If you don't love your job, you might be considering all sorts of options -- some productive, some destructive. But it's important to remain in control, even in a bad situation.

You might have a mean boss and incompetent co-workers, and someone keeps eating your lunch out of the refrigerator. But those are all reasons to make a change, not an excuse for your own bad behavior. You can make a bad situation better, but you can also make it worse. There is one thing you should never do when you are miserable at work -- and two that you should if you want to improve your situation.

A person holding a help sign on a stick hides under a laptop.

Take charge of your situation and make changes. Image source: Getty Images.

Never ghost or quit without notice

No matter how miserable you are, you should never ghost your job -- meaning that you can't just not show up. It's also very bad form to quit without giving two weeks' notice.

You may want to, and you may be justified in doing so, but that will change the narrative. Instead of you being a person who quit, you will become an irresponsible jerk who disappeared or quit without notice "for no reason."

There is one exception here. If you truly feel you are in danger and that your boss won't correct that (or is the source of the danger) you can quit to protect yourself. In that case, make a phone call to human resources and further document your reason for leaving suddenly in a letter to HR, and write another letter to your boss offering to complete reasonable tasks remotely.

Do try to work it out

It's possible that a situation you perceive as terrible may be fixable. The only way to figure that out is to talk about. Approach your boss and/or human resources to ask for a meeting.

Lay out why you're unhappy, but be diplomatic about it. (Your boss isn't a micromanaging jerk, they "have a different style from yours," as you prefer to work more independently.) If the issue is the nature of your job, then it's important to talk about where you would like to be and be open to plans that take time to transition you there.

It's very possible you will lay out your concerns and get a limited response. If that happens, you should be prepared to give notice -- maybe not on the spot, but at some point soon, because a lack of response is your boss saying nothing is going to get better.

Your leverage is to leave

With a strong job market, employees have more leverage than they otherwise might. That does not mean you have more leverage than your company, however. It's important to examine your options before putting yourself in a situation that could end with your being out of a job.

That may mean working in misery while you prepare for the possibility of leaving. Get your resume together, and check whether your fields -- or others you're qualified to work in -- have openings where you live or are willing to move to. Make sure you have enough savings to cover a period of unemployment, and know that you will need to pay for health insurance as well (either through COBRA or another option).

Stay in control. Keep the process professional and be the bigger person, even if you're tempted not to be. That's not always easy, but it will serve you well down the line, as you never know when bad behavior -- even well-justified bad behavior -- will come back to bite you.