You may think that there could be nothing worse than not having a job. After all, not having an income would be stressful financially and emotionally. Still, experts say that there is one thing that is worse--having a bad job that you hate, and that causes you stress day after day.
A bad job--a low-paying, low-security or unstable job with low job satisfaction and a boss who is not accommodating or understanding in emergency situations, can be worse for your health than not having a job at all. This is because these jobs cause health-damaging chronic stress, poor sleep and bad mental health. Here are some things you need to know about bad jobs, as well as what to do next.
People feel resigned to having bad jobs
I did a quick Google search to see what people are saying about their bad jobs, and if you thought you were alone in feeling upset about your career choice, think again. Here are searches related to the search term "my job sucks":
- My job is killing my soul
- How to survive a job you don't like
- Can't take my job anymore
- I'm not good at my job
- My job is killing me physically
- I dread going to work because of my boss
- Hating your job depression
- My job makes me depressed and anxious
What this says to me, is that these people are showing up day after day to a job that is making them mentally, emotionally, and physically ill. They're not putting out their best work, and they're tired of working in a soul crushing environment--but they don't know how to fix it. Under these circumstances, perhaps they would be better off looking for a new position elsewhere. So why aren't they?
Most people know that the stress that comes with a bad job is not good for their well being, but when faced with the facts the response is usually, "Hey, at least I have a job. It could be worse, I could be unemployed. Do you know how many people would love to have a job in the first place?" In reality, having that job is far worse for their health than having no job at all.
When you already have a job, it will keep you from looking for a new one and from actively trying to get yourself in a better place. You might have heard the expression that job hunting is a job in itself. It's actually quite true. When you spend 40 to 70 hours a week at a bad job, how much energy do you think you will have left over to find a new job?
If I'm unemployed should I turn down a job?
It's important to give it a chance. It depends on how long you've been unemployed and what the job market is like, as well as how your financial situation is holding up. Most jobs have probationary periods or trial periods, during which both the worker and the employer decide if they are a good fit for each other.
You should keep in mind that the goal all along was to find a job that made you happier, and that didn't dig you an early grave. So don't jump at just any ol' offer, make sure it's a better fit for you this time around.
Managing stress in the workplace.
If you've been working somewhere for a while, and suspect that your job is making you sick or stressed, you need to do something about it. Before quitting, be sure to talk to your supervisor or boss, ask your doctor for advice on stress management, and see if you can make some adjustments in your workplace, such as working some days from home, working reduced hours, or changing your office around or working with a different team.
If you find that you are still stressed, you will have to consider other options before the job takes its toll on your health. Flexible working arrangements such as reduced hours working is one of the ways people with limiting health conditions can manage work and their health.
When you have these feelings of anguish over a situation, remember that you are in control. If you don't make changes, nobody is going to do it for you. If you want to take time off from your career to explore a new path, that is great!
My best advice is to be sure you've done your research and are prepared to cover your finances for an extended period of time, and that you have a back up plan, because we all know life doesn't always go as planned. But sometimes, it turns out even better.