Why is it that so many people out there hate their jobs? They hate the same thing that is paying their bills, the thing that allows them to put food on the table, and often gives them access to health insurance and other benefits. Yet many people, when asked about their job, are not that happy with it, even if it’s a career. We wanted to get to the bottom of why so many people hate their jobs, so we asked people across the country to share what they thought the answer to this question was. We enjoyed their responses so much that we wanted to share them with you. We hope you find them as interesting and enlightening as we did. Here they are:
I wrote a book called 22 Reasons Employees HATE Their Jobs and What Companies Can Do about It. Two top reasons come to the fore:
1. The employee hates his/her boss. Humans work for other humans, not for companies. Having a great boss in a crappy company is frequently better than being in a great company, but having a crappy boss. The boss is the one you interact with day to day, he/she is the one who (to some degree) controls your destiny in the company (pay, promotions, etc). Companies need to invest in training managers, not just promote the person with the most technical experience.
2. The second reason is that many employees are not in jobs that are well suited to their temperaments. The employee chooses jobs based on skill, money, convenience, hours, etc., but not on behavioral fit. (Many people have college degrees that send them down one path, when their real gifts would take them down a very different one.) Add to this that companies don’t always put enough focus on understanding the behavior style that best suits a particular job, and you end up with lots of people dreading going to work everyday.
Denise Altman, MBA, CPA, CPBA
Altman Initiative Group, Inc.
As a successful, professional chef with best-selling cookbooks and appearances on television (The Food Network, ABC, GPB and more) under my belt, I was still miserable with my job. My experience has been that most people hate their jobs because they are trying to make other people happy, and because we are not responsible for the happiness of others. Proof shows up time and time again that we cannot make others happy 100% of the time because it is our responsibility to make ourselves, as individuals, happy.
Boss is unhappy? It’s because he doesn’t know how to manage his workload and passes off too much work to you. When you can’t handle it, he feels like a failure. He has to question his fear of failure and no matter how hard you work, you can’t make him do that. I taught people how to cook. However, many were afraid of the kitchen, believed cooking was too time consuming, or were afraid no one would appreciate their efforts. My classes never really paid off for them because fear
was the problem, not cooking! When we face our fears, we can be happy
no matter what others expect from us!
Author of “Releasing Fear Now: Freedom from Belief in the Mind”
I hated my job because it was not my calling. It was secure and well-paid, but I was bored and completely unsatisfied. I felt guilty for leaving my kids at daycare for the sake of sitting in a cubicle all day and staring at a computer. The people at the company were excellent people, but the job was not for me. I took every opportunity to leave the cubicle and go sing somewhere – in the hallways, in the park, outside on the parking lot. Finally I decided to leave and become a singer, which is my calling. Now I sing at concerts, write and record songs and homeschool my kids. I love what I do now and am completely fulfilled.
We find increasingly more and more that individuals are saying they hate their jobs. From my personal experience and from the experience of coaching hundreds of people on their lives and jobs, there are typically a couple of resounding themes.
So perhaps not as outlandish as the bosses presented in the recent movie of the same title, one reason people hate their jobs is because of their boss. In the business world we know that most often people don’t leave jobs, they leave bad bosses. Reporting to an ineffective boss can have significant impact on an individual’s job satisfaction as a result of the emotional and physical stress experienced day in and day out. This often sucks the life out of job satisfaction, and let’s face it, we spend more time at work than we do with our own families.
I am currently writing a book titled The Peter Principle Revisited – Again! In this book I talk about leaders who were once fully competent in a specific area of knowledge or skill, and later promoted to their level of incompetence. Having facilitated many discussions in Fortune 500 organizations, quite often it is known that these “leaders” are like milk cartons whose shelf life has long been exceeded. Yet, for many reasons the senior leaders of these companies (HR included) continue to allow these “bulls in a china shop” to remain. They are allowed to remain despite the fact everyone knows the “emperor is naked.”
Out of Alignment
There is a difference between doing something you love and something you’re “good at”. Most of the individuals who come my way realize that they have spent many years doing what they are “good at”, and find that they have spent 15 to 20+ years in this situation. Then, somewhere along the line they have a sense there is something out of alignment. Most often they can feel a discomfort, yet find it hard to articulate what is trying to emerge in their lives. Typically they will say to me, “I know I want to be doing something different. I don’t know what “it” is, but I know it isn’t “this”.
In virtually every situation my clients have specific passions and values in their life that are not being honored in their job, and most often not even in their life. It is important for people to find a job, profession, career and company culture that aligns with what is important to them. See, when you work in alignment with your passions and values, you have increased motivation to continue doing the job. It’s because you are “doing what you love, and loving what you do”, not simply tolerating for the sake of a paycheck. But, when you are doing a job out of alignment with your values and passions, you are operating in the realm of burnout risk. This is because you’re skilled at what you’re doing, yet there is little to no resonance with what you love.
When the stars are aligned, so to speak, work doesn’t feel like “work”, there is a spring in your step, and you enjoy doing what you do every day – you’re in flow. The job can be performed effortlessly and even when challenges come they are met with intrigue and a “can do attitude” because of the alignment with your passions and values.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that we as human beings have many areas of our lives, aspects of our world, where we seek alignment with our values and passions. Frequently we are unaware that the displeasure in the areas of our jobs, families, relationships, finances, and such are a result of not living in alignment. So, before someone ups and quits their job, it is important to understand how one area of life may impact the displeasure of another.. We are complex people and we are not able to compartmentalize all the areas of our lives when it comes to interdependency among these areas. The way to ensure there is synergy in the many areas of our lives is to ensure all areas are playing in alignment with what matters most.
