tasks do I find most fulfilling?” can help guide you towards a career that truly makes you happy. At the very least, it will help you decide whether to go or stay.

3. Make a career map to define your plan

Once you have a good idea of your next steps, you can create an actionable visual map to see where you’d like your career to go. Do this by setting achievable goals, such as:

  • Apply to 10 jobs in this field by February
  • Take a training course to gain a new skill
  • Attend a networking event to meet people in the industry
  • Update your resume and LinkedIn profile to reflect your new career goals

Creating a plan is the opposite of rage applying—it gives you a clear direction to go in and action steps towards achieving what you truly want. It also allows for flexibility, in case things don’t go exactly as planned.

Refer back to your map when you’re feeling stuck or unmotivated. 

Most of all, do your research. If you want to move up in your current field or switch to a new one, you should make sure you’re well-informed. Find articles about the job, look for information in books and immerse yourself in what it takes to get from point A to point B.

4. Identify burnout and deal with it

If you're rage applying because you're just plain exhausted, try to work on burnout recovery. Unfortunately, not every job will allow you to take time off to recover, but if you do have the luxury of taking vacation time, this may benefit you. Sometimes, you hate your job because you haven’t given yourself a break for years, and the nonstop work has worn you out! 

Of course, there may be deeper reasons why you're feeling burned out. If the company doesn’t have enough resources for you to do your job, or the boss is highly demanding, these are issues that won’t go away with a simple vacation. You may need to reassess your job and determine whether it's truly worth it for you to stay—and perhaps take a small sabbatical between jobs to fully recover, so you can start your next challenge firing on all cylinders.

5. Develop an exit strategy… but make the timeline reasonable.

While it seems counterintuitive to stay in a job you hate, sometimes the best approach is to work methodically on building an exit strategy. Having an escape plan will give you something to look forward to, and you won’t have to feel quite so anxious about scoring a new job right away. 

In this scenario, you should plan a timeline for when you jump ship and give yourself a reasonable goal of when you will find a new job. Your strategy won’t look the same as anyone else’s since everyone has different needs, but you might start by deciding on a leave date. 

For instance, you might give yourself one year to save enough money to leave your job. This goal will help eliminate stress since you're not pressuring yourself to find a new position right away. Best of all, you may find that you become more motivated in your current job, since you're now seeing it as a way to fund your goal and not as a prison sentence.

Summing it up

While rage applying might work for some people, for most of us, it's better to take a beat. Applying for jobs when you're angry may stop you being angry, but it won't tell you why you were angry in the first place, and it definitely won't tell you what you really want and need to be happy in your career. 

No job is perfect. But making a plan is key to finding long-term happiness. Knowing what fulfills you and what you’re unwilling to sacrifice can give you the power to find jobs worth applying to, not just jobs that are available on a very bad day.

Cianna Garrison
Cianna Garrison holds a B.A. in English from Arizona State University and works as a freelance writer. She fell in love with psychology and personality type theory back in 2011. Since then, she has enjoyed continually learning about the 16 personality types. As an INFJ, she lives for the creative arts, and even when she isn’t working, she’s probably still writing.