Why people don’t quit a job that they hate?

Why people don’t quit a job that they hate?

“I absolutely hate my job.” Do you hear people around you saying so? Or are you among the ones who wished you could quit your job today? Do you know why in spite of the majority of people hating their jobs, most of them stick to the job they hate? There have to be reasons more than just about stability and having a reliable source of income at the end of every month. We will explore all those reasons today.

The cry of “Wish I had a different job”

Look around you and watch the corporate world. The number of jobs, the different business avenues, and various roles is far higher in number than it was 50 years ago. During those times, you had to work without a computer, keep in touch with your loved ones by letters, listen to music over the tape and visit a store far away to buy an item. Today the big giants like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook have changed how the world operates.

The changes have its benefits and it’s dark side too.  Currently, it is more common to find a person unhappy with their job and a very small percentage of people actually enjoying their daily job. Isn’t that surprising? With countless jobs and opportunities compared to 5 decades ago, shouldn’t it be easier to find job satisfaction? Though the answer seems yes, it is the opposite. It is like making your office more spacious but employees feeling even more cramped up after the extension. Why is this happening? Shouldn’t it be easier currently for employees to find a job they love instead of sticking to the job they hate?

The Story of Adam who wants to quit his job

Let us take the story of Adam who has a full-time job as a manager of Quality Analysis with his current org. His long term goal is to run a successful continental restaurant.

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Adam knows that his job is killing himself every day, yet he decides to hang on and put up with disappointment he is dealing with on a daily basis and his manager whom he hates from the bottom of his heart.

He believes it is the norm for people to work at a job they hate and only the lucky few have the privilege of working on what they love. We will talk to Adam to try and change his mind. Before we get there let us explore why do people like Adam find it so difficult to quit a job they hate. Here are some of the primary reasons:

1. FOMO – Fear of Missing Out:

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Adam is thinking everyday “I hate my job, how could I be missing anything if I moved elsewhere?”. But his other thoughts prevent him from making a decision to quit. As much as he hates his job, he has developed a sense of complacency with his current job on certain areas deep in his subconscious which he is not completely aware of.

He is worried about missing his salary, stability, and comfort if he quits his job. Now wonder FOMO is now an official word in the Oxford dictionary.

If you are like Adam, in your subconscious you have learned to value job stability, peaceful commute, great salary benefits, familiarity with the job profile and so on. You worry that if you quit your job there is uncertainty around these areas.

2.  I am not good enough: 

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Adam believes that working on his dream job of running a restaurant is beyond his own abilities. James Allen has rightly said in his book As a Man Thinketh, “A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.”

Little does Adam know that those who are already working on their dream job did not do so because they were far more talented than him. They did so because they believed in their own ability. 

If you are like Adam, if you have convinced yourself that you are not good enough, you will find it almost impossible to get into the job that you love. 

3. Not willing to put in any effort: 

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To continue growing in life and expand one’s horizon takes constant effort. Once Adam gets home from the job he hates, he spends hours watching a show on TV or scrolling through the endless feed on social media. Yet, he has convinced himself that when he says he has no time, it is the truth.

The worst part is he truly believes he has no time when in reality he has ample time to work on his goals if he wanted to. He even has some reasons made up to justify this to himself like “I need a break after a long day or I am a social person, I want to be connected with people.”

If you are like Adam, you will cite fatigue or relaxation as a reason to not spend available time to work on your goals. You truly believe you are very busy when in reality you can make the time to work on your dream if you want to.

While there are many other minor reasons why people stick on to the job they hate, some or all these 3 are the topmost reasons for most people. Quitting your job is sour, scary and stressful. It is no easy task. However, whining and complaining about your current job is not going to help either. If you want to work on what you love, you must be willing to put in the effort until you get there.

Here are a few things to do if you have been hating your job for a while and have not been able to quit. If we intend to change Adam’s mind, he needs to receive the same advice.

1. Realize that mindset plays a key role: 

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You are unable to make up your mind to quit because your mind is playing games with you. Your inner voice tells you that you are not good enough or that your next job will be worse or unstable, you might have a worse manager and so on.

Yes, all these are possibilities, but your mind is replaying your own fear back to you in different use cases. You might mistake this as your analysis of the pros and cons. In fact, your mind always feeds you with the worst case scenarios.

Think about it. What are the chances that you will have a worse manager, longer working hours and a role you cannot adapt to? The odds of them all happening together is like the sun, earth and the center of the milky way aligning on a straight line. Ok, maybe not that rare, but you get the point.

2. Find out why do you hate your job: 

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While this one seems easy, many do not even know the exact reason why their job sucks. What would say about a technician who tries to repair your phone without knowing what the problem is? Is it sensible to fix your phone by replacing each part one by one until the problem is resolved? How stupid does that sound?