Thom Qafzezi, M.B.A., M.A., SWP
Specializing in Personal/Business/Relationship Coaching, Learning/Organizational Development, Organizational Psychology, & Transformational Strategic Human Resources
Here are some reasons that customers have shared with me why they hate their jobs and want out:
Employers have made promises that they can’t or choose not to keep
Employers are making employees do far more work for the same or less pay
Employers are making employees do work outside of the scope of their job
description that they may dislike or are not particularly good at
Employees never wanted the job in the first place, but had to take it for
Employees dislike their boss
Employees perceive a lack of value or respect
Employees think the grass is greener somewhere else
Essentially, this dissatisfaction boils down to two overarching facts: The
labor market is entirely in favor of employers at the moment, and workplace
loyalty is a thing of the past – on both sides.
Alexander E. Fowler, Senior Writer at Resume Express, has been writing resumes since 1995, and launched a nationwide company to help jobseekers with this task in 2011. Since that time, he has worked with thousands of job seekers, many of whom not only hate their employers, but are entirely disaffected.
Before I started my business, I was always the type of person everyone felt comfortable enough to talk to. I was very good on every job I ever worked but never really felt satisfied being there. It wasn’t until my best friend helped me realize that maybe the reason I was so unfulfilled was because instead of working for someone else, I should work for myself.
People often told me about their frustrations and why they hated their jobs. One reason was because of low wages, another reason was because of commute, but the ultimate reason I heard that really inspired my business was because of the way in which their superiors would treat them. People hated their jobs because they were not treated good.
This inspired me so much until I created several programs that will help the employers in their relations with their employees. After researching many companies who have employees that love coming to work, the common thread was because of the way the employer treated them.
Tameka “L.A. Say” Anderson
Team and Productivity Strategist
The common advice is to find out what you are passionate about and you will never hate your job. While true that is easier said than done. Only a small percentage of the workforce is engaged in something about which they are passionate. In my experience of working with all types of industries, the biggest barrier to liking what you are doing is your boss. Conversely, your direct supervisor can make your work life a fairly enjoyable experience.
Most supervisors/managers are ill-equipped for their positions and as such are unable to help their employees get where they want to go while producing the business results that helps their companies achieve their objectives. Where those two are in balance the vast majority of employees are fully engaged and the vast majority of companies are fairly successful.
The PAR Group
I am a life coach who specializes in helping mid-life women figure out their life purpose. I came to this after a number of jobs that I absolutely hated and taking the time to contemplate they “why” behind these awful work experiences as a stay-at-home mom.
I realized that I hated the jobs because they were compensated time-fillers I endured so I could pay the bills. I had no interest in what I was doing. You name it, I have probably done it in one capacity or another. I took a job as a receptionist in 2002 and after 2 days I felt like a trained chimp, scanning documents and answering the phone with no type of stimulation whatsoever.
The main reason so many people hate their jobs has been repeated by client after client. They tell me that they are just going through the motions. They don’t feel excited or energized. A job that sounded like an amazing opportunity turned out to be more of a jail sentence. Everyone has activities that excite them, knowledge and experience that they are passionate about, but don’t know how to tap into that excitement and integrate it into their work experience. Many times it means a change of career which is a big step into the unknown.
I firmly believe that nearly everyone who hates their job is because they chose it for the money they expect to get from it rather than doing it because they want to learn or chase their passion. I have hated my jobs for years until I finally started coming at them from a point of education, finding jobs that I thought I could learn something from to take me closer to becoming the person I wanted to be. Since then, I loved my work.
The research suggests that most people hate their jobs because of the person they report to.
I believe that most people hate their jobs for the following reasons:
1. Jobs restrict personal freedom. While I am working, someone else has a say in how I spend my time.
2. For many jobs, it is difficult for employees to connect their day to day activities with the purpose and mission of the organization.
3. Because there is a hierarchy shaped like a pyramid, most employees eventually stall in their career (Not everyone can eventually become the CEO). This means that they will reach a plateau where the opportunity to learn new things is limited.
In other words, the three things identified by researchers as high level motivators, freedom, feeling like you are making an impact, and personal growth are naturally limited by the way organizations are structured.
I’m not a job hater, per se, but I’ve had a rocky career with a lot of situations where I didn’t like what I was doing or the people who managed me.
In my book, The Life Reset, I talk about this phenomenon. In my view, there is only one reason that people hate their jobs. It’s quite simple and usually very obvious but, for many reasons, extremely difficult for many people to see or admit.
They are doing the wrong job.
Meaning, they are doing a job that’s not right for them, for who they are, for who they want to be. They are doing the job for someone else’s vision of who they should be. It’s not healthy, and it results in job hatred.
The job in the past that I hated most, it was because it was socially isolating.
It was a full-time job that I was placed in through a temp agency, working in a dental billing firm doing accounting. I was working in a room by myself, with dark-gray walls and no windows.
In spite of there being a really nice, cheerful cafeteria area in the office building (which I ate in every day I was there), the employees rarely ate lunch there; it was usually empty. I found it very hard to form even any superficial acquaintances at this workplace. It was the social isolation that made me quit this job before my assignment was over.
Founder and Editor, RateTea.com
1. They are doing unfulfilling work. They don’t know what will make them happy or believe that the work they really want to do is unattainable.
2. They fear change and it’s easier to stay stuck where they are.
3. People in their lives don’t support them to do what they want and because they fear change keep others from moving forward.
These are some that come my way.
Certified Success Coach
I am a diversity and career management consultant – and prior to that worked 31 years at IBM. I speak both from personal experience and as a consultant.
Interestingly enough – I feel the number one reason is a “bad boss.” I have had many good managers at IBM but I also had a few really bad ones and I was completely miserable. These are bosses who did not appreciate my work, blamed me for their mistakes, took all the credit for my good work, and assigned time consuming meaningless tasks. It sapped all the energy out of me and instead of my energies being focused on the task at hand my focus on was on how miserable I was and how to move to a new position (Luckily IBM is a very large company and it is quite easy to move away from a bad boss.)
