3 Reasons to Stay in a Job You Hate

Do you hate your job? Why do you stay?

Most people who continue to work at jobs they hate have very solid, defensible reasons for staying. I know I did. In my work, I have the opportunity to talk freely and openly with individuals who truly are tired of the work they do and have grown to hate their jobs. It’s not a conversation that’s encouraged in most places, and I consider it a privilege to have these conversations. And every one of the people I speak with has good reasons to stay.

Here are 3 common reasons that I’ve discovered, and I wonder if you can relate to any of these.

1. Money or financial security. Brad had a mortgage to pay and children to support. His family had needs he was committed to take care of. So he concluded he couldn’t quit his job. It paid well.

Few of us have the luxury of having enough money to provide for our needs and the needs of our family without working. Most of us need to earn money to pay for food on the table, a roof over our heads, doctor bills, and transportation. Things we do for fun, recreation and relaxation cost money. Money may not buy happiness, but it does provide us with a standard of living that we enjoy.

My question for Brad, is this the only job in the whole world that will pay you what you need? Is it possible there are other companies? Other jobs? Other careers? That will provide for you financially? And if it is possible, is it worth exploring for options? If you were suddenly laid off from work, I imagine pretty quickly you’d find alternatives. If that’s the case, why wait?

I do agree that before you change jobs or careers, you need to do the math. Can you make the money you truly need? I also know there are always options.

2. Not wanting to throw away all your hard work. Carrie had worked for 10 years to move herself along one career track. She was respected by her coworkers, and had done a great job. She described changing careers as though she were going to throw away all her hard – earned experience, and start over completely. She didn’t want to have all that work count for nothing. She didn’t think any of her skills would transfer to a new path.

We want our efforts and experience to count for something. That’s completely reasonable. And the good news is, it does count. When you change jobs or careers, you bring all of your knowledge and experience with you. If you don’t believe me, let me ask you, what part of your body or clothing contains your experience? Do you plan to leave that behind when you change your job or career? Of course not! You couldn’t if you wanted to! And that is GREAT NEWS! That means that wherever you go next, they will have the benefit of your unique background and experience.

3. This is what you are skilled to do. This is where your experience is.

Of course you need to be qualified for any job you seek. It can be so easy to think that our skills and experience are only valuable in the environment where we learned them. And that’s simply untrue. You may need to spend some time unearthing all the skills you have learned and the strengths you have developed in your old job or environment. But once you do, you can begin to explore where else those might be valued.

There are good reasons to stay at a job you hate. Money. Wanting your hard work to still count. Being qualified to do the job. The mistake many people make is that they stay, and stay, and stay. They don’t leave (unless forced out the door). They don’t explore their options.

It can be smart to stay at your current job, even if you hate it, until you find your next one. But to find the next one, you have to create a plan and take action on it. Unearth your skills and strengths. Imagine the type of job or career you’d love, and explore your options. Create a plan to find a new job, and make the change. Why not find a career you love and thrive there?

Do you hate your job? Why do you stay? Please share your story below.

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Jack Tackitt, West Chicago, IL

I would recommend Lori as a career coach because she brings her enthusiasm and knowledge of the corporate world to her clients. She has designed a unique process to help her clients find out what their ultimate job is and what their job passion really is. I have found that the “personalized” skills, strength and impact matrix which is a direct result of Lori’s job search process is a very valuable tool which I can use on a daily basis. Lori is genuinely interested in getting to know her clients and always tries to help them move forward in finding their next career opportunity.