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Eight excellent reasons to hang on to a job you hate

Working through the issues

There may seem only two good reasons for hanging on in a job that has become as appealing as shoveling excrement in torrential rain: i) you need the money and ii) there are no other jobs on offer.

However, if you’re feeling trapped in a job you dislike simply because it pays the bills and there don’t seem any real alternatives, then you can buoy yourself up with this thought: there are some excellent reasons to hang on in a job, and they have nothing to do with being trapped there. Regardless of unpleasantness. careers specialists said you should stick in a job when...

1. You need to work through your work issues

Karin Peeters, a life and executive coach in London, said it’s foolish to leave a job on at a low point. “You want to get to a place where you can leave with your head held high,” she said. “Don’t leave a job at a point of defeat and despair – if you do, then in years to come you may still feel anger and resentment because you were forced out. You need to look back and think that made the choice to leave when it was right for you.”

2. You’re stuck in a cycle

Don’t leave a hated job if leaving a hated job is something you've done a few times already. “You can get stuck in a habitual pattern,” warned Peeters. “You may find that you always end up in a job with a manager you don’t get along with, or that you always feel envious towards colleagues, or that you always leave because you don’t feel up to the task.

“Instead of perpetually moving jobs, you need to resolve your underlying issues,” she said. “Otherwise, it will be like packing your suitcase and taking all your bad habits with you to the new role.”

3. You need to show some grit and stick with your long term goals

Angela Duckworth, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has researched non-cognitive predictors of success and has come up with the concept of 'grit' as an additional determinant of achievement.

Duckworth defines grit as ‘perseverance and passion for long-term goals.’

“Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress. The gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina,” said Duckworth in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. “Whereas disappointment or boredom signals to others that it is time to change trajectory and cut losses, the gritty individual stays the course.”

In other words, gritty individuals won’t leave a job just because it’s become unpleasant.

4. You are able to change things for the better

Blaire Palmer, chief executive of leadership consultancy That People Thing, said it’s worth holding on in an unedifying job if you think you’re able to change it. “Do you have a mission to alter the product, or the solutions you’re working on?” she said. “If you think you can bring about change, it’s worthwhile staying.”

5. You are learning

The disliked job may simply seem unpleasant simply because it’s testing you, said Palmer. “Maybe you’re unhappy because you’re learning too much?” she said. “Learning can be a painful experience. Sometimes you learn a lot in a short amount of time – how not to manage, how not to run an organization, how not to run a meeting, You can take this with you to your next assignment.”

6. It’s part of your career strategy

In normal circumstances, Linda Jackson, a director at careers consultancy 10Eighty, said it makes sense to get out of jobs you hate: “Life’s too short.”

Sometimes, however, Jackson said it makes sense to stick around. “Only stay if you can plan a career strategy which will take you to a different place and you can see that by staying on in this role you can gain some additional skills,” she advised.

7. You have an excellent relationship with your boss

Most people who leave jobs do so because they don’t get on with their boss. However, if you and your boss have an affinity, it could be the foundation for something less horrible and more exciting, said Jackson. “If you have a great manager, but you find the job itself a bit boring, then think about what extra value you might be able to bring to the organization and discuss that with your boss,” she suggested.

“Employees often stay on in jobs they dislike because they feel a real sense of loyalty to the boss who recruited them,” said Lorenza Clifford, director of executive coaching firm Coachange. There’s nothing wrong with this sense of loyalty - but use your close relationship with your boss to make your role more palatable.

8.  Leaving would look bad on your résumé

Finally, however genuinely unbearable your job is, it's unwise to quit too soon if - for reasons inside or outside your control - your résumé suggests you're not a sticker. "If you've jumped jobs every 18 months and you move into a job you don't like, you'll really need to suck it up for a while until your CV can demonstrate some solidity," said Jackson.

On the other hand, if the rest of your CV shows commitment and you have solid experience in past jobs, Jackson said you can move out an unbearable role whenever you like.

Ultimately there are no rules, said Jackson: "It all depends upon your level of distaste for the job. At the end of the day you need to weigh up how unhappy it's going to make you. If a job is so stressful that it will damage your health, get out as soon as you can - nothing is worth that."





AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Cl
    Cloth Nappy Nut
    20 July 2020

    Found this here in 2020, with Covid going on I'm liking this info.

  • gr
    19 June 2013

    The mentality taught here is to look for root cause of the problems, look inside of ourselves and be proactive. Easier said than done but it worths the time and effort to practice such thinking so we automatically think positively, act proactively and earn our days that you leave the place happily.

  • ka
    14 June 2013

    That sounds tough! I completely agree with the statement from Jackson, that ultimately it's our health and well-being that matter most. And it's different per person, some learn most by staying (assertiveness, confidence, maybe even compassion) and others grow most by leaving (self-love, self-respect, self-worth, and confidence too). Developing the courage to do what is right for oneself is such a huge indicator of personal growth. As you are already doing, continue to take good care of yourself, and I wish you all the best.
    Kind regards,
    Karin Peeters (also featured in the article above)

  • So
    11 June 2013

    I'm currently struggling with this now. I work for a guy who is completely out of his depth, paranoid, insecure, and a bully. I've worked with many different people in the past and been fine, whereas I know this guy has had similar problems with at least 4 others in the past. It's tricky because I know I'm learning something from dealing with such an emotional and intellectual retard, but once in a while it does really get to me. Quite how this bonehead got his job is beyond me - his ignorance about the very thing he is supposed to be in charge of is mind-blowing. I'm soon coming up to having been in the role long enough for it not to look too bad on CV, so should be able to move ok. It bugs me because this guy is, in my mind, an absolute liability to the organisation and should terminated. In reality, I will have to go and leave a successor to go through the same nonsense ( just as my predecessors did). No one ever said life was fair though...!

  • Ca
    Cassandra Charles-Bagott
    11 June 2013

    Reblogged this on mammaham and commented:
    just love this article....

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