In terms of my consulting work – I see two things.
1) In a poor economy, managers may feel that their employees won’t be able to move to a new company and are stuck, so they abuse them my having them work horribly long hours with no appreciation. But this will come back to bite them because the most talented can leave to go somewhere else because top talent will always be in demand, and when the economy improves, many will jump ship.
2) The work does not align with the person’s passions. Doing a dull boring job will get miserable after a while – the best situation is when a person can spend those 50 or 60 working hours a week on activities that really excite them, or in an environment they are passionate about.
Stan C. Kimer, President
Total Engagement Consulting by Kimer
Jobs require you to use an alarm clock, unless you have a night job.
Jobs, like families, require you to spend your days with people you wouldn’t normally choose to be with.
Jobs have bosses who assign you annoying tasks that they didn’t want to do themselves.
Jobs chop a big hole in your social life just to make money.
I know exactly why people hate their jobs. And I also know why they THINK they hate their jobs.
Let’s start with why they THINK they hate their jobs. I present over 120 full-day management seminars per year for the country’s #1 seminar company and this year I’ve surveyed hundreds of attendees and asked them to list three things they hate about their jobs.
Most common answers were:
– The people (mostly a bad boss, but negative co-workers and needy employees were also common)
– Corporate B.S.
Now, here’s why 2 out of 3 Americans (according to a recent Gallup Poll) REALLY hate their job:
Their needs are not being met.
Tim David, “2010 Top Mentalist in North America”
I’ve worked for 5 small companies in the last 3 years, and even the ones that claimed to put their employees first and actually focus on their ‘climate’, still had a high rate of turnover. After leaving my last job, I started trying to find people who love their jobs and why.
Here’s my conclusion for the fastest, cheapest way that a company of any size can almost instantly help make their employees enjoy their jobs more: make them feel important.
The simplest way I can paint it for you is to think of an old ship where people had to row blindly way below the deck of the ship while only a few stayed above to navigate. You can only row blindly for so long before you need some kind of feedback – What direction are we headed? How long until we reach shore? What’s the weather like outside?
To take it one step further, a manager can even let each rower know why he is crucial to the ship/business.
Overall, the biggest problem is not going in with eyes open and keeping your eyes open. I’d break this down into three points:
“Should-hood”: I’ve blogged about this (see below) but I stole this phrase from a friend of mine out in Baltimore; “Should-hood leads to shit-hood.” Bottom line is that “should” is a word best applied while looking in the mirror. Oftentimes we get so hung up on what “should” be and fail to focus on what is – reality. In any interaction with others, there is one element over which we exercise complete and 100% control – ourselves. And yet where do we expend the majority of our efforts? That’s right – on the elements over which we can only hope, at best, to exert influence – other people. Instead of focusing on what isn’t and what “should be”, try instead to focus on what IS and what CAN BE. By focusing on potentials and then applying your 100% to yourself, there is a reasonable chance that you can effect outcomes.
“The Ability To Not Give a Flip”: While one should apply oneself 100% to performing at your maximum expectation at any job, you must also have the ability to maintain perspective and know when to “not give a ‘flip'” (I’m using the nicer word here, but you get the picture). While this doesn’t mean not caring about your job, it DOES mean caring about the right things. There are myriad things that happen at work about which we can tie ourselves into knots. In my experience there are two things at work that matter; the relationships we build and what we accomplish by leveraging these relationships. This approach not only helps us grow professionally, but also personally as well as helping us influence outcomes to deliver results.
Realistic Expectations: We too often expect too much of ourselves and, mostly, of others. Keep your expectations based on people AS THEY ARE and not as you WISH THEY WOULD BE. I’ve found that if you always expect other people to be themselves they will never disappoint you.
Mark E. Calabrese
Five Reasons Why People Hate Their Jobs
1) They chose the wrong career and now they are stuck.
2) They raked-up a tremendous amount of credit card debt and now have to keep the job to pay the minimum.
3) They work in their family business and do not seek any other career options.
4) They want to work and live in the city of their employment and other jobs may be available in remote locations.
5) They simply do not like to work and are Theory X (i.e., McGregor) people that dislike work and only do it because they have to.
Author of “Mastering Self-Motivation”
Most people hate their jobs for one of two reasons:
1. They hate what they’re doing. Their bodies are at work but their minds are elsewhere. The best employees tend to work in jobs and businesses they love. As a result, thoughts of how to be more successful and productive rarely leave their mind. In fact, the great ones have to force themselves into non-work activities just to give their mind a chance to rest and recover.
2. They see their job as trading time for money so they believe the only way to make more money is to work harder. Obviously this isn’t the case because if hard work was the secret to financial success, every construction worker and cocktail waitress would be rich. He says more people need to find a career they love, and strategically focus their efforts on the most profitable areas of their business while leveraging their contacts, credibility and resources to maximize the result of every action taken.
Author of “177 Mental Toughness Secrets of The World Class” and “How Rich People Think”
List of Reasons People Hate Their Job
1. Mismatch between what the person wants to do and what the job requires
2. The person works for a horrible boss
a. One who isn’t trustworthy or respected
b. One who is a micro-manager
c. One who plays favorites
d. One who takes all of the glory
e. One who looks for the problems and looks to blame a scapegoat
f. One who is unappreciative of the team’s contributions
g. One who is absent and gives no direction
h. One who is inconsistent so team members don’t know what the rules are on any given day
i. One who is misinformed or unqualified for the managerial position.
3. The person works with horrible co-workers
a. They take all the glory
b. They throw others under the bus and are not trustworthy
c. They are hostile and confrontational
d. They are lazy and won’t/can’t/don’t do the work
4. The company is not well respected
5. The company doesn’t treat its employees well (benefits, time off, etc.)
6. Low wages
7. Other aspirations for their lives
Author/Certified Leadership Coach
Many people hate their jobs because while business owners and managers understand they have to establish value when it comes to their customers, but they sometimes forget they have establish value just as consistently when it comes to their people.
