What is the true cost of being stuck in a job you hate?

Scary, isn’t it?

I don’t need to tell you what goes through your mind when you get stuck in a job you don’t like. But I can share a weird phenomenon. Everyone in the same situation thinking about what would happen if they quit their job worries about the cost of changing their career. I get it. We all have bills to pay, we need to keep a secure roof over our heads. But what I am about to reveal is phenomenal.

The true cost of staying in a job you hate.

Let’s start by remembering a fundamental value. We have the freedom to choose. Never has choice been so easy. Just think about the last time you decided to buy a mobile phone, or pick a broadband provider, or book a holiday. Choice is part of our everyday life. We make life decisions on a daily basis choosing what to wear, what to eat, what to watch on TV – and yes, where to work.

But do you genuinely believe that it is truly worth choosing to stay in a job you hate just because of pay and convenience? Even though the impact of dragging yourself through each working day is literally killing you.

Here’s why.

The cost of having major negative impact on your health.


The negative impact of stress is well-documented. We are fully aware that reducing stress is essential for good physical, emotional and mental well-being. Yet nothing impedes that more than you choosing to spend over a third of your life dragging yourself to a work environment you despise. Being in a job you hate causes dangerous levels of stress – chances are, you know this already by the physical symptoms you already experience as a result.

Physical Illness

You may already be feeling rundown and drained. One of the effects of prolonged stress is a compromised immune system; this makes you more susceptible to common illness, as well as increasing your chances of more serious illnesses such as heart disease. It is exasperated further through any weight-gain – the result of stress eating or the lack of energy to exercise if you are drained by your job – commonly associated with workplace misery.

Sleep Deprivation

It is a known fact that getting a good night’s sleep increases brain function, better physical health, and improved creativity and productivity. But these vital benefits are lost if your job is disrupting your sleep. Aside from the longer-term risk of a serious health issue, sleep deprivation can impair short-term memory, motivation, vision, judgement, and reaction time. And driving whilst tired carries obvious risks!

Are you losing sleep because of having nightmares about work? Do you have trouble falling asleep at night due to the stress that fills your life working in that job? Is the dreaded countdown of time left until you must drag yourself to work keeping you awake in the early hours?

Is your miserable job still worth the cost or shall we keep counting?

Because this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Mental Health

If your physical health is not incentive enough, how about the cost to your mental health. This will certainly suffer since stress at work leads to depression and anxiety. Did you know that studies have even suggested that being out of work has less impact on your mental health that being in a bad job?

Still unconvinced? A team of researchers from Harvard Business School and Stanford University used data from the General Social Survey and the American Community Survey to measure harmful workplace conditions’ influence on disparities in life expectancy. The study found that stressful workplaces did make it more likely for workers to die earlier.

The ongoing significant stress caused by being in a job that makes you inherently miserable doesn’t just damage the quality of your life, it shortens your lifespan!

The cost to your low motivation, passion, confidence, and self-worth.

The term “quiet quitting’ is becoming more prevalent these days. It stands to reason if you are unhappy at work, you’ll likely be doing the bare minimum to avoid being fired. But at what cost? If you loved a fulfilling job, you would be engaged and work harder even without incentives to do so. Longer term, this adds up to a lot of experience that you are missing out on. This means losing out on future pay-rises and promotions by being stuck in a job that you are not motivated or passionate about.

Being unfulfilled and not achieving the sense of reaching your true potential can lead to a decline in confidence and self-worth. You spend most of your waking hours doing things you don’t want to do in a place you don’t want to be. Is it any surprise that it will take a toll on the way you perceive yourself? If you cannot utilise your strengths and abilities, your confidence in your professional capability will diminish. Is this a cost you are happy to pay to stay in a workplace that loses a part of who you are?

When you stay in a job that makes you miserable, the true cost is your life, your relationships, and your dreams.

You have reached the end of another unfulfilled day and sink down into the sofa feeling guilty that you just don’t feel like laughing with your family or going out with friends: you feel so lost and broken. It is not what you intended life to be – your dreams slip away like quicksand. The heavy burden of work is bringing you down and negativity seeps into your home. How can your loved ones not be affected? They love you – they can see how much you are suffering. That alone is bringing them down, too. No matter how much you care and try to protect loved ones, relationships do suffer.

This is the cost of staying in a toxic job – it drips into every part of your life and taints everything it touches – including your sex life! Leaving work at the door when you come home is not possible when you are this unhappy because we are not robots.

At what cost will you choose to decide enough is enough?

It wasn’t always like this.

Do you recall the days when you imagined that dream job? There was a time when you had hope of a bright future. Imagine waking up without that feeling of dread. Instead of hitting snooze, you get up excited about the work you love and start your day with a sense of purpose because what you do matters!

But instead, you keep rolling into a workplace you hate and by doing so, guaranteeing that you’ll never see your dreams become a reality. Something you detest is preventing you from finding a new job that you’ll love – something absolutely possible to achieve once you make the commitment to make it happen.

Are you really okay to let it cost you your dreams?

Maybe it’s time to really evaluate the true cost of staying stuck in a job you don’t like. Take a step back to truly appreciate how much these things affect your entire life. Does it seem worth it to stay? You know you are worth so much more.

And if you don’t leave for you, leave for the people who love you. Because they deserve to hang out with their loved one—not a shell of the person they know you to be.

Ready to stop paying these unreasonable, intolerable costs?

Isn’t it time you started investing in a future job that will bring fulfillment and joy to your life (and those around you)?

Please reach out here and get unstuck in one simple step.

It’s as simple as RIP – and the choice of how you do it is up to you!


Related posts

How to avoid answering the question you hate being asked (without becoming a social recluse). [06.09.22]

Quit your job. Go on. Do it. 07.09.22]

3 things you can do immediately to avoid hating your job. [12.09.22]


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I first worked with Will whilst I was a junior member of a teaching team. I worked closely with him for around three years and he became a true mentor to me. During this time Will helped encourage me to discover my own leadership style and he mapped out what it takes to be successful. I highly recommend Will for life and career coaching.

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