If you hate your job, chances are you hate your life. And you're not alone: anywhere from 20% to 40% of people report hating their job. That's a cringe-worthy number. Although there are a number of reasons that we choose to stay at jobs we hate--we need the salary, the job market is weak, we don't have time to interview for a new job, we may not have the education or training to do what we really want to do--bear in mind that it is a choice. Remember: Involuntary servitude in the U.S. was abolished by the 13th Amendment a long time ago!
No amount of pay or inconvenience is worth staying at a job you hate, because the effect of going to that dreadful job every day is killing you. Literally.
Here are five reasons you need to jump ship, and soon.
1. Hating your job has major negative health consequences.
Weight Gain: First of all, it can make you gain weight. Whether it's due to stress eating or lack of energy to exercise caused by the drain of your job, there is a strong correlation between weight-gain and work dissatisfaction.
Illness: Your risk of illness is substantially greater if you hate your job. That not only means a compromised immune system that makes you prone to common, minor illnesses, it means your chances of serious illness are also seriously elevated, including heart disease.
Mental Health: And if that wasn't enough... your mental health will suffer, too. Stress at work causes depression and anxiety. One study even suggests that being unemployed can be better for your mental health than being at a bad job. A recent study even linked workplace woes to a shorter lifespan.
Stress: Going to a job you hate every day put you in a constant state negativity, which causes dangerous levels of stress. The negative effects of stress on humans are widely documented: it damages your psychological well-being, leads to fatigue and irritability, and causes the release of chemicals and hormones that result in physical symptoms. Reducing stress is paramount to maintaining your physical, emotional, and mental well-being, and nothing impedes that more than spending eight-plus hours, five days per week in an environment you despise.
Losing Sleep: Maybe you're having nightmares about work. Maybe you have trouble falling asleep because you dread reporting to work the next day. If your job is disrupting your sleep, that's a serious problem. The benefits of a getting a good night's sleep are huge: increased brain function and creativity, better physical health, and improved daytime productivity.
On the flip side, not getting enough sleep can impair your vision, judgment, short-term memory, motivation, and reaction time. It can also lead to serious health problems. Your miserable job is not worth sacrificing the sleep that you deserve and the negative effects you'll experience without it.
2. It will hinder your personal life.
Numerous studies have linked unhappiness at work with unhappiness at home. So many of us bring our work home with us, but when all you're bringing home is negativity, it can really bring your loved ones down, even if that's not what you intend. Life is tough enough in general. We all have personal and familial obligations that never seem to let up. But the heavy burden of an unfulfilling job can really weigh you down, and it's likely having a negative on your friends and family, too. Recognize that not only do you deserve better than that, your loved ones do, too.
Oh, and your sex life will suffer.
3. Lower motivation and passion.
Studies show that if you're unhappy at work, you're likely doing the bare minimum to avoid getting fired, but if you're engaged in work that is fulfilling, you'll work harder than what your job requires, even if there's no incentive involved. Long-term, that can add up to a lot of experience you've missed out on, just because you're at a job that's not challenging you. Employers who want to optimize productivity of employees should take note. However, you don't have to wait around for your employer to realize that your full potential isn't being tapped.
4. It can kill your confidence and self-worth.
While younger generations don't define themselves by their jobs the way that older generations have, staying at a job that's not right for you can still lead to lowered confidence and self-worth. Think about it. You spend so many of your waking hours at a place where you're unhappy and doing things you don't want to do. How could that not take a toll on the way you perceive yourself? You're probably not utilizing your strongest skills regularly, or even at all, and your confidence in your professional abilities will decline. Fortunately, though, getting back on track towards a fulfilling career can help you rebuild your confidence. The sooner you do it, the better.
5. It's holding you back from what you really want to do.
Remember the days when you used to fanaticize about finally nailing that dream job? Even if your dream job never was a realistic prospect--we can't all become astronauts or President of the United States--you're guaranteeing that you'll never see your dream realized if you let yourself continue in the rut you're in. I can't promise that your dream job is achievable, but I can assure you that a better job, a fulfilling job that you might even enjoy going to each day, is absolutely possible...once you make the commitment to make it happen.
If you're unhappy at your job, you've probably experienced many--or even all--of the woes listed above. Take a step back to truly appreciate how much these things affect your entire life. Does it seem worth it to stay? You're worth so much more than that--you know it, and I know it.
And if you don't leave for you, leave for the people who love you. Because they deserve to hang out with their loved one--not a shell of the person they know you to be.