They’re asking what their people can do for their business. Their people are asking what the business can do for them.
Owners and managers should realize their employees can achieve more than those employees themselves believe they can achieve. And they need to show them that. To show each individual the vision they have for what that employee can become and what they can accomplish: a vision the boss may have helped to instill but one they’ve worked out with the employee so it encompasses their hopes and dreams. If an employee thinks the boss has a high opinion of them, it’s amazing what they will do to maintain that opinion. And the more they respect that boss they harder they will work to hang on to his or her regard.
And sometimes one of the greatest incentives can simply be the chance to belong to a first rate team, an outstanding organization, to belong to something they can be proud of. One of my clients is the U.S. Army. Why do people perform so heroically in battle? Do they love their country? Of course they do. But when you ask them about it, the answer you get is often the same one you get from championship football or basketball teams. They did it for their buddies. For their teammates. Because they didn’t want to let them down. And they felt like they were part of something special.
Mark Twain said, “Great people make you feel that you too can become great.” If a boss can make their people feel they can become great-or at least very good-and they might not be a great person but they’ll certainly get great results. And far fewer people will hate their jobs.
Author, speaker, Barry Maher, has appeared on the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, CNBC, and he’s frequently featured in publications like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the London Times, Business Week and USA Today.
His client list includes organizations like ABC, the American Management Association, Budget Rent a Car, Canon, Cessna, Fox Cable Television, Fuji, Hewlett-Packard, Lufthansa Airlines, Merck, the National Lottery of Ireland, the Small Business Administration, the U.S. Government, Verizon and Wells Fargo.
His books include Filling the Glass, the leadership book which has been cited as “[One of] The Seven Essential Popular Business Books,” by Today’s Librarian along with books like The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and The One Minute Manager.
The deal is, most people get a job because they need a job, and then add a lot of bills so that they then cannot afford to leave the job they hate. They need to keep the bills low until they get the job they want.
Ronny C. Jetmore
It is a sad thing when people hate their jobs and it usually comes down to one of two simple reasons. The first is that they feel unappreciated for the work they do. Even the most demanding of bosses can keep a staff happy if they show the right levels of appreciation. This isn’t always money. Sometimes a pat on the back and a “thank you” go a long way. This is more of an issue when the demanding nature causes a lot of overtime.
We all accept that a job can be stressful, but when that stress cannot be left at the office it comes into the home where eventually the employee must make a choice between family and work. This is why some people have worked for 2-5 firms in the past 15 years and it is also why some people have been divorced 2-5 times.
The second most common reason people hate their jobs is because they feel they are under-utilized. People naturally want to feel they are adding value and they naturally want to advance in their careers by learning new things and taking on new challenges. When people feel they have stagnated in their jobs, they naturally begin to show the effects. Either they become eager to do something else or they resign themselves to being under-utilized and they lose their drive and ambition. Neither is good for either the employee or the employer.
The great news is that by keeping people engaged and growing, and by providing a lot of appreciation, employers can keep their employees happy, active, and adding value for years to come.
Heath Suddleson is a professional speaker, author, and executive coach. His book, The Attitude Check is a practical field guide for leaders to get the most out of their teams in almost any environment from paid staff to volunteers.
I handle the marketing for a company named www.jobzology.com. Their research has shown that most people (and companies,) are unhappy with their jobs (and employees,) due to a mismatch of the personality and values of a person and the culture of the company.
Owner and Managing Partner
The Marketing Department Fort Collins
What is the number one reason employees hate their jobs? It’s their boss.
Because so many managers get into their positions without any real training they haven’t a clue on how to manage people or how to be a boss.
Instead of knowing that the reasons they are a boss is to lead people, they are more likely to think that their employees are similar to being there to serve them and they end up treating them — well like servants.
So instead of leadership they are impolite, unsympathetic, disorganized, unreasonably demanding, unmotivating and otherwise crummy role models. Not much too like here.
Kathleen Brush has a Ph.D. in management and international studies. She has more than 20 years’ experience as a senior executive (CEO, GM and CMO) for companies of all sizes, public and private, foreign and domestic. More than fifteen years were spent in turnarounds. She has written numerous articles and five books on international management, strategy, and marketing. Her articles have appeared in the Financial Times China, India Times, The Washington Post, CNBC, Fox Business, Entrepreneur and many more. In 2012 Kathleen published The Power of One: you’re the boss. Due out in 2013 is The World Made Easy. Dr. Brush has also taught international business and leadership, international marketing and organizational behavior at the university level and for corporations.
For me personally, as well as my career coaching clients, bad interpersonal relationships at work are the primary driver that brings people down, saps their creativity, and interferes with motivation and productivity.
Also known as “social stress,” it’s the brain’s natural response to undesired interpersonal interactions and the social environment in general. Often without our conscious awareness, when experiencing social threat the brain kicks into its evolutionary survival mode. We begin to fear the coworker or boss who is the source of the social stress and over time develop increasing anxiety about going into the office. Who wouldn’t naturally hate their jobs under such circumstances?
Dr. Paula Thompson
Foresight Coaching & Consulting
I have had a few jobs I’ve hated as well as jobs I’ve loved. For me, and I believe for many people, it’s not so much the job tasks, or the pay, or the company that make the biggest difference in how much you enjoy your time at work, it’s the people you spend 8 or more hours a day with. Think about how many times you’ve heard someone say, “My job is okay, but I really love the people I work with. We all have a great time together.” Conversely, if a person can’t stand or doesn’t get along with co-workers life can be miserable. I quit my last job simply because I hated my boss, though I loved the organization and everyone else I worked with. She made my life, and the lives of the rest of the staff depressing. Also, I believe that in recent years, people feel like they are trapped in their jobs and have no choice but to stay and suffer there. I don’t agree with that viewpoint, but it is common. There is no worse feeling that feeling powerless.
