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Why do people stay in jobs they hate?

You might have seen that Rob’s currently writing the Escape book.

I was reading through some of your contributions around this question: why do people stay in jobs they hate?

Check out what Andrew, Muffadal, and Pete had to say in the comments section and let us know if you have anything to add in the comments section below. I’ve played devil’s advocate by adding in my two cents to the comments below. 

Andrew: ‘Lifestyle costs & Family pressure’

I believe this is purely down to status/identity. Many friends I have well salaried/bonus jobs after graduating and many end up hating the quality of life/work/no time to themselves because of it. However, it is also very comfortable esp since a 20 something earning over £50,000 per year isn’t going to really jump off and write a book, start a company or what have you unless the alternative option offers them something MUCH MUCH MUCH better in exchange.

Also, the fact that being seen as a banker, lawyer, accountant etc is respectable to ones family (incredibly important in asian families as an example) is a big reason people end up loathing what they do and this is obviously unhealthy from a mental point of view.

People on strong incomes tend to ramp up their lifestyles. Most sane/rational people would ‘I can afford to enjoy certain things my income allows it’. It is very hard to trade a £70,000 a year lifestyle for a £20-30k lifestyle especially if you ever get a taste for the former. It also affords you certain options that many cannot ever have.

In short, the point of life is not oxygen, that only helps you to breathe. In the same way the point of money isn’t to spend, that is meaningless, the point is it a) enables freedom and b) enables choice. So everyone should try to create a situation where they can exercise control over their freedom or choices.

Devil’s advocate: But don’t your parents ultimately want you to be happy, productive, and successful? Isn’t it more respectable to your family to make the most of the opportunities you’ve been given?

Muffadal: ‘Money provides options’

Money is great and it provides options. The biggest challenge with escaping is the ‘golden handcuffs’ – you stay in the corporate job for too long, it gets too good and you get too used to the lifestyle that comes with it.

We do live in a consumer-centric world where our value in society is measured by how much and what kind of stuff we can afford to buy and this does suck, but that’s how it is.

Devil’s advocateI like to believe that people worth impressing won’t judge you on what kind of stuff you can afford to buy… the ones who do judge you, are often just more prone to status anxiety?

Pete: some advice!

If you’re earning good money, save and live as though you’re earning decent money.

Don’t spend to buy into the lifestyle of the City if you don’t enjoy it.

Spend it on things that have meaning to you.

Don’t rush to buy a house and have loads of possessions. They become burdens that stop you doing what you want to do in the future. If you don’t have them, then you’ll find it’s easier to move and easier to live on less.

Devil’s advocate: N/A. Anyone want to try and play devil’s advocate with this one?!

  • http://www.mr-worldwide.blogspot.com David Smith

    When I finished college I, unlike most of my friends, didn’t want to go to Uni. I was tired of the education system and wanted to go out into the working world and earn some money. After 2 years of working in different office jobs, I decided to go to Uni to get a degree in something that I was extremely passionate about. 3 years later I came out with a degree in Social Work and I am now a Supervising Social Worker at a Fostering Agency. I love my job and I am just glad that working for 2 years in jobs I didn’t enjoy, gave me the push I needed to go to Uni and get qualified in order to do a job I love.

    • Adele

      Glad to hear it David – I think taking time to figure out what you really love is so important. I had a similar experience of taking my time to decide on a path, am now working at Escape and loving it!