It’s Okay to Hate Your Job When Others Are Unemployed

I got an email this morning from a reader who hates his job–for good reasons. He included this line:

Now I’m in a job that I utterly despise. I dread every day. I know you will probably say I should be grateful, because so many are unemployed. I’m still morbidly depressed, despite trying to paint a happy face on it.

And, so I want to say to him, and to everyone, you can be grateful you have income and still hate your job, and it’s okay.

Yes, gratitude is important. Be thankful for the paycheck for sure! Be grateful that you can buy the things you need, for sure! But, that doesn’t mean you have to be happy about your situation. In fact, if you focus too much on fixing the situation at work, you may never get out of it.

Being in a bad job is very similar to being in a bad marriage. There is a lot you can do to make it better, but there comes a point where the other person–or the business–needs to make a change or you need to leave.

Right now it’s incredibly difficult to leave unless you want to work for Amazon or Walmart. So, continue to be grateful for your paycheck, but work to get out. You can’t change a company culture on your own–especially as a regular human. Yes, if you’re the new CEO, you can do it. If you’re the marketing manager, forget it.

Giving yourself permission to hate your job does something to you. It reduces the power the company has over you. Now, I’m not saying you should dwell on it, talk about it all the time, and work yourself into a frenzy. Just lower your expectations. To quote Chump Lady (who’s talking about cheating spouses, but it applies here) “trust that they suck.”

Once you trust that they suck, then nothing surprises you, and you don’t get your hopes up.

This is not me telling you to have a fatalistic attitude. It’s me telling you that sometimes your best option is to leave. You can fix minor problems. You can improve your own work ethic, punctuality, or Excel skills. But, if your boss is a flaming narcissist, the CEO screams at people in the hallways, and your coworker is a vicious bully, then trust that they suck.

In the meantime, be grateful for the income, the continuous employment on your resume, and that you have time to find a new job. But, don’t feel obligated to love a place that is horrible to you. Be polite to people, smile if you can, but trust that they suck.

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4 thoughts on “It’s Okay to Hate Your Job When Others Are Unemployed

  1. As much as the current US government tries to encourage dependence on the government to provide a “basic Income” whose funds come from the taxes paid by wage earners, most wage earners do feel satisfaction for being self-sufficient and non-reliant on handouts that could easily be taken away by the whims of the government as means to control their lives. I was one of those people who hated the job I had because the company allowed certain conditions to occur, which made the atmosphere at work toxic, but I outlasted the toxicity by staying in the job and became a valued member for job performance despite this because I knew to re-start elsewhere would mean less money and same problems. It is better to have in hand than to envy the supposed green grass outside,

    1. Congratulations on being able to outlast a toxic work culture. Your comment just reeks of condescension that must make you feel so superior to those around you.
      Not all of us can outlast the toxicity. If you are in a job where you are being sexually harassed or assaulted; are being passed over for promotions or making less money than those around you due to your age, gender, sexual orientation, religion etc. it makes sense to move on. Being in a safer environment or one where you will treated fairly makes sense, and “starting elsewhere” doesn’t necessarily mean making less money or having the same problems.
      Unless you are building your own roads and bridges, don’t deduct your mortgage interest, will never collect social security or use medicare insurance, don’t use your public library, public park or public schools, and have your own private police force you too are relying on handouts from your fellow wage earners. I’ve been to countries where you had to be self sufficient to survive, trust me you don’t want to live there.
      Unemployment insurance is exactly that; insurance paid by the employer and the employee.
      There are people that due to disability, bad luck, or terrible circumstances, like Covid-19, are not working. Having your fellow citizens be homeless or starving due to these circumstances is cruel and uncharitable.
      Empathy is a better look than smug contempt. Try it sometime.

  2. A few weeks ago, I was on the verge of rage quitting. I was actively looking for the correct person to return my company equipment to, as only a few people are authorised to accept these materials, and failure to return any company item results in a dock in pay.

    I was treated badly by my employer for displaying unusual symptoms and having been advised to stay home by my Dr. while awaiting my COVID results. I was yelled at by the district manager, who at first accused me of faking symptoms and then lying about seeking medical treatment.

    When it was clear that I was seen by the clinic she was convinced that I had altered my Dr.’s note because: “Where are your test results, you should have been cleared for duty by now. This should not be taking so long.”

    My refusal to badger the medical professionals who assisted me on a daily basis until my test results arrived, came at an expense to me, especially when I reminded my company that the clinic had already been badgered by my suspicious boss who suspected my note to be ingenuine.

    So, somehow after all this instead of leaving, I get referred for a transfer into another department. Last several weeks have found me cross training to work in a different department and taking on MORE hours.

    Seriously, when all I really wanted to do was walk away from this company.

    I am still trying to figure out how I found myself further down the rabbit hole. All the while, I am praying that by transferring rather than quitting I did not just flip out of the fry pan and into the flames.

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