Bad bosses, mean co-workers and feeling overworked and undervalued.
These are the most common reasons people hate their jobs. As a Career Counselor and Coach for over 20 years these are the most common complaints.
Lynn Berger, M.A., Ed.M is a National Certified Counselor, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Professional Certified Coach and Master Career Counselor. She has been a Career Counselor and Coach in private practice in New York City for over 20 years. Lynn has appeared as a guest expert on radio and television shows across the country and has been featured in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, The New York Times, Newsday, Businessweek.com, Monster.com, etc. In addition, she has authored a book titled, “The Savvy Part-Time Professional- How To Land, Create or Negotiate The Part-Time Job Of Your Dreams”.
I’m an executive recruiter that speaks to thousands of people a year about their jobs. I’m also a writer of career books and I teach a pre-employment class at a college.
People hate their jobs because:
1. They have no sense of direction or purpose in their life – if you have a clear understanding of how your work is helping other people you become more motivated.
2. When someone moves from a role with a lot of creativity to one that is
more routine this can cause dissatisfaction.
3. People always think they are worth the most they have ever been paid so
if they take a cut in pay then they are unhappy.
4. Sometimes managers are not developed enough to understand how to manage their teams and this can lead to dissatisfaction among team members.
5. Long hours – 12 hours a day 6-7 days a week can lead to burn out in any
7. Lack of recognition or sense that work matters.
I have found that if work involves:
4. Sense of purpose
5. Sense of team work or belonging
6. Clear opportunities for progression
People can really love their jobs.
John Paul Engel
Most people don’t hate their jobs, they hate the environment in which they work. If more companies allowed employees to come in later, wear shorts/sandals, work from home a few days per week, bring a dog to work, etc…. then people would like their jobs much more.
I quit a boring job at the bank to start an adult entertainment company and it’s been awesome ever since. I wake up every day at 11am, wear shorts/sandals, work from home, work when I want… it’s the best.
Dave Pounder Productions LLC
As a whole, I find that when I felt unhappy at a job, it was due to the following reasons:
Management was not treating employees fairly … too much favoritism.
So-called executives abusing the system, e.g. high-dollar lunches, dinners and drink fests. In many cases, executives treat company assets as their own and have a sense of entitlement. It’s hard to watch that when you know there are layoffs in the future.
Always in fear of when the next layoff will be, while working 9 years at a Fortune 50 company. I believe that a lot of people feel trapped in their jobs, because of the benefits, particularly health benefits. The poor economy has made it nearly impossible to feel secure anywhere. Employers are laying the over 40 crowd off and these people are not finding jobs. They are underemployed and unemployed. For this reason, many hate their jobs because they are working in retail making $9/hour when they were laid off from a corporate job making $40/hour.
People hate their jobs because they shouldn’t have taken them in the first place. Often, though, economic necessity (or parental pressure) pushes us into careers that are a far cry from what we love to do. Then, after a while of being in the wrong place, we come to feel displaced. The hopping or hoping begins at this point.
Dr. Marlene Caroselli is an author, keynoter, and corporate trainer. She writes extensively about education, business, and careers; her 61st book is a Kindle/Nook ebook titled 50 Ways to Cleave Your Cover. Her first book, The Language of Leadership, was named a main selection by the Executive Book Club. Principled Persuasion, a more recent title, was designated a Director’s Choice by the Doubleday Book Club.
Often we feel we can only make a difference in the world if we are doing what we love, but I have found that:
-Innovation is for everybody: You don’t have to choose the perfect career or “do what you love” to enjoy your work. Most of the fulfillment we experience comes from making a difference with the jobs we have.
-We can work with what we’ve got: If we think we’re in a situation where great work isn’t possible, we limit ourselves. All innovation involves starting with the good that already exists, and then adding new value through improvements that benefit others.
David Sturt, author of NYT best-selling book Great Work
Work has been erroneously defined for us by the past even though the present work landscape is vastly different than it was. Work is thought of as something that you have to do in order to survive in this world. With the belief that “there are things we have to do in this world whether we like it or not” – when that sentiment gets involved in what you do for work, how can you not hate your job?
Consider too that we were not taught to value what came easily to us, to pay attention to the things that felt easy for us to do (that are hard for other people) – we think that that couldn’t possibly be anything that we could make money at. So as grown-ups we strive for recognition and appreciation for doing things that we don’t want to do – it’s a habit and it’s part of the fabric of how we choose and approach work. So again, how can you not hate your job?
Once upon a time, we didn’t have the choices that we do for work. But now, work comes in forms that it didn’t exist in before. So with these modern day choices for what to do for work and work that incorporates concepts like “lifestyle design” (read the 4-Hour Work Week), work isn’t just about survival as it once was. Work in our modern times is asked to not only fulfill our survival needs, but also higher level needs like contribution, purpose and meaning. And it’s not like we don’t at least know one person who is actually enthusiastic about their work. This highlights a gap between what we are doing for work and what we want. So, once again, how can you not hate your job?
Once upon a time, I myself hated every job I ever had. Six months in, after being willing to start all over on multiple occasions and after three career transitions, I had to stop and see that the common denominator was … me. Through my own inner journeying (because when you notice a pattern, it’s the last place you want to go, but the only place that actually offers results) I started to understand how committed I had been to suffering and trying to please the ideals of my family and friends in order to feel accepted and valued. So, no wonder I hated my job. Look at what I was asking it to do for me when I couldn’t value and accept myself. When I had that insight about myself, it changed how I wanted to approach work.
Ironically, what I had never paid attention to about myself was how much I loved looking for work. I loved researching jobs, writing applications, going for interviews. Only you don’t get paid for those things … unless you’re a Career Counselor helping others with their job searches and showing them how to make work feel more meaningful so that they could feel more at home in the world.
