Ever wondered why it’s so difficult to actually get down to handing in that resignation letter despite hating your job so much?
Or have you met colleagues who complain to you repeatedly about how much they hate theirs jobs and that they are going to quit but never got around to doing it?
So why don’t people just quit their jobs pronto since they hate it so much? Why stay?
Here are five surprising but real reasons that show us how it really isn’t that easy to quit jobs we hate. And sometimes, it’s not all about the money. But the good news is that we can also overcome them and move on for the better.
The Uncomfortable Comfort Zone
Fact is no matter how much we hate our jobs, we are actually still in our comfort zone. Yes, this sounds like a contradiction, but if you think about it, it’s actually more of an oxymoron.
There are actually two things going on. First, we probably didn’t start out hating the job. Some things must have changed along the way to have developed that unhappiness and dissatisfaction. Yet at the same time, as we spent time initially easing into the current job, we actually grew comfortable and became attached to it, like it or not.
Somewhere during the time spent with the company, things began changing and this comfort zone started to feel uncomfortable. Even though the level of discomfort is growing, we are so accustomed to the workspace, the routine, our colleagues etc, hence it still remains as our comfort zone.
How do you then, decide one fine day that enough is enough? You need to stop being in such a conflicted position and decide for yourself. Do you want to stay or go?
Nothing beats putting your foot down and weighing out the pros and cons. Do it the old school way. Take out a piece of paper and write down in two columns the reasons that you should stay – your comfort zone – and the reasons that you should leave – the discomfort. Give yourself a deadline. Make sure that you continue working on this list within that set time period until you have a clear answer.
What if you can’t decide? This leads us to the next reason.
You have probably weighed out the pros and cons and still feel like you can’t decide. You are now stuck in a situation where you hate your job so much but you feel like you can’t move for various reasons.
Simply because it’s just easier to keep things just the way they are. Not only does it take time for you look for a new job, it also takes effort, discipline and commitment. After all, it can’t be guaranteed that you find a new job that you like immediately.
With a new job, you have to repeat the entire process of settling into a new routine, new work scope, a new workspace, establish new working relationships and make new friends.
Or you hate your job but you love your colleagues and you are reluctant to leave these friends you have made over the years. Perhaps the work scope is what you utterly abhor now but the remuneration and perks are sustaining your current level of lifestyle, and you fear that leaving would mean compromising what you have.
Whatever it is, these are factors and there may be many others that may be also contributing to your inertia to leave the current job that you hate.
Once again, making clear the factors that are causing you to maintain status quo and add them to the list would have you have a clearer idea of what you actually want. When you reach the tipping point where the reasons to leave outweigh those to stay, you have overcome the inertia.
Apart from these factors above, sometimes there can be irrational and intangible reasons like the next one.
Fear of the Unknown
Often enough, there are deep-seated fears and usually that is the fear of the unknown. It’s definitely not something that we can easily dismiss and yet quantify.
Not all of us are spontaneous and high-risk takers who can quit our jobs instantly. Like it or not, many of us have commitments and considerations. We need to weigh out pros and cons, mull over our decision over and over again but still feel uncertain.
We are afraid that if we leave this job, will we be in fact getting ourselves into a worse situation than the current one? Will the next job be worse? Will you fit into the new work environment? Will you hate the new job more? Will anyone even want to employ you? What if your new boss hates you?
All these fears sound like that make sense, but they are not guaranteed. To begin with, they are what your mind have conjured based on your current circumstance. These amount to the fear of the unknown.
Instead of allowing these fears to paralyze you, debunk them! Think about the flipside. What if the new job will be way better? What if your new colleagues will hit it off with you and you will make new and lasting friends? What if you will love your new job way more than this one? What if there are many potential employers who want to employ you but you are not putting yourself out there? What if you new boss adores you?
This is when taking a leap of faith kicks in.
As much as most would choose to deny it or suppress it, most employees feel that they are just not good enough. They have thoughts such as, ‘Why would the new company employ me over someone more experienced, or better-looking, younger and enthusiastic, single and able to devote all their time to work’, so on and so forth?
Like it or not, we all have self-doubt but it doesn’t always mean that we are never good enough for a career change or a job switch! Meaning to say, we need to stop blaming ourselves when our current job isn’t working out for us. Sometimes it could be a poor job fit or simply put, external factors that are not within our control.
So how do we deal with feeling inferior and doubting ourselves?
It’s not only important to know that you deserve a job you love and look forward to but also to actively work on it. How do you work on it? Instead of focusing on the negative feelings of self-doubt and not feeling good enough, purposefully choose to focus on the reasons why you are worthy of a better job!
It’s best to write it down or jot the reasons down somewhere you can read every night before you sleep and/or before you leave for work. This positive affirmation and reinforcement acts as a confidence booster and refocusing of your self-motivation to find a job that you want. When your mind is occupied with happier and purposeful thoughts, you strengthen your sense of self-worth and confidence.
The Incomplete Life Purpose
As you are working on that list, it’s time for you to know your ‘WHYs’.
Most employees are in a job, working around the clock, completing task after task yet feeling empty and aimless.
The lack of direction is another reason that plagues many people. Some don’t know what their life purpose is, some don’t even know what their ideal or dream job is. One huge problem about not having an objective, goal or purpose in your career or life is that you will constantly feel as though you are drifting aimlessly and simply clocking work hours.
But it is crucial for you to purposefully set time aside to figure out what you would like to do as a living for your life. You might have heard the saying that if you love what you do, it won’t feel like a job.
So take baby steps. First, consciously set time aside every night, it can be a good half an hour or even fifteen minutes to map out your interests, passions and dreams. We always begin with a starting point. It could even be as simple as taking up that ad hoc graphic design course you thought about, going for drumming classes, taking up muay thai, photography, yoga, whatever it is, go do something different.
When your mind breaks away from the monotony of the usual routine, you will begin to have new ideas, refreshed perspectives and begin to develop a clearer idea of where you want your career to steer towards.
It’s key to understand that not everyone begins their working life with a clear direction of where they want to head. For most, it’s like a journey of experimentation and exploration, finding out what they enjoy, love and are good at. This is one journey that only you can purposely embark on, with the mindset to understand yourself better and eventually your sense of purpose will begin to take shape.
But you have to take the first step, with any of the above five reasons if you want to overcome them. You need to remember that not doing anything about hating your job and not quitting it will only cause you to become more disgruntled, unhappy and unmotivated which affects not only your well-being but gradually the people around you.
Begin with that list and trust yourself that you would find another job that you love. We would rather have gone all out and tried than to be one of those people who kept wondering what if I did. You can do it.