That is exactly what you are doing. Do you really know why you hate your job? Is it too monotonous, is your boss a moron, are you not appreciated enough or do you have to work for more hours than you wish?

If you were working at your dream job, you would have no problem working for long hours or if you weren’t appreciated much. But in your current job, you do have a problem. The reasons you think you hate the job are not always the actual reasons. Therefore, you will have to narrow down your primary reason to quit to that one reason (along with another secondary reason at most).

3. Decide if the change actually solves your problem: 

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Many people move from one job they hate to another which does no better. This is either because they did not identify why they hated their job or did not analyze enough if the new job would solve their primary reason to quit.

If you feel your job is monotonous, joining another similar company may not make it exciting. If working long hours is something that you inherently hate, starting your dream business may not make your situation better. If you are quitting because your learning stagnated, you have to spend enough time to understand if a new job will add learning which is of value to your career.

Going from one job to another without analyzing if it is the right change is like digging in different places hoping to find a gold mine. You will keep digging forever with no sign of gold. 

4. Are you well equipped for the change already or need time?

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Some have the skillset to make the switch already while some need time to prepare. If you are passionate about opening a restaurant but currently work in an IT job, you will need to learn some skills to be able to run it. If you are already working at another restaurant, you know most of the operational skills.

Be honest to yourself about how good your skillset is for your dream. Do not overestimate your abilities. If you are not prepared, do not try to make an attempt to switch immediately. Unless you are really thick skinned, the failure and rejection can make you disappointed, leading to you believe you are not good enough after which you never try again. Instead, spend time on a daily basis to get yourself equipped enough for the change.

5. Stop complaining that you have no time to prepare: 

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Every day when you get back home from the job you hate and open your door, you arrive at an intersection. One leads to a room with access to TV, social media, Youtube videos to kill time.

The second deviation leads you to invest in yourself by putting in some consistent effort towards your goal one baby step at a time. All of us, yes every single one of us including you and me, have a lot more time at our disposal than we actually think we do. So stop telling the world “I am so busy and I am stressed.” You are not!

6. Do a trial and see how it works: 

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For example, if your goal is to bag a different job profile, try attending a few interviews to know how you fare. If you need more preparation, do so before you attend more interviews.

If your goal is to start your own business, start working on it today after your working hours. Most people live in a fantasy world where they believe that it is absolutely necessary to quit their job to open their own business. While this is true for some scenarios, most of the businesses can be started while you are already working. Sure, it is going to take a lot of effort and sacrifice but good things come at a price.

If you are waiting for that right time and opportunity to start your business one day, you will most likely be waiting forever. How many people around you have told you they wish to open a business one day? Half the people have a business idea which they plan to execute someday. Unfortunately, that day never arrives.

7. Do the switch: 

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Whoever you are, wherever you like and whatever you do, you can start today. Based on the above 6 things to do, decide what is your best step forward and start today. You do not have to quit your job today. But you should start working today on where you want to head towards.

Not tomorrow, not next week, not next month. TODAY.

Use short terms goals to start making small progress towards your goals. Even making a 2-minute call today to a potential partner is progress towards your goal.

What to do if you hate your job

Conclusion

Finally, most important of all, stop whining that your job is the worst in the world. The only reason you are stuck in your job is yourself. The only reason you are not achieving the life of your dreams is yourself. Complaining will only make it more miserable.

You might temporarily feel better venting it out with a friend but it won’t get you out of the mess you are in. Even if there are a million reasons why you cannot quit, many of which are out of your control, focus on those which are under your control. In all cases, there is enough under your own control to get yourself out of the job you hate and land you in the place you want to be.

I am well aware that most people will read the article and feel their throat getting dry for the reality it states. Most people who are in the same boat will agree with the crux of the article today.

What happens to a boat flowing along with the current of the river? It goes bumping from one rock to another. To row the boat in the direction of land the oarsman needs to put in a lot of effort. If not the current of the river will determine the fate of the boat.

Similarly, tomorrow most will carry on doing what they have always been doing. Most people will not make any changes like the hardworking oarsman to get to land and reap rewards. They will let the flow of the job they hate dictate the fate of their careers.

Only a handful will be like the hardworking oarsman and start working on their goals today. Will you?

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The Story of Adam

Meet Adam.

Adam has a full-time job as a manager of Quality Analysis. His long term goal is to run a successful continental restaurant.

Adam knows that his job is killing himself every day, yet he decides to hang on and put up with disappointment he is dealing with on a daily basis and his manager whom he hates from the bottom of his heart.


He enjoys cooking and does not miss cooking some amazing food for his friends and family every weekend. When time permits he even takes orders to cook for small house parties of a size less than 10. He has always wanted to run a successful restaurant.

Adam meets Ben, who is a fellow entrepreneur in the restaurant business. Ben has the experience of building a chain of successful restaurants. Adam seeks Ben's advise on his venture and Ben is happy to provide him with a lot of valuable inputs. 

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