So, the ending of why I hated my job is an ironic one. Wouldn’t you say? Work that you actually would love to do is almost always hidden in plain view.
Sabrina Ali is a Career Counselor for professionals and executives under 40. You can find her at MakeBelieveForReal.com.
Here’s why I’ve never had a “typical” job. People hate their jobs because they have to put a big chunk of time into doing something that often has little or no personal meaning to them. They work so that they can pay off their car so they can get to work. Then they drive to their home but are too tired to enjoy the space. They have to work to pay rent or mortgage for, so they watch T.V and have another beer. Then they are too wound up from the stress of work and from getting no exercise or fresh air, so they have to take a sleeping pill so they can get up the next day and do it all over again. On the weekends they have to catch up with all the normal chores of living: laundry, housework, grocery shopping, mowing the lawn etc.
These are the top reasons why people tend to hate where they work:
4-Not empowered to unleash their creativity on the job because of constant micro-management
5-Lack of recognition and acknowledgement for job well done
Most people hate their jobs because they’ve made a choice to not be themselves. In other words, who they are around other people is based out of fear (i.e. “If I say ‘no’ to my boss, he might fire me.”)
Working from a place of, ‘I have to work, or I’ll die’ mentality will build resentment, and eventually hatred. If you choose to be yourself however, sharing your genuine perspective and are not afraid to speak up, regardless of the consequences, you’ll find that you’ll be happy doing almost anything.
Stress and Overwhelm Coach
- Unfortunately, a recent Gallup poll shows that only 30% of our U.S. workers are engaged, with another 50% “non-engaged” and an astonishing 20% “actively disengaged”. So, people not only hate their jobs, they are, most likely, less productive, and checked out. Gallup recommends that managers play a much bigger role in engaging with employees. I think employees should ‘get engaged or get out.’
- Why do so many people hate their jobs?
- They have been in them too long. On average, workers are staying in their jobs, “keeping their heads down” due to the unemployment crisis. As a result, there are fewer open chairs in the game of musical chairs within a company.
- Employees are abdicating the responsibility for their career movement to their managers and companies. The days are gone when organic growth happened purely because a company was growing so fast. They would rather be the victim than take accountability. This is why I retired from Microsoft to write the book “Cut the Crap, Get a Job!” so I could deliver an easy-to-follow process for employees to go out and create choices.
- They are working longer hours for smaller wage or salary increases. Yes, compensation packages are being squeezed, merit increases are in the low single digits, often not keeping up with inflation, and even commissioned employees are seeing their commission structures changed…for the worse.
- Devices and technology have made it very hard to turn work off. E-mails, texts, action items and reports come flowing in via smart phones, PCs and tablets all hours of the day, night and weekends. People are exhausted, unable to recharge their batteries and enjoy time with their family. That builds up to resentment. Work-life balance is heading in the wrong direction.
Dana Manciagli, Global Career Expert
Speaker, Consultant, Author of Cut the Crap, Get a Job
There are many reasons why people hate their jobs. The reasons may include unrealistic expectations, not being passionate about what they do, expectations, or having to settle for something less because of the labor market.
However, I believe that one of the key reasons has to do with the feeling on entitlement. Children today are not taught that there are winners and losers. They believe that just the effort makes everyone a winner. That’s great for self-esteem building, but damaging to their perception of what they can expect from life. Not everyone is going to get the corner office or swing the million dollar real estate deal. Not everyone is going to get lucky and fall into something fantastic. Most people have to work hard and do the things that they feel are beneath them, and this can lead to feelings of resentment and superiority.
Entitlement sets people up for a fall. If a huge success isn’t just around the corner, they fall into the trap of job-hopping, expecting things to be better in the next position. Unfortunately, they very often slip into the same position. Unless they have a proven track record, and have done notable things in their previous job, that corner office won’t be handed to
them on a silver platter. It’s a lot harder to make that happen if you don’t stick around.
Entitlement should only be attributed to things like an education, healthy food, clean air, clean water, and health care…not to a person, a job or to success.
The number one reason I’ve heard from our users is that they think their bosses are idiots and that they think they can do a better job. The second reason is that they think the work they are doing is below them. Third, they believe that they are being underpaid. In all three cases this may be true, but like everyone else, you have to pay your dues, and prove yourself. If you’ve already proven yourself over a number of years, and have not received a promotion, you may be stuck in a dead end job, and it might be time to find a new one.
Co-Founder and resident career expert at JobKaster
I run a boutique recruiting firm and prior to that spent several years as an organizational consultant. In brief, people are much less likely to fail to GET the job they want than to KNOW what they want. That’s the failure. We have a framework for helping people understand what they want, thus making it more probably they’ll KNOW what to look for. Finding what you want is a different story. On that end, I think people simply spend too much time looking for the “right job” as opposed to the “environment that exhibits the characteristics necessary to create the job” they want.
President, Managing Partner
Elm Talent Group
People hate their jobs when they don’t feel respected or valued. So many lawyers are miserable because they put in long hours for their senior partner, only to be told they aren’t working hard enough. Additionally, at most big law firms it takes years (or decades) to get promoted, so why should a young associate commit so much time to a firm that will never promote him? Since lawyers are a dime a dozen if the young associate expresses a hint of dissatisfaction, he/she will be out of a job tomorrow, replaced by a new guy.
I’m sure the same dynamic occurs in other professions, too.
Shane Fischer, Attorney at Law
Top 5 reasons people hate their job:
1) Their boss.
2) During recession their role was expanded – and now they are underpaid.
3) The market is better and it’s time to look. People are less fearful.
4) Career path. Their organization doesn’t offer any OR they hit the ceiling. Basically someone has to die or quit for them to move up.
