At one time or another, we've all worked at jobs we hate. In fact, I was talking to someone just the other day who told me about his job. He felt stuck in his job, even though he hated it and had been having tons of stress related health problems. When I asked why he kept doing it, he gave me several reasons that sounded suspiciously like excuses to me.
It got me thinking and I started wondering why so many of us stay in jobs that are ruining our health, destroying our self-esteem and making us unhappy. I know that I have been guilty of doing it myself. At one time, I worked for a large telecommunications company. The job had great hours, great pay and even better benefits. When I started, I thought that it was a dream come true. I quickly realized that the job wasn't for me. Not only was I not a good fit there, I was stressed out and unhappy all the time. Soon, my work performance began to suffer and even my home life was affected. I didn't want to leave the job because the pay was so good, even though I could have taken a lesser paying job and still have been okay financially. After the job had cost me my health, a good portion of my self-esteem and my marriage, I decided to leave and I never looked back.
It wasn't easy, but it was a decision I wished I had made sooner. If you are stuck in a job you hate, make sure you aren't using excuses to stay.
Here are 5 of the most common excuses for staying in a job you hate:
- Things could get better - Sure, they might. Maybe your boss will get fired and the company will hire a great boss. Perhaps the annoying people in your office will suddenly stop being jerks. It could happen. But, do you want to bank on maybes? Things might get better, but they might get worse. Ask yourself how much worse you're willing to accept and then decide if it's worth taking the gamble.
- I can't let my boss "win"/ Don't want to be a "quitter" - It doesn't matter. When it comes to your personal and professional happiness there are no winners or losers. The old saying that quitters never win just isn't true. Even if it were, I don't think it would apply to leaving a job. It's not as though you are considering just throwing up your arms and never working again. Replace the term "quitting" with "leaving a job that isn't a good fit for you", and it will make much more sense. If the job isn't right for you, finding something that is isn't admitting defeat, is doing what is best for you.
- Quitting will look bad on my resume - It might, but I think that you're overestimating the damage of having quit a job. Besides, spending years at a job you hate will do more damage to your self-esteem, your enthusiasm and your work ethic than having left a job will do to your resume. Instead of worrying about what your next employer will think about why you left your job, think about what kind of impression you would make on them and then start looking for something else while you still have some excitement and optimism left.
- I've been working here for years - I've heard this one a lot and have even made the excuse myself. It's one of those things that sounds good at first, but under scrutiny, it just doesn't hold up. Continuing to do something you hate just because you've done it so long is like continuing to go in the wrong direction just because you're making good time. If the job isn't right for you and it isn't helping you get where you want to be, then make a change. The less time you waste, the less time you'll have to spend getting back on the right path.
- My job pays well - Even if it pays you considerably more than you think you'd make at another job, it isn't worth the cost to your health and your self-worth. When you're unhappy at work, it affects all other areas of your life. Life is short and you can't sacrifice yours for more money. Instead, use your time at the job to save up money to make your career change easier. Sure, you might not find another job making the same amount, but how much are you willing to sell your happiness and your health for?
Have you ever stayed in a job you hated? What excuses did you use? Did you ever regret leaving? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments.