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Growing up, you’re told to do well in school so you can get a good job. This is pretty widely accepted as being the “right thing to do” – and yet so many of us then get to the point where we realize that, actually, we don’t want to work anymore. So what should you do?

This could be due to having a difficult time finding a job you like. On the other hand, it could be due to you experiencing burnout, especially when it seems like being part of the rat race is never-ending.

What should you do when you don’t want to work anymore? Is it normal to not want to work? And how can you live without working? 

Well, if this is you, there are options. Just make sure to keep several important tips in mind.

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What do I do if I don’t want to work?

Everyone gets tired sometimes, and sometimes work is the main cause. Even though you may need to have a job to pay the bills, lack of motivation is an issue. 

Therefore, if you don’t want to work anymore, there are several important steps you follow. These include the following.

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1. Think about the quality of your mental health

If you are having a difficult time finding the motivation to work, the first thing you need to do is think about the quality of your mental health. There are a lot of people who find satisfaction and fulfillment in their careers; however, this does not necessarily mean that you have to. Therefore, take a look at your mental health.

Are you nervous about going to work in the morning? Do you have a difficult time getting out of bed? If so, you may want to reach out to a close friend, family member, or even an extra resource at your job. 

It may also be best for you to reach out to a mental health professional who can help you figure out where your issues are coming from.

2. Try to find the root cause of your feelings

Next, you should try to consider why you are having a hard time getting up to go to work in the morning. What aspects of your job are making it difficult for you to focus on what you have to do? Are you bored at work, or are there other issues in your life that are creating Focus difficulties?

As an example, if you are being weighed down by personal obligations, you may want to try to work from home a bit more often. If your employer will allow you to do so, this could make it easier for you to balance your obligations. That way, you could go a long way towards reducing any concerns about personal issues getting in the way of your work.

3. Imagine what you want your life to look like

There is also a chance that your current job is not exactly what you imagined. Therefore, think about what you want your ideal life to look like. How do you want to spend your time? What is the division between work and fun?

It is entirely possible that your core values have changed slightly over the years. If you suddenly have the urge to travel more, and you may want to find a job that allows you to do so. If you want to spend more time relaxing, you may want to explore ways to reduce your commute or alter your schedule.

4. Make time for a break

There is also a chance that you don’t want to work simply because you need a break from everything that is going on. 

Think about all the negative aspects that have developed at work recently. Perhaps your company changed hands recently, leading to a new boss that you don’t get along with.

woman taking a break as something to do when she doesn't want to work

Therefore, consider finding a way to take a break. You might want to take advantage of a few days off here and there. Alternatively, it could be as simple as taking a coffee break during the day to catch up with some work friends – or even just have some alone time. Your goal should be to recharge so that you can look at your job with a renewed sense of energy. There is nothing wrong with taking a break from time to time.

If it’s possible based on your employer and your finances, you could also consider dropping down to part time work. This could be a simple solution if you don’t want to work full time but still want to hold a job

5. Consider your daily habits

You might also want to consider making a change in your daily habits to lead to some broader improvements to your life.

FYI: The book Atomic Habits is one of the best for this. It shows you just how some small (i.e. “atomic” sized) changes to your habits can have big effects on the rest of your life.

Even making a change in your eating habits goes a long way toward helping you feel more motivated. If you make small changes in your life, you may be more motivated to go to work. 

That is, f you can incorporate a small number of positive changes here and there, it may make it easier for you to go to work every day. For example, you might want to start exercising on a daily basis to give yourself a better source of energy.

And if you feel like you need help making changes in your life, you might want to reach out to a professional who can help you.

6. Think about other careers

Perhaps you don’t want to work at your current job, not that you don’t want to work anymore entirely.

person reading a document

So if you feel like your current job is not doing it for you, you may want to take a look at other career paths. Is there something else you were considering when you were in school? You may want to take a look at this career option to see if it is a good fit for you.

If you feel like you do not have the educational skills necessary to make a career change, you may want to consider going back to school. There might even be a training program that can expedite this process for you. You could also speak with a career counselor who can help you figure out what might be a good fit for you.