5) Turnover at the C level and/or poor stock (makes people nervous, especially after the great recession).
Author of “I Quit! Working For You Isn’t Working For Me” and “Recession Proof Yourself”
Many people hate their jobs because they feel stifled and unable to use their talent. In surveys of thousands of people in organizations large and small, for profit and nonprofit, we’ve found that the average level of job satisfaction even in excellent organizations is only 60% to 70% of what people would like it to be. Some workers have job satisfaction at 20% or less. Strikingly, there is a very high correlation between the use of talent (which also typically averages 60% to 70% of potential) and job satisfaction. When people don’t feel that they can use their talents, they lose fulfillment and disengage. When they perceive that the organization or their managers are holding them back, they become embittered. The bottled up energy of their untapped talent turns on itself and outward in negative ways. They become victims rather than heroes of their situations. So, job #1 for job haters is to find ways to use more of their talent–either at work or in other interests. This will bring an immediate boost to their sense of possibilities for themselves and shift the energy from hatred to constructive action.
Don Maruska and Jay Perry
Don Maruska founded and was CEO of three Silicon Valley companies and now inspires and guides leaders and teams around the world to be their best in their work and careers. He is also author of “How Great Decisions Get Made.”
Jay Perry is one of the founders of Coach University and the International Coach Federation and has over two decades of experience bringing forth the creative genius of people in all walks of life.
Don Maruska and Jay Perry are the co-authors of Take Charge of Your Talent: Three Keys to Thriving in Your Career, Organization, and Life, distinguished as a “Must Not Miss” book by ASTD (the world’s largest professional association dedicated to training and development)
Most people hate their jobs because their job doesn’t get them anywhere. The pay or benefits may be lousy and sometimes the people they may work around could affect the work environment. But I feel the number one reason maybe the boss. There is nothing worse than working for a boss who doesn’t show appreciation for their employees.
Many people hate their jobs because it represents a lack of freedom. A job puts their lives and fate into the hands of another. A job is a necessity; an obligation that many do not want to fulfill because it does not fulfill them. A lack of respect from their employer makes many (if not all) people hate their jobs. Because so many hate their jobs, it would appear that this lack of respect permeates the job market fluidly. I know many, including myself, who have experienced this lack of respect and it has the power to make you miserable. It will turn you into a “job hater” no matter what your professional level.
Beth Shankle Anderson, Esq.
Based on past experience in managing and hiring thousands of people, here are the top reasons why they hate their jobs.
1. Their boss (number 1 reason why people leave their jobs).
2. They didn’t do enough research to understand their career and the associated career path (the type of jobs). Basically they are not happy with their career.
3. They don’t like the company or company culture.
4. The work is not challenging enough.
5. They want more money (this is a factor but certainly not #1)
The happiest employees are those that are most engaged with their organization.
John M. Green Jr.
Chief Operating Officer
John Greene is President of CSB Training and Chief Operating Officer of Collaborative Consulting. He is a highly accomplished executive with experience in operations and implementation, financial management, product management, strategic positioning and planning, business process improvement, human resources, recruiting and technology development and support. Prior to Collaborative he was a senior executive at Fidelity Investments for over 20 years and a consultant at Keane Inc. for 8 years.
After much thought and research over many years, I have come to the following conclusion:
I believe so many people hate their jobs because they don’t feel a sense of ownership in the work they are doing and they do not feel truly valued as an employee.
Too often management under-appreciates their employees and takes away any autonomy and decision-making. In other words, too many managers have control and power issues (otherwise known as self-esteem issues) and this leads to a negative employer-employee relationship which manifests itself in a myriad of ways from micro-managing to taking credit.
Until society addresses human dysfunction on a broad scale, this and many other problems will persist and get worse. Fortunately, there is a way to reverse these issues and it’s really quite simple but takes a little effort.
1. Many people hate their jobs because they feel forced to do it. They do not view it as their choice.
a. Author Byron Katie captures this feeling in the following quote, “As long as you think that the cause of your problem is “out there”—as long as you think that anyone or anything is responsible for your suffering—the situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the role of victim.”
b. What individuals fail to consider is that work is a choice. At a
minimum, we choose to work to put a roof over our head and food on the
2.) Another factor which can motivate some to hate their jobs is the messages they receive from the media. All day long we hear “It’s all about you,” and “You deserve a break today.”
a. These messages are in direct conflict with the messages of the workplace, namely, “It’s all about the employer,” and “Work as if your job
depended on it.”
b. If an individual believes the messages of the media they are likely to hate any type of work.
3.) Many people forget that work is a contract, a legal agreement where you agree to exchange your physical and intellectual efforts for remuneration.
a. If more people thought about work this way, I believe the number of people who hated their job would drop and the number who appreciated their work would rise significantly.
I’ve just taken a package from my employer of 24 years. I am currently working as a Senior Financial Consultant for a local government agency. As you can tell, I enjoy my work. I have known many others who did not like their work.
Most people don’t get energized from their work because they are not playing to their strengths. Research indicates that only two out of ten people play to their strengths at work. This presents a massive organizational opportunity since the single factor in maximizing an individual’s potential is leveraging strengths. Meaning, professionals have an opportunity to do what they love every day. As a culture we focus so much on remedial intervention – weaknesses – and miss the opportunity to support professionals to enjoy their work.
Another reason people hate their job is because they hate their boss. Most people accept positions to join an organization or for the invitation to perform the actual task they are hired to do. Interestingly, most people leave organizations because their boss is difficult, not supportive or a micromanager. More energy needs to be spent on developing leaders to retain talent and empower individuals to enjoy their work.
