Why We Stay in Jobs We Hate
04 Sunday Sep 2011
Thanks so much to everyone who has visited my blog so far and been so positive about the issues I’m bringing forward here. Your feedback helps fuel me in this new venture so keep your comments coming!
Today I wanted to talk about why we stay in jobs we hate. We’ve all been there for various reasons – some completely beyond our control, some within it. I once supervised a woman the grand old age of about 25 who seemed very unhappy with her work. Throwing caution to the wind one day I finally asked her why she stayed in the position. And I went one step further, because I had this sneaking suspicion: “You’re not staying for the pension, are you?” And her answer was, “Well, kinda.”
Wow. I think that statement took my breath away – and not in a good way.
For me, it would be unthinkable to be 25, feeling stuck, and staying in a job I hate because someday I’d get a pension from it. To spend the next 35 or so years slogging it out in something that doesn’t feed my brain or my soul. UGH. I couldn’t imagine anything worse. If ever I experienced a moment where I wanted to shake some sense into someone, it was then. (Luckily, I didn’t!)
But hearing that statement has caused me to shake my own head in frustration many times since. I’ve never forgotten it. Staying at a job because – and only because – you’re going to collect a pension from it one day is a lot like driving the horse and carriage pictured above: hardly anybody does it anymore.
But some people do. Why?
There are probably lots of reasons why we stay in jobs that we don’t like. And we could say a lot of “if onlys” around needing more skills, more education, more time, or more money in order to move on to something else. But I think many times the thing that holds us back the most is fear.
Our fear can be so powerful, can’t it? Fear isn’t something that we can throw more money at and fix. We worry that we might not be able to find a better job, that no one will take us seriously, we’re not old enough (or we’re too old!), or that we aren’t yet an expert in our field. We lack confidence that we could even make a living doing what it is that we really want to do. This confidence thing has stopped me up many times in my career and I’ve seen it happen with others too. If only we could believe in ourselves as much as others believe in us! It’s easy to sign up for another course to try to build our resume but quite another to try to figure out how to build our confidence.
Personally, I’ve found the greatest confidence builders have come from my support network. I try very hard to surround myself with people that will support me in what I long to do. My husband, my family, my friends … you know even my hairdresser is someone I pick with care and attention! Like Anne of Green Gables, I would not survive without kindred spirits. I recommend some for everyone, and nothing less.
It IS possible to do the things we’ve always wanted to do. We just may need some help along the way.
Where is your tribe? Have you found them yet?