What does it mean when you don’t want to work?

The feeling you get when you don’t want to go to work anymore could mean that the purpose and satisfaction you used to feel from that job is no longer there. It could also indicate that there is a tremendous amount of stress on your mental health that leaves you stressed, exhausted, and burnt out.

Of course, this means something different for everyone. It could mean that you don’t want to work anymore at all. It could also mean that you don’t want to work at that specific job. 

woman stressed as she realizes that she doesn't want to work anymore but needs the money

That is why it is important for you to work with a professional who can help you dive deeper into some of your issues. 

This could include setting more boundaries at work, compartmentalizing a lot of the problems you are facing, and talking to your boss about ways you might be able to improve your situation in the office.

Is it normal to not want to work?

Virtually everyone has situations where they do not want to work. Sometimes, a bad day at the office can make you not want to go to work the next day. However, this feeling should pass relatively quickly. If you find that you do not want to go to work for weeks on end, this is something you need to address.

The first thing you need to do is figure out whether you don’t want to work at that specific job or if you don’t want to work at all. This will help you figure out what you should do next. 

There might be changes you can make in your current working situation that could make your current job more attractive. Or, you may simply need to make a career change. 

You may want to explore other opportunities that could put your skillset to use. You might even want to consider starting your own company based on your current hobbies and interests. People’s passions change from time to time. There is nothing wrong with that.

Is it wrong to not want a career?

There is nothing wrong with not wanting a career. Keep in mind that everyone’s definition of a career is slightly different. If you view your job as a vehicle for making money, there is nothing wrong with that. On the other hand, you do need to find other things that are fulfilling for you.

For example, you may have a lot of hobbies and interests that are fulfilling. Perhaps you are someone who likes to play music. Maybe you are someone who likes to travel the world. You could also be someone who was passionate about sports. 

As long as you find fulfillment in something, you can view your job as a way to fund those other activities. This could make it easier for you to go to work every day, especially if you don’t want to work anymore but you need the money.

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How do you make a living if you don’t want to work?

If you don’t want to work, you still need to find a way to make a living. 

However, unless you’ve saved up enough money by this point (which is exactly why, in the book The Simple Path to Wealth, the author talks about building what he calls F-U Money) or have something like a trust fund to reply upon, you will have to get creative when it comes to living without a job. A few options include:

  • Build up sources of passive income. This is the most effective way to make a living if you don’t want to work, but it does take some time to prepare. It could include, for example, starting a six-figure side hustle that can eventually run itself or investing in something that can provide money from time to time, like investment properties where you collect rent.
  • Freelance. Now, freelancing is technically work, but it’s not the typical 9-5 with consistent hours. Instead, you pick how much you want to work based on how many clients you take on. This flexibility in your hours could be just what you need if full time work is getting you down.
  • Participate in paid focus groups. These involve you being asked about new products or political issues – and getting paid surprisingly well for it. For example, Survey Junkie pays up to $150 an hour to focus group participants.
  • Monetize a hobby. A great personal finance quote is the saying “Find something you love to do, and you’ll never work a day in your life”. So whatever you love to do, see if there’s a way you can monetize it to replace your current main income source.
  • Sell digital products. Digital products are great for people who want to make money without working as once you’ve created them and made them available online, there’s very little ongoing work required beyond promoting them. This could include selling printables on sites like Etsy or developing courses on literally any topic in which you have an area of expertise and selling access to it on Teachable.

These are a few ways you can make money if you don’t want to work.

What do you do if you hate your job but can’t quit?

If you hate your job but can’t quit, there are a few steps you can follow, including:

1. Consider smaller goals

If you want to find a way to drag yourself to work every day, you may want to set smaller goals for yourself. For example, consider trying to clear out your email inbox within an hour of arriving at the office. Tell yourself that you are going to get a reward if you can do so.

