Are You in a Bad Job for the Money?

January 10, 2022

Are You in a Bad Job for the Money?

In the previous post, I noted that a bad job can sap your confidence. You feel trapped without slowing down enough to consider whether you actually are. In this post, I want to discuss whether believing you don’t have the skills to change jobs, or good money, sticking with the devil you know or even a shaky economy are enough to stay in a bad job.

I don’t have the work skills I need to change jobs

You may think that no other company wants your skill set (another example of how a bad work environment saps your confidence). But look at this objectively. More than likely, the skills you use right now to do the job are adequate. Don’t let a bad work environment make you forget that. You might be able to make a lateral move to another company—same type of job, same level of pay, better environment.

If you are aspiring to a more senior position when you move companies, that’s a different story. You may not have, or have not been able to demonstrate, the qualities which make you promotable. Identify these skills and either get training or practice them in a parallel environment like volunteer work.

Fast Company has an excellent article on how to prepare yourself for moving up.

The money is good

We all need money for the basics of life—food, shelter, clothing, etc. However, people who feel trapped because of a good salary are not usually worried about this subsistence level. They often are more concerned about the status a good salary brings or its buying power.

If this is you, ask yourself whether either of these benefits is enough to withstand the assault on your sense of self which a bad setting invariable brings. It is a high price to pay and moreover, are you sure that there aren’t other places which pay as well but treat you better?

The devil you know

We all suffer from inertia sometimes. Your job is unpleasant but at least you’ve learned how to maneuver to avoid the worst (or so you think). Seems to be an argument for sticking with the devil you know.

But think of how you will feel five years from now, or even two. It is supremely unlikely that things will get better unless the revolution comes, so you have more years of being ground down by the slow drip, drip of a toxic work place. This will make it even less likely that you will have the energy or confidence to make the move out.

And why assume the worst—that it’s as bad if not worse elsewhere? Might be a dream job. Can’t know unless you make the leap.

The economy is bad.

If we are talking the Great Depression or the financial crisis of 2008, then maybe you’re right to ride out the storm where you are, no matter how awful.

But otherwise, the times of more jobs than people don’t come around often and you can look for a new one even if things are a little iffy.

The state of the economy could have some effect—you might have to consider moving to a new town or acquiring new skills—but you need to trade off these possibilities against the present soul-destroying situation you are in. Sometimes, it is a trade worth making.

So, we’ve explored why people stay in bad jobs. The next post will cover another set.

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