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“I hate my job, but it pays well.” This is a phrase I’ve heard from at least 50% of the people I’ve coached. So the good news is, you’re not alone. The even better news is this… YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SETTLE! Sorry for the all caps, but this is a point I want to drive home. How do I know this? Because if you’ve found yourself on this article, I know that you are incredibly talented, resourceful, driven, and meant to live a life where you feel fulfilled, challenged, and excited to clock in to work (most days)!
From personal experience and coaching hundreds of professionals, I know how painful it is to sit at a job you despise, but can’t leave because adulting and paying bills is real. Maybe you have a certain lifestyle you’re trying to maintain or maybe you have a family that depends on your paycheck, either way feeling stuck is gut-wrenching. My goal in this article is to take you from saying “I hate my job but it pays well” to “I hate my job, but I’m going to find one that I love that pays well.” Yes, it’s possible. I know because I’ve done it myself and I’ve coached others do the same.
Before I tell you all the things you need to do to stop feeling stuck and find better, we need to first talk about the elephant in the room which is what can happen when you stay at a job you hate. I have found that when a paycheck is involved, it’s easy to justify the reason for staying and not think about the long-term effects. I want to put these long-term effects in your face so that you understand exactly what’s at stake (spoiler: you don’t deserve to endure these long-term effects, you’re better than that.)
It depends on who you ask, but I’ve personally experienced and witnessed the physical, emotional, and psychological effects of staying at a job you hate. The illusion of thinking that money is enough can blind us to what can and will happen in the long run. Below are 10 downsides of staying at a job you hate because it pays well.
Mental and Emotional Strain: The daily grind of a job you despise can take a toll on your mental health and emotional well-being. Persistent dissatisfaction and frustration can lead to stress, anxiety, and even depression. These emotions and mental stress can begin to effect your personal life as well leaving you drained and not wanting to do anything that you enjoy outside of work (i.e. self-care, hobbies, hanging out with friends and family, etc.)
Physical Health Impacts: The stress associated with a disliked job can manifest physically, contributing to health issues such as high blood pressure, headaches, weight-gain and other stress-related conditions. Prolonged exposure may lead to chronic health problems. If you ask me, there is no job worth risking your health. You only have one life and one body… you need to take care of it.
Strained Relationships: Think that staying at a job you hate only effects you? Nope, it also impacts everyone around you. The negative emotions stemming from job dissatisfaction can spill over into your personal life, causing strain in relationships with family and friends. Constant stress may make it challenging to maintain healthy and fulfilling connections. For example, working constant overtime can cause you to miss out on major milestones and celebrations in the lives of people you care about the most. Remember, you can’t get these moments back.
Stagnation and Lack of Growth: Your current job is never the end all be all. You can always do better, but you’ll never know if you don’t give yourself the chance to make a move. Remaining in a job that doesn’t align with your goals and interests can result in professional stagnation. The lack of opportunities for growth and skill development can hinder your long-term career prospects. Life (both personally and professionally) is all about continual growth. When you no longer pursue or have access to opportunities to learn more information, you will put yourself behind and end up playing a major game of catch up.
Decreased Job Performance: I always like to remind professionals that people are watching you. Especially in the workplace. Disengagement and lack of motivation can lead to decreased job performance. As your enthusiasm wanes, so does your productivity, potentially affecting your professional reputation and advancement opportunities. If you think no one notices, trust me, they do… and if they have not, they will.
Impact on Overall Happiness: Life is too damn short! Yes, I said it. Life is too short to spend time with doing things you don’t enjoy with people you don’t even like. Spending a significant portion of your life in a job you hate can have a profound impact on your overall happiness. Job satisfaction is closely tied to personal fulfillment, and enduring dissatisfaction can create a pervasive sense of unhappiness. When you are unhappy, it messes with your mind, body, and spirit. Is your current employer worth sacrificing your happiness on a daily basis?
Loss of Passion and Creativity: Have you ever noticed that when you are depressed, stressed out, or tired, you can’t think straight and come up with new ideas? This is what happens when you stay at a job that fails to ignite your passion or stimulate your creativity. Ultimately this can lead to a loss of enthusiasm for your work and life. This lack of inspiration can have long-term effects on your ability to innovate and contribute meaningfully.
Missed Opportunities for Dream Pursuits: You’re more than capable of living the life you dream of. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s true. You deserve to be doing work you love. Being stuck in a job you hate can consume precious time and energy, preventing you from pursuing your true passions and dreams. It may hinder your ability to explore alternative career paths aligned with your interests.
Neglect of Personal Development: The demands of a job you hate can consume so much of your time and energy that personal development takes a back seat. This neglect can hinder your ability to acquire new skills, hindering your adaptability in a rapidly evolving professional landscape.
Lack of a Work/Life Balance: Staying at a job just because it pays well usually means you’re sacrificing something. That something is usually in the form of your time and energy. From the examples above you’ll see that spending all your time at work, agonizing about work, and hating work will keep you from activities you love such as hobbies, spending time with family and close friends, and focusing on self-care.
Whew! That’s a lot right? I wanted to share those effects with you so that you truly understand what’s at stake. Before I forget I want to mention this, have you heard of the term, “The Golden Handcuffs.” The concept of golden handcuffs refers to the financial perks that come with a job, often trapping individuals in roles they dislike. Breaking free from these golden handcuffs requires careful consideration, planning, and the courage to envision a different, more fulfilling career path. So let’s break free and talk about the strategies to leaving a high-paying job that pays well.
The beauty of life is that at any moment, we can make a change that will improve the quality of our life. Your current situation doesn’t have to be your forever situation. Everything is a choice and you have the power to make a different choice without asking for permission of justifying your decision. The first step is always self-reflection.
