Career Confession: A Bad Job is Like a Bad Relationship
Are you a professional martyr?
Recently, my former boss turned good friend and I went out for coffee. I think of him as a mentor, someone I truly looked up to and whose opinions I took to heart. Having last worked three years ago, we started nostalgically talking about the company that we both used to work for. The company, unfortunately, met its demise when some internal problems among the investors brought the company to a complete halt, after months of stressful issues. It was a tough time. The two of us were among the last ones standing. It was with this topic that he brought up a shocking opinion of me:
“You know, loyalty is one of your strongest traits, but it was also really dumb of you to stay for as long as you did.”
He was right. I stayed on for much longer than I should have. I loved the people in it, but the company really went downhill and it caused me a lot of unhappiness and missed opportunities at the latter part of my employment.
A lot of people tend to stay in a job that they are unhappy with for many reasons. The security of a job is something that can convince you that every day of struggling through work is worth powering through. Sometimes, people don’t even realize that it may be time to quit because it is hard to leave the comfort of a steady paying job or to let go of the chance at advancing within a company. A job is a job. It may not be enjoyable, but it is something that must be done.
While loyalty is an admirable trait, staying in a job that makes you unhappy can really do some damage to your professional goals and personal life. Sometimes, it is good to ask yourself – “Is this job worth my loyalty and hard work?” You need to really look out for signs that you need to quit your job. The truth that we must face as career girls is that being in a bad job is like being in a bad relationship. You need to really evaluate where you stand, and if it is doing you more harm than good.
Here are three ways that staying in an unhealthy job can do some real damage to your life:
- Stunting Your Professional Growth – When you don’t feel challenged at the workplace, you tend to acquire a day-in-day-out mentality. This does not help you hone your skills for better opportunities that may come in the future. It also tends to make you resent work because of the boredom and stress that each workday brings.
- Emotional Stress – Unless you are a trust fund baby, the truth is that your workday takes up a great deal of your lifetime. How you spend your hours doing your job, whether it is in an office or at home, will affect all the other aspects of your life. Constantly coming in and out of work with a heavy heart will affect your physical and psychological state, and will affect your relationships as well.
- Missed Opportunities – The fear of leaving the safety net of your employment may be causing you to unknowingly miss out on better opportunities. Sometimes, optimism can get the best of you. If you have been trying to convince yourself with the words “Tomorrow will be a better day” for some time now, maybe it is time to let go. People can be blinded by faith sometimes. Make sure that you are staying in the job for practical reasons.
I’m not encouraging you to jump ship at the first sign of trouble. All I’m saying is that you have to constantly assess your professional situation and to not be scared to move on when it is obviously time to. While it is hard to go back to square one and try to find another company to work with, you also need to really weigh the pros and cons of the situation and see if you are still in a job that is right for you. Nothing is wasted when you put your all into something. You do somehow learn and grow, but learn when to quit. When your job is starting to feel like an abusive boyfriend, it is time to face the music and put your love, dedication, and commitment into something that would appreciate and value it better.