“Nothing is work unless you’d rather be doing something else.” – George Halas
A great sentiment, and yet, you can assume that for the great majority of people when it comes to their current job – they would rather be doing something else. That “something else” is talked about but rarely seen, there are a lot of obstacles in the way. One of the biggest obstacles holding them back is their current job. It can be hard to move on from nearly any job no matter how unpleasant. Even though there are 1,000 reasons for people to quit their current job, they can manufacture 1,001 one reasons to stay whether they are logical or not. In fact, these reasons can be downright stupid.
Out of the 1,001 reasons people stay, here are seven stupid reasons people stay at their job.
There are those of us who get into the habit of having goals or plans we want to accomplish “someday.” We have all had someday moments for one reason or another. We will talk about moving on to better things “someday” and yet, that day never seems to come. If you check the calendar, you will see someday isn’t on it. There’s a reason why this happens, and it’s scientifically based.
The brain does many wonderful things but it can also play tricks, as you can see here. Research shows that by simply saying their goals out loud, a person can receive the same neurological reward and satisfaction as actually following through on the act. Therefore, all the talk about someday can take a person further away from that goal. It would be best to take action rather than putting it somewhere in the imagined future.
It is natural to want to talk about goals, it feels good to dream about what is to come but it turns out that does more harm than good. “Someday” syndrome will leave people at the same place on the track and in their life because no matter how much they like talk to dream up and talk about the ways they are going to change in truth, only action will make the difference.
“Oh your hate your job? Well why didn’t you say so? You know there’s a support group for that. It’s called EVERYBODY. They meet at the bar!” – Drew Carey
Mindsets like the one above or this are a part of a cultural group think that can overpower one’s goals or employment ambitions. Think of it as a toned down version of employee Stockholm syndrome where everyone is resigned to the fact that they will dislike their job forever, so they start looking for ways to like it or cope rather than looking for ways out of their situation.
It cannot be fixed and everyone is in the same boat, so what can you possibly do? Those who choose to live by this rule are accepting a universal truth that is neither true nor universal. So they go to the bar or complain to their friends about their employment. This helps at the time, but in actuality, it is misplaced energy. Rather than focus on what can be done to change their position, they choose to let off steam in various ways. It’s natural but impractical. It feels like it is progressing at the time, but before long they may realize it isn’t and their back through the same cycle of dissatisfaction.
Loyalty to a job or a boss or an employer is not a bad thing, quite the opposite. However, the problem with loyalty is that most people will put a lot more stock into their loyalty to a company than their employer will. In this case, loyalty is years at their position and quality of work. Maybe they had to work through some weekends here and there as well.
It is worth reiterating, that the years put in and the sacrifices made are a much bigger deal to the employees than the employers. The thought that maybe if I just put a little more time in, things will change. 10 years into the job and that promotion should be just around the corner because the time has been invested. Fast forward 5 or 10 years and they could still be waiting around.
Thinking this way, their “turn” will never come, because turns don’t exist. No one is owed anything because of their time invested. That time they have invested can become time wasted because of misplaced expectations. Sometimes it is best to cut their losses and leave the table.
Fear can be a powerful motivator, but it can also stop people dead in their tracks. Everyone knows about the concept of fight or flight when faced with fear, but some just play dead instead. They might not even realize it is the fear of change stopping them. A lot of people like knowing what they are going to do on a day to day basis and what is expected of them at work. They get used to the routine and the temporary job turns into an unwanted career.
It is not an easy thing to change jobs, especially if you have a family. With a new job, every aspect of day to day life changes the commute, the office, the people, the role, possibly even the city or country they are living in. These all add up to a number of changes. Where they are now, they know what to do and how to do it, even if they don’t like it. It’s the fear of moving onto something different, even if it may be better.
In reality, these changes are not a big a deal as they seem when taken one at a time. People tend to build things up in their minds more than they should without realizing they can adapt much quicker than they may think. It can be hard for someone to climb the mountain when focussing on the peak instead of the next step that is right in front of them.
Let’s preface this by saying that everyone should be as lucky to like those with whom they work. The rapport between co-workers can be mutually beneficial and make the hard days at the office a lot more tolerable. However, just as disliking some of their co-workers is not a good reason for a person to leave their job, liking their co-workers is not a great reason to stay.
This is especially true if those people are the only reason for staying. It would be similar to someone taking a University class just because all of their friends are doing the same. Yes, they may enjoy themselves at the time but if their priorities are not the same, why worry about what their friends are doing? It is the 21st century; there are many ways to keep in touch. If those co-workers are worth sticking around for, they are worth keeping in touch with after moving on.
Sometimes comfort is not what you think it is. Some people think of comfort as a job that affords them two cars, a few vacations a year with benefits and a 401(k). All those things are great if you can get them, but that is not what is being referred to here.
Comfort for a lot of people, whether they are aware of it or not, is to know a paycheque is coming on the 1st and 15th of every month regardless the job they are working or how much satisfaction they are getting out of it. The steady and reliable income and three weeks’ vacation are enough to keep many people in their current position regardless of how badly they say they want to leave. It is the comfort of knowing a sick day will not cost them a days’ pay.
This is not to degrade these benefits; they are what many people seek, however, the point is to look at the cost of this comfort and how people will put up with all the other problems that come with it because they do not want to be without. It is better to stick with the devil (job, sorry) they know then go out to face the unknown, or risk taking a pay cut or going without a vacation to get into the line of work they truly want.
If the pay is great or at least a large part of the reason to stay at a job, yet the satisfaction is low or non-existent, what the heck is the point?
Prioritization is important and a job with good pay is great but letting those numbers on a paycheque affect one’s happiness and, in turn, one’s quality of life can result in a large imbalance. This imbalance can continue to grow through the form of dissatisfaction and carry over into other parts of one’s life. Sure, the pay is great, but at what price?
It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to keep up with the jones by taking exotic vacations or driving a nice car. Keeping up with peers can be an easy trap to get caught in, and it can cause people to put up with a lot they dislike to maintain all they have, whether or not it’s true what they want.
Realizing you are unhappy or want change isn’t always easy but it can be. Doing something about it can be easy too, but we like to make things hard on ourselves and come up with 1001 reasons why it doesn’t make sense. These reasons pile up and seem insurmountable when looked at as a whole, but when taken one at a time they are rather easy to overcome and take the shape of excuses instead of valid reasons as a whole.
So tell us – What’s holding you back from leaving your job? Are you actively looking? Do you enjoy what you do? In all honesty, if you’ve read this far – It’s pretty clear that you’re not. You read seven stupid reasons with the intent of finding out whether you were falling victim to one of them. It’s time to make a change. It’s time to take action. It’s time to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
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