Self-Reflection: So how did you get here in the first place? Take a moment to assess your current role, identifying aspects that contribute to your dissatisfaction. Understanding the root causes is crucial for effective change. You can start by asking yourself the following questions:
After answering these questions, you may begin to notice a pattern. Your goal is to identify why you’re in this position and why you’re choosing to stay. Once you start being honest with yourself, that’s when you can start making the changes necessary to move towards change. If you need a sounding board, I’d be happy to be your coach. If you want to work with me, fill out this form.
Rebuild your Confidence and Self-Esteem: Working at a job you hate just because of the money can take a toll on your self-esteem. In fact, I know this may be hard to hear, but I’m going to say it… you may currently have low self-esteem or confidence which is why you’re staying in a role you hate. Low self-esteem and confidence usually stems back to bad experiences in the workplace, childhood, and life in general. I’m here to tell you that you can overcome these scars and regain your confidence and boost your self-esteem! Need a boost? Check out my article, 50+ Life Changing Positive Affirmations for Self-Esteem and Confidence.
Explore and Learn New Skills: Deep down I know you know what your passion is. Use it as your mental escape and form of self-care. Dive in and begin equipping yourself with skills that align with your passions and interests. This not only enhances your marketability but also opens doors to new career possibilities. It will also give you the chance to see what skills you naturally gravitate towards and what you truly enjoy.
Networking and LinkedIn Profile Enhancement: Opportunities come from relationships, so you need to get out there and build them. A great way to start is by building an optimized and detailed profile on LinkedIn. Once you’ve built your profile, according to your brand, start to reach out and connect with professionals in your industry. Building strong relationships can lead to referrals and job opportunities.
Consider starting a side-hustle: A great way to explore your heart’s desires, test the waters, and build new skills is by starting a side hustle. Your side hustle will give you something to look forward to each day and will give you an opportunity to truly live out your life’s purpose! Best of all, it doesn’t hurt to keep trying new side hustles until you finally find the right fit! You never know, it could end up taking off and become your full-time gig aka a job you love!
Start saving your money and eliminating debt: Most people are stuck in roles they hate because they have bills to pay. I know this firsthand because each time I suggest quitting, I get “Chelsea, I have bills to pay!” Let me start by saying… yes! I understand, but you’ll always have bills to pay, does that justify being miserable for 10+ more years? Start planning now, develop a robust financial plan and create an emergency fund. Also start eliminating as much debt as possible so that you don’t feel as stuck. Financial stability can provide a safety net and peace of mind when transitioning to a new career.
Career Coaching: Do you notice that it’s always easy to help solve our family and friend’s dilemmas? That’s because when you’re not the one wrapped up in an issue, you can see things more clearly and objectively. This is what career coaches do as well. They can see your problem and provide solutions that you may not have thought of or simply what you need to hear. Investing in yourself and your happiness is always a win-win. Don’t be afraid to hire a career coach to gain insights, guidance, and a strategic plan for your career change. A trusted expert can provide valuable perspectives, support, and resources to help make your transition smoother.
Check your work-life balance meter: Do you hate your job because you feel like you’re working all the time? It could be a boundary issue. Take time to assess your current work-life balance and prioritize your well-being. A good balance contributes significantly to job satisfaction and overall happiness. Don’t be afraid to let your boss, colleagues, and staff know that you are working to prioritize your health. Afterall, you’ve trained them to know that they can contact you after hours, you will need to train them to expect a response only during work hours.
Ask yourself, “is my work environment toxic?”: Pinpoint toxic elements in your current job, such as a toxic boss or a negative work environment. Identifying these factors is crucial for a healthier work experience. If you’re unsure and don’t know where to start, check out this article, Is my Work Environment Toxic.
Develop an Escape Plan: Formulate a step-by-step escape plan. Break down the process into manageable steps, making the transition to a new career less overwhelming.
Set Long-Term Goals: Establish clear, long-term goals for your career. Focusing on your aspirations and the life you want to lead will motivate you to pursue a more fulfilling path. If you’re ready to get started with writing down and working towards your goals, I’ve created a digital journal to help you out!
I created this journal after working with thousands of professionals who didn’t know where to start when it came to setting and reaching their goals.
Throughout this journal you will get prompts that will allow you to self-reflect, speak your truth, and write down a plan (for accountability) to help you quickly reach your goals. As a bonus there are also daily mantras and scripts for finding and reaching out to potential mentors!
Grab your digital journal today! Click here.
At the end of the day, the decision is yours to make, but from personal experience I can tell you that there’s no paycheck or benefits worth your happiness. There will be times at all jobs where there are days feel frustrating and tough. The difference is, it’s not every day. You are better than that. You deserve more than settling for your current job that doesn’t bring you joy and satisfaction.
Keep in mind, there are many opportunities out there and if you are brave enough to explore them, you WILL find something better that pays even more! You can find a better job… in fact, you can find a well-paying job that you enjoy! And please don’t wait until your breaking point to do it. As soon as you begin to notice that you’re unhappy, it’s a good idea to start looking for a new job. You can do this.
One of the myths I like to bust is the “you have to stay at a job for at least a year.” You’re not obligated to stay anywhere, especially if you’re unhappy. Want to take a deeper dive into, how long you need to stay at a job? Check out these articles.
When it comes to building and thriving in your career, you need to put your needs first. I’ve met and coached hundreds of professionals who spent too much time in jobs they hated but paid well. The regret, time wasted, and emotional toll is overwhelming. It always pains me to witness it. It’s never too late to make a change and if you’ve made it to the end of this article, this is your sign that its time to make a change. You have everything you need inside of you to make a change and land your dream job.
You’ve got this! And if you need help, I’m right here!
Cheers to your success, friend!