Why Do We Stay in Jobs We Hate?

“If you’re going to work, you might as well work in the career that pays me the most.” This was the quote that lead me down almost 10 years of doing a job that I hated.  When I graduate college with a degree in marketing, I was excited to get out into the world of work.  I was considering jobs in advertising and marketing and started going out and doing interviews. After about a month of not getting anywhere, I decided to visit a recruiter.  


The recruiter was an older man, and he seemed to have a lot of experience, so when he suggested I look into the field of sales because I could earn a good salary, I listened to him.  


About a month after that, I got my first job working as a copier salesman.  At first, I was excited to be out there, but slowly I started feeling more and more disengaged. Eventually, after about 6 months of working there, I realized I was feeling more and more depressed.  I hated getting up and going to work each day, but I was too prideful to quit.


I continued to stick with sales for a number almost 10 years.  “It will get better,” I would rationalize.  “Once I get to be the top salesperson for the company, I’ll be happy.”  The only problem was, because I didn’t like my job, I most likely would never become the top salesperson in the company. After all, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that in order to perform at your best, you must be engaged in your work.


Finally, after almost 10 years in sales, I finally changed careers.  Looking back now, I often wonder why I stuck with it for so long.


5 Reasons Why you stay in a Job you Hate.

Perhaps you are in a job you hate right now.  If so, you’re not alone, research shows that 51% of Americans are disengaged in their jobs and another 16% are actively disengaged in their work.  Why do you stay there? Let’s take a look at the 5 reasons I have discovered people stay in jobs they hate and how to discern whether you should leave or not.



  • You rationalize that things are going to get better: Like me, perhaps you are continually rationalizing that things will get better.  “When I get my next promotion, things will get better” or “when such and such changes in the company, I’ll be much happier.”  If this is the case for you, take some time to reflect on these rationalizations. Think about why you think they will change your outlook. Often times, when people are disengaged in their work, it means there is not a good role fit, and unless the change within the office means an entirely different role, chances are you won’t be any happier.




  • You have a compelling reason for staying there:  Is it because it provides you with a stable income?  Does it provide you the flexibility you are looking for?  Maybe it’s the people that you work with… Take a sheet of paper and write down a list of the reasons you are currently staying with your job.  Then, after each reason, begin brainstorming ways that you can include this into a future job.



    • Start small:  Start by making small goals.  Maybe your first goal is to look at possible positions out there. To learn more about setting goals, look at this free strategy guide.


    • Ask someone else:  If you’re in doubt, talk to others who have done it.  Perhaps you have a friend or former colleague that’s made a similar career change that you’re interested.  Sit down and talk with them about what they did.


  • The prospect of job searching overwhelms you: For many people, the prospect of updating your resume, searching for jobs, and interviewing is downright daunting.  Like the previous reason, the best course of action is to start small, take one step after another. Don’t get bogged down by the entire process just focus on the next step you have to take.




  • You don’t know what to do next: You may know that you don’t like it where you’re working now, but completely unsure of what your next career move is.  If this is the case, consider scheduling a complimentary coaching call with me to discuss the Discover Your Calling Coaching program, where you will go through a series of exercises, assessments, and reflective activities to identify jobs that you would love.



Can you think of others reasons?  Leave it in the comments below. If you are interested in learning more about the Discover Your Calling Program or scheduling a complimentary coaching session today.

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