You might also want to consider indulging in your favorite activity after work if you get everything done on your to-do list. This is a great way for you to overcome some temporary mental hurdles related to your motivation in the office. 

man reading to his kids in bed

If you reward yourself with happiness on the other side, you may find the motivation to go to work every day.

2. Save your vacation days (then actually use them)

You may also need to go on vacation. Sometimes, the cure for a lack of motivation at work is to get away from work for about a week. Therefore, consider going on a vacation to your dream destination.

Yes, this is probably going to be expensive, which is why you need to keep going to work. Create a budget for how you can save up for that vacation as quickly as possible. Remember that you may need to clear this with your employer as well, so you need to start saving up your vacation days as quickly as possible.

3. Consider a side hustle

If you don’t want to go to work anymore, you will need to find other ways to make money. Therefore, you might want to take a look at a potential side hustle. You might even be able to turn your car and hobbies and interests into a small business.

If you can turn your hobbies into a small business, you may be able to find a new purpose in life. This could even lead you to become a full-time business owner with total control over what happens at your company – and your life more broadly. 

And if you can get away from a typical job, you may find renewed motivation in your hobbies and interests. Then, you might be able to quit your original job.

4. Reach out to your support system

Finally, you may want to consider reaching out to your support system for help. Your support system could include your family members, your friends, and your co-workers. They may bring a different perspective to some of the issues you are currently facing.

man and woman walking in street with coffee

After this, you may want to reach out to a trained professional as well. A mental health professional can help you figure out changes you might be able to make in your life that could provide you with some extra motivation. This could be the answer to a lot of the problems you are facing.

Should you take a job you don’t want?

The question of whether or not to take a job you don’t want depends on your individual situation. This includes considering points such as how badly you need the money, if the job has benefits that would help your household, like health insurance, and whether there are long term advantages that balance out the short term annoyances.

For example, if you don’t need the money from your salary at this job that desperately, then you may want to keep looking. 

On the other hand, if you really do need the income, you may want to negotiate with your employer to see if you can make the job more attractive. This could include things like working some days from home or working longer hours on certain days so other days are shorter.

What do you do when you don’t want to go to work tomorrow?

If you don’t want to go to work tomorrow, there are a few tips for each day you should follow include:

  • Leave your work at the door: Make sure you have a solid division between your work life and home life. That way, you do not take your work problems home with you.
  • Find something to look forward to: See if there is something later in the week you are looking forward to. Maybe you are going to a sporting event or a music concert. This could make it easier for you to get through the workday.
  • Go exercise: You need to find another source of energy. Consider going for a run, a swim, or a bike ride. The adrenaline rush could make you feel better.
  • Make your morning routine easier: Find ways to make your morning routine just a bit easier. That way, it will not be as hard for you to get out of bed in the morning. Maybe you want to make your lunch for tomorrow right now. Or, consider laying out all of your items on the counter.

This could make it easier for you to go to work in the morning.

Final thoughts

If you’re at the point where you don’t want to work anymore and are wondering what you should do, don’t worry – it’s actually normal to not want to work (more than you may think!) and there are definitely options.

That said, you do need to think about what this might look like and may need to do some planning. It’s rarely the solution to simply up and quit one day without a personal financial plan ready.

For instance, if the problem is that you don’t want to work hard for someone else any more, with a bit of effort, you might find a way to work from home. For example, you might be able to monetize a blog, work as a virtual assistant, or even sell old books you may find lying around. Keep in mind that it is going to be difficult to live a luxurious lifestyle with these options, at least at first until you have time to build up each income stream, but you can still support yourself and live a comfortable life.

And while you may not immediately have the money to go on lavish vacations, you may still be able to relax with a few nice things at home on the income generated from these things. This is why, if you want to live without working, you first need to think about the type of life you want. 

Then, think about what type of money you need to fund that lifestyle. This will tell you if you can live your life without a job.

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About the author

Anna is the founder of LogicalDollar and a personal finance expert, having been seen in Forbes, HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, CreditCards.com and many more. She’s committed to helping others get on the path to financial freedom using the experience gained from turning $60,000 in debt into a thriving investment portfolio. Find out more.