There are a lot of reasons you might choose to stay at a bad-fit job even if it makes you miserable. Money, for one. Despite the day-to-day stress brought upon by a bad boss, toxic workplace, or being spread too thin, paychecks are important. If you don't have another job lined up, you might as well keep getting paid at the one you've got.
But have you weighed the other costs of staying in an awful job? Beyond the financial implications, consider the strain on your health. Working a bad job could be worse for your physical well-being than unemployment. Quitting of course means you lose that financial security, but you might see important gains for your health.
This is one of the conclusions being made from a new study published by University of Manchester researchers. Tarani Chandola and Nan Zhang published their results in the International Journal of Epidemiology. They looked at 1,116 participants who were unemployed at the start of the study. If participants got jobs, researchers measured the job quality according to the salary, job satisfaction, job security, and a few other factors. They also tracked participants' health throughout the study.
Three important findings revealed themselves as some people got jobs and others didn't:
People who were already in good health were more likely to get a job.
Compared to those who remained unemployed, the mental health of those who moved into high-quality jobs improved.
Compared to those who remained unemployed, people who moved into poor quality jobs began to have adverse health effects.
Those adverse health effects included higher levels of inflammation and higher creatinine clearance rates, which indicate chronic stress. People who got bad jobs fared worse health-wise.
It's also telling that participants who were healthier at the outset had a better chance of landing a job. Securing work when you're unwell -- whether physically or with your mental health -- is difficult. Take that into consideration if you're feeling the weight of a toxic job. It could be worthwhile to take some time off to focus on your health before looking for another job. Or even take a work pause, as this Google manager was able to do.
"Job quality cannot be disregarded from the employment success of the unemployed, and may have important implications for their health and well-being," the researchers concluded.