“Shannon Cassidy is the founder and CEO of bridge between inc., a professional services firm specializing in executive coaching, program facilitation and keynote speaking. Cassidy holds certifications from Harvard Law School in Negotiation Training and from the Mediation Training Institute in Organizational Conflict Resolution. Her areas of expertise include: emotional intelligence, leadership transitions and team synergy. Her ability to get to the point and inspire positive change has made her one of the most sought-after coaches and speakers in her field. In fact, Forbes.com cited Cassidy as one of Philadelphia’s top coaches.” She is also the author of The 5 Degree Principle: How Small Changes Lead to Big Results.
People hate their jobs because they make crappy salaries, have inadequate benefits, their bosses are bullies on a power trip, commuting sucks, and they desperately need a vacation. They only stick around because they need to pay their bills. That saying about doing what you love and never working a day in your life must be true. Almost everyone that’s working hates their jobs.
The only reason they stay in jobs they hate is because they need to have a source of income. It’s that simple.
I grew to hate my job after some years. It was stressful and emotionally draining. The pay was great. The perks and benefits were great. I took frequent vacations … But after a while I was desperate to flee.
Ultimately I did flee (after 5 years). I quit my job and moved to Europe. Best decision ever.
Many times we’ve found people don’t actually hate their job, but they have problems with the people they work with. While we can’t control other people’s behavior, we can control our own. I encourage my students not to perpetuate a cycle of negativity. Stop and think of how you should respond rather than reacting on instinct.
I think happiness in the workplace really starts at the top. At Summit Journey Coaching, we encourage the managers and CEOs we work with to make an effort to give out praise when praise is due. This will eliminate one of the biggest problems people have with their jobs- not getting recognition for their work.
If you find yourself hating your job, I think it’s time to stop and think about why. Is it the work? Is it the people? Is it the money? Is it the hours? Before you decide to change jobs, or even careers- you need to stop and ask what you truly want for yourself. Once you figure out what your goals are, you can make a plan for getting there.
Ed Kelly of Summit Journey Coaching
It’s heartburn, really, the number one reason people hate their jobs. Not in the clinical definition of heart burn which is doused by antacids, this is the day in, day out, Monday through Friday, nine-to-five extinguishing of the dream they hold in their hearts of what they truly believe they were meant to do. Far too often, that dream is completely misaligned with the day job. That was my story. Well, that was my problem, I wasn’t really writing my story, and with each day that passed with me not pursuing my dream of being a real writer, was another day of toxic misery.
I was a corporate video producer, writing, directing and producing fancy videos for big companies to be played at huge corporate events. I was working fifty to sixty hours a week, traveling all over the country, meeting impossible deadlines, until death gave me a bitter wake up call. My older brother passed away from cancer. When he was first diagnosed, I wanted to drop everything and take a road trip with him to revisit the places we’d grown up as kids. With me living in the Midwest and him living in the southwest and our childhood haunts being Texas and California, this road trip would be quite the endeavor. He got more sick and I never got away, except to fly in and out of Albuquerque for a few visits over the next eleven months to witness his decline. It was heartbreaking.
After he passed, I vowed to do something for me, for my life, before it was too late. I quit my job, with not even a month’s worth of money in the bank, and I packed my car, grabbed my dog and took off on a road trip across America to reconnect with every person I had ever known and loved in my whole life! It would end up being an eight week, nearly 9,000 mile journey that brought me back to life. I blogged about my backstory and the unfolding story which presented itself on the road each day. From the moment I published my first blog post called, “We’re Going!” I discovered that I was doing something that millions, literally millions of people dream about doing, as evidenced by the flood of comments from all over the country that I got on my blog site. People were saying, “you’re going for me!” ‘I’m riding with you! I’d go in a heartbeat, if I only had the chance!”
What does this tell us when people dream of bagging the day job, taking off, going off the grid? It tells us that they are not feeding their dream of doing something else, something better, more fulfilling, a life’s work which defines them, not degrades them. Herein lies the root of what makes people so toxic in the workplace. They dream of doing work which will raise them up to their greatest self. Sometimes people know what that dream is, sometimes they don’t, they just know there’s got to be something better, but they stay out of fear. They stay so they won’t lose their health insurance. They stay for security, when far too often, there is none. In one merger or downsizing, or “we’re going a different direction,” everything they thought they had could be gone. This fear, and failure to be engaged in work makes us all toxic.
I remember a moment, near the end of my life-changing journey, when my dog and I were watching the sun go down over Castle Valley in Utah. We were at a roadside overlook, sitting atop a giant sandstone boulder. I felt free. I’d detoxed. My heart was as open as the tumbleweeds skirting across the highway. I was broke as a joke, and I had only three more days between me and the harsh reality of coming home to St. Louis, on fumes with no job to come back to, but I had realized a lifelong dream. I had written and published stories that were meaningful to me, eight weeks, 8,600 miles, and dozens of short stories from the road, which would make up my memoir, Off the Leash. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was doing the work I was meant to do, I was rising to my own greatest self. If more people could honor the dream that they possess, there would be much less depression, alcoholism, drug use, domestic violence, suicide, consumerism –in short, it would seem as if a giant toxic shield around the collective workplace had been shattered.
Jean Ellen Whatley, author of Off the Leash – how my dog inspired me to quit my job, pack my car and take a road trip across America to reclaim my life.
According to Spherion’s Emerging Workforce Study, one in four U.S. workers are dissatisfied in their jobs. One of the reasons why a worker may be frustrated is because they don’t see how they can grow and advance: Only 29 percent of workers say they have a clear understanding of the growth opportunities that exist at their current organizations and, similarly, only 28 percent of workers are satisfied with their current growth and earnings potential. Money and benefits may initially attract someone to a job, but other factors such as job growth potential will more than likely keep them there—or make them consider leaving if they are not satisfied with the path and potential for achieving their career goals. Employers need to take note of this and provide opportunities like training and development that will allow their workers to advance and find success and fulfillment in their jobs.
Spherion Division PresidentWhy Do So Many People Hate Their Jobs? by Andrew Ostler