Have you ever had a job you hated?
Maybe you have a job right now that you greatly dislike. Do you live for the weekends and dread every weekday?
If you do, you’re not alone. In fact, a recent Gallup Poll of workers in 200 countries around the world found that 85 percent of workers hate their jobs. Can you imagine how much job-hating that is? That means only 15 percent of the world’s workforce are truly engaged at work.
Some countries are worse than others. In Japan, for example, the number of people who dislike their jobs is 94 percent. Here in the U.S., it’s slightly better, at 70 percent. But those numbers are still staggering, especially considering that for most us, the pursuit of happiness is our number one goal.
Why do so many people hate their jobs? We could probably fill books with thoughts, ideas and data trying to answer that question—we certainly can’t answer it in a blog post. So let’s narrow it down to a more personal question, one you can answer for yourself:
Why would you work in a job you hate?
Most of us could rattle off a litany of reasons why. Most are financially related:
- We’re in debt.
- We’ve got bills to pay.
- We’ve got a family to feed.
- We need the insurance right now.
- They’ve got a good retirement plan.
All of these are legitimate concerns, to be certain—but they also have another similar thread running through them. Each of these reasons places happiness and fulfillment in the future. If you can only get out of debt; if you can only “get ahead”; if you can save up enough for retirement; then sometime later, maybe, you can live the life you really want.
Don’t get me wrong. I think delayed gratification is a noble thing—sacrifice a little pleasure now for higher yields later. But that’s not really what’s happening here because the fact is, you don’t know if things are going to get better. You don’t know if you’ll even live to retirement age (not to be morbid)—and if you do, you don’t know how many years you’ll actually get to enjoy retirement. If you’re going to delay gratification, it should be for something more tangible than maybe someday.
As a career coach, I deal with people all the time who have a very real need for a job. Some are willing to take any job, even one they might hate, as long as it helps them earn a living or even get ahead financially. I often have to challenge these clients to think differently. I try to help them see that being between jobs actually gives them an opportunity—a chance to work not just in any job, but in the right job. I want to help them find a position with purpose, not just a job with a salary. A position that will truly fulfill them and engage them, one they actually look forward to getting up for in the mornings.
Believe it or not, those jobs do exist.
After working for decades in HR, I’m convinced that the reason someone hates their job isn’t always because the job isn’t a good one. Sometimes, yes, you get a bad company or a bad boss. But in so many cases, people dislike their work simply because it’s not a good fit for them. Maybe the job pays the bills, but it doesn’t line up with their emotional makeup or their personal sense of purpose. They stay in that job because they feel they have to (even though they don’t). But when you’re between jobs, I think there’s no excuse for taking a job you’re bound to hate. That’s why much of my early process deals with helping my client discover their own strengths, talents, desires and passions. To me, those qualities help us set a direction to find the kind of career will truly make them happy. My clients are often surprised when they do a bit of soul searching. In the process, they discover what they are truly passionate about, and how many different possibilities open up for them when they do.
You will spend the majority of your life at work. Why waste that time doing a job you hate? Why not invest some time and patience in your long-term happiness so you can find the right job—the right career—for you? I specialize in helping people at doing just that. For a free 30-minute consultation, give me a call at 646-320-1126.