Should you ever take a job you hate?

I’m picky. I admit it. I’m picky about everything – friends, hair, jewelry, and boys; and yes, I am picky about employment – even in this employer’s market.  Now that I work in two companies that I am happy to work at, I can say it paid off. But it certainly hasn’t been a walk in the park. My last post was about the Utter Madness that was my life in February and March. Part of the madness was accepting a job I knew that I would be miserable at (and rescinding the offer within a week). But at the time, I felt it was my only option, and I took it.

During the very short time, I worked there, (actually I didn’t really work there as I rescinded my offer during training), I realized how awful it would be to come and spend 40 hours there. The certainty of financial security wasn’t enough for me. In addition to all the anxiety I had about the uncertainties of my life, the anxiety I had about the position was pretty apparent. Still, that wasn’t the main reason I left (so soon). Ultimately, the job would have involved compromising principles that I hold very dear – honesty and sincerity.

I am no angel nor am I a saint, and I do wrong every day. But to be in an environment where forthrightness was not only NOT valued but was (silently) discouraged was more than I was willing to take.

It’s really that simple. And that above all else, is what I knew I would hate about the job. I left with the knowledge that my income at our start-up might barely allow me to break-even, and that would be on a good month. But I left with a restoration of peace of mind, which as they say, has no $ sign. Sure enough everything worked out and I got another position at a small company that I was perfect for.  This whole experience put some things in perspective because I have had jobs I hated, (if only during my college years) and I know many people who hate their jobs.

So this is my view on when it’s okay to take (or stay in a job you hate) and when you should consider other options:

  1. Survival. Sometimes some people have to do what they have to do. That said, I have seen people go into depression and worse because of a job and a certain standard of life they want. At that point, I have to say it’s time to consider other options. Even if it means getting a job that is of “lower prestige.” You’ve heard the proverb: health is better than wealth (and especially mental and emotional well-being).
  2. Stepping stone. Usually this means that taking or continuing in this position is short-term, whatever short-term might mean in your field. If you can suck it up, I am all for taking a position that will eventually allow you to be where you want to be. Still, if something compromises your values and principles, how willing should you be to remain even if it is a stepping stone?

The truth is I was wracking my brain for a third reason but I couldn’t think of any. Can you? What are some other reasons to stay in a job you hate?

I know that everyone grows up differently and people have a variety of attitudes towards work. Well, I watched my parents go to their jobs every day and love it, so that has affected the way I see what work is. I think if I am to work at a place long-term, I have to love what I do, and I have to believe I can make a difference. Hard work is something that I have never been afraid of but in the final analysis, I will be honest: I cannot work hard for something I don’t believe in and at a place I don’t respect. To some, work is a necessary evil and that’s fine. But to me, work is a blessing, and a reason to utilize God-given gifts for your fellow men and women.

 That said, what does work mean to you?

Kovie Biakolo

Kovie Biakolo is a Drake University Marketing Graduate. Originally thinking she was headed to law school in Chicago or a year in Spain, Kovie found herself in the Windy City in digital writing and marketing for over a year. Currently, Kovie is in graduate school for Multicultural and Organizational Communication and started a blog, Life At Twenty Something to write about the good, the bad and the ugly of the twenty something life.

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