The benefits of staying in a job you hate

We’ve all been there, slumped at our desks, checking the clock, waiting for the day to end and the weekend to arrive. Whether it’s your boss, colleagues, the long hours or a combination, hating your job can be the source of a lot of misery for those who don’t see the end of it.

But there’s also a lot to perk up about! With a few mental shifts, you’ll see there are lots of benefits of staying in a job that you hate while embracing change and looking for a new role that fits just right.

  • It keeps you from making a hasty jump to the “next best thing”. Often when things aren’t looking peachy keen in our lives we gaze over the fence where the “grass is greener” and view every other situation through rose-coloured glasses. When we realise that every role has its pros and cons, we can make more informed decisions about the next job we accept. Once you hone in on the nitty gritty, such as the organisation, its location and the responsibilities of the position, you may even develop a sense of appreciation for aspects of your current role that other jobs may not offer.
  • You’ll have guaranteed income while you search for something more suitable. Many people experience so much angst in their jobs that they feel an urge to hastily quit, simply to relieve themselves of their misery. In a recent SEEK study, we found that 68% of New Zealanders who are currently searching for a new job have been looking for up to six months. Often, six months without income not only creates financial pressure, but the level of frustration, boredom and disappointment that comes with the endless job search can be detrimental to one’s confidence and emotional wellbeing.

    Staying in a job that you hate, but viewing it as a temporary situation will give you the stability and certainty that can otherwise be lost when you’re unemployed. In times of emotional struggle, think about the positive aspects of your life which would not be possible without your income, such as enjoyable weekend activities, gym memberships or holidays. 
  • You can buy yourself more time to learn what is and isn’t important to you in a future role. The more you experience anything in life, the more you learn what is and isn’t important to you. Staying in a job that you hate will only enhance your desire to find a new one and make you more mindful of what you want for your career in the future. While you stick out your current job, see your situation as a learning exercise and apply your findings to the job seeking process. If you hate the culture of your current workplace for example, make sure you ask about the culture in your interviews for your next potential role.
  • It can help you develop your level of patience and challenge your endurance for less-than-pleasurable experiences. Our parent’s generation believed that working a job was something one had to do, not had to love. Fast-forward to now, and most of us wouldn’t bat an eyelid at the thought of working in two or three different roles within a four-year period.

The truth is, there’s really no benefit in staying in a job that you hate if you don’t wish to improve your situation or change to a more suitable job. So try put yourself in your parent’s shoes, and challenge your immediate negative thoughts and feelings about your job. With a strong will and positive attitude, you’ll be on to better things before you know it.

The truth is, there’s really no benefit in staying in a job that you hate if you don't wish to improve your situation or change to a more suitable job.

Source: Independent research by GFK on behalf of SEEK (Apr-14 to Mar-15). The study includes a nationally representative sample of over 2800 New Zealanders in the labour force aged 18-65 years. Conducted monthly using an independent online research panel.