Why I stayed at a job I hated! 3 ways to avoid my mistakes

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“I hate my job”. Have you ever thought that at work? Or “I’ve made a huge mistake, what was I thinking when I signed that offer?!?” I’ve made a few mistakes along my career path. Positions that did nothing for me, but pay the bills (sometimes); to positions that left me desperate to escape!

At one job my co-worker in our “open concept” office (ie. management keep an eye on us) wasn’t speaking to me. He was smirking at me. He was mad at me for showing management the racially slurred email he had sent out to us. But smirking because he had gotten no more than a slap on the wrist for his behavior. This environment spells awful with a capital A. Why am I wasting my time at this place!

I would love to say I only had one position like that. However, that’s not the case. I was pushed out of a job where the assistant (who was sleeping with my boss) didn’t want other girls around. I ended up in a field I never wanted to work in, because I was out of money and had been unemployed for six months. I took a position which had red flags out of desperation (that desperation being getting away from the company I was working for), and was laid off 6 weeks later.

Why would you stay at a job you hated so much!?! you might ask? A few terrible reasons. Fear, laziness, and and “it won’t happen to me” mentality.

Mistake 1: Fear

I had to have a job to pay the bills. That’s the case with just about everyone 🙂 However, I somehow got myself stuck in this fear rut. What if the next job is worse than this one?  If I quit with no prospect in hand, what if I never find another position, and I’m on the street! What if my skills are not good enough for something better? What if I need more experience? What will people think if of me if I don’t have a job? What will I tell them, I don’t want their pity!

You know what, only one of those jobs I talked about is on my resume. But, for some reason I felt I needed them. I had wrapped my identity up in my job. Even if it was one I hated, at least I was employed! I did something! How do I avoid this fear?

How to overcome this:

This is what I wish I had done a lot earlier.

  1. I had to get over identifying ‘what I did for a living’ with my value. They do not go hand in hand.
  2. I cut out a lot of non essentials out of the budget. I quit eating out as much, cut the cable, gym membership etc.  I put money into savings for ‘just in case’. That way if I did get laid off, or absolutely had to quit without another job lined up (which does not come recommended but I completely understand it does happen). I would be financially OK.

Had I done this earlier, it would have taken the control out of my employers hands. It would have given me peace of mind. This would have impacted my overall well being 🙂 Now that I have done those things, I can not believe I didn’t do them earlier!

Mistake 2: Laziness

Job hunting is hard work! Believe me I know! It is so easy to say to yourself “Is this situation really that bad?” “Maybe this will just resolve itself.” Or the one I would use while in school. “I just need something to tide me over during school.” Had I not been lazy about my job search while in college, I may have been able to get a better job after I graduated.

How to overcome this:

  1. Starting your search early on will make it easier to leave gracefully. If you start to see that your career may go stagnant at your job, start networking today! Start hunting today! You don’t know how long your job search will go on.

If you start before you are absolutely miserable at your job it will make it much easier to leave gracefully and with a good reference. This article by Monster has some great insights on how to leave your job gracefully and with your career intact. 5 Things to Do before Quitting the job you hate

2.If you start your search early and you are diligent, you will be less likely to take another job you can’t stand! The problem I had was I would stay at a job, until I absolutely couldn’t stand it any more! Since I was desperate to get out, I got another job that was just as bad! My signature on an offer was simply an emotional response. “Anything is better than where I am now”mentality. If I had been thinking clearly I wouldn’t have looked past red flags brushed off during the interview because, “I’ve just got to get out of my current job.”

Mistake 3: “It won’t happen to me” mentality

When I look back on some of the jobs I’ve had, I wonder why I took them in the first place. If only I had held out I might be at something better! But my “it won’t happen to me” mentality got in the way.

In college my boss’s boss yelled at my boss in front of me on my first day. I should have restarted my job search that night! But no, instead I thought “it won’t happen to me because I won’t make that mistake”. It did happen to me. I ended up hating that job, and became desperate to get out.

Or, when during an interview my boss told me “the girl you’ll be working with is really tough but good”. I thought “I’m a likable person, surly she’ll be nice to me.” She wasn’t tough, she was just an awful person. She also wasn’t good, she came to work stoned and usually late. My boss did finally get rid of her, but it took a very long time. If I had known better I would have thought “hmmm… this is the kind of person you hire and keep? what does that say about how you run your business.” “Is this good for me?” No, it wasn’t.

How to overcome this:

1. You have nothing to prove by staying at a job you hate, its your career, you need to do what’s best for you. This article in U.S News has some really good insights regarding red flags during your interview. Interviewing with a clear head helps to see these red flags for what they are. Don’t Ignore These Job Search Red Flags

2. If you see something that’s amiss happen to one of your co-workers, its very likely it will happen to you. Are you OK with that? If you see something off putting happen during an interview, it’s probably very telling of the company culture.

No job is perfect. I totally get that. But you shouldn’t be in a job you hate! Life is to short! I hope my insights and experiences were able to help you. If you are in a job you hate I’m pullin’ for you! If this helps you avoid a job you hate than all the better!

Welcome to My Career Journey! I use my very unique career path to help you grow your business and career!
I’ve lived in seven different states over the past ten years. That’s a lot of jobs! Different industries, and different work cultures! Both good and bad 🙂
Thank you so much for stopping by. I look forward to helping you grow!

7 thoughts on “Why I stayed at a job I hated! 3 ways to avoid my mistakes

  1. I’ve felt trapped in a job before, and my mental health suffered until I had a huge breakdown in the office and had to sign off sick for two months. As soon as you start to notice red warning flags, you should start looking elsewhere – especially in the current economic climate a new job may be hard to find!

    1. Ailie you are absolutely right! I had stress related health condition for a year at one of my jobs. I should have left sooner 🙂 I’m so glad you got out!

  2. Fear is a real problem. When we hate what we do, we start to think that we can’t do better.

  3. That’s tough! Glad you were able to get yourself out those bad situations. You are worthy girl!

  4. Brave Blog post! I appreciate your honesty and I’m sorry you were treated this way.


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