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Benefits of Staying on a Job You Don’t Like

staying on a job you don't like
Key Points
  • If you don’t like your job but it has a 401k plan, this is a good reason to keep the position.
  • Every job (even jobs you don’t like) allow you to develop your professional skillset.
  • When you do decide to leave, don’t burn your bridges.

There are conflicting schools of thought when looking for a job. Some advisors say to take anything that comes along and some say to hold out for your passion project. But what if you’re already in a job you’re not all that sure about?

It’s important to listen to your internal compass. If you’re in a position and there are legitimate problems with the company you work for, it may be time to move on. Verbal abuse, violating the law, interpersonal troubles that cannot be adjudicated – these may signify your time at a company is up. But if this is not the case, there’s some additional wisdom that can benefit you.

Save and Spend According to Budget

There’s nothing wrong with staying at a job even if it doesn’t fulfill every work desire you have. The main reason people stay at a job is because they need the salary. Money may not make the world go ‘round, but it definitely helps to have it. It’s always easier to have money than not have it, and with bills, insurance payments, student loan debts, and various other outlays on our income, working for money is important. Staying on at a company that treats you well and pays decently, where you’re good at your job and basically enjoy going to an office every day is actually an ideal for a lot of people. Stash away some money so you can decide when you’re ready to jump ship – save and spend according to a budget and start putting away a nest egg for when you retire.

If You’re Eligible for a 401k, Make Contributions

A 401k program is another reason you may stay at a company. Even in your first job out of college, if a company has a 401k program the time is right for you to begin your savings for retirement. Starting small is fine, and contributing regularly is essential. Then eventually you can max out your 401k. Because even if you think you’re only going to be at a company for a year, that can change. You might get promoted. You might get married and decide to stay during the run-up to the wedding, during all that planning, since you’re already comfortable in your position. You might decide you like your job more than you thought you did. Or your parents might guilt you into staying somewhere even though you don’t like it, and you should at least get some retirement benefit out of it.

You Develop Skill Sets on the Job

Staying with a company can help you hone your skills – hard and soft skills. You’re an analyst so you’re becoming fluent in the language and actual working of your department. But any job is an excellent opportunity to really flesh out your knowledge of your industry and the culture of the company. If you’re working for a smaller company this may not take long, but can still help you gain valuable skills. Human interactions form the backbone of all companies when you get down to it, and learning how to treat people in a professional environment is super important.

Record Your Accomplishments on the Job

While you’re at your job, don’t forget to keep a running file of what you’ve done. You can keep a simple Word document with a series of dates, by year. This will not only help if you have year-end reviews, but will also help you when you decide that it is time to leave – you’ll have a complete record of what you’ve accomplished during your tenure at that company. Include training you’ve taken, courses you participate in, anything specific you do to help complete and promote specific promotions, etc. In other words this is no time to be shy – it’s a list you should write as if you were your biggest champion. And it’s for your eyes only, so you shouldn’t worry about anyone else seeing it.

Look for Different Opportunities…On the Job

If you’re working at a medium or large company, you may be able to request time to learn about another department. Maybe the company you’re at is a great fit for you, but what’s a mismatch is the position you hold. Maybe you love commercial operations but you’re in sales. What can you do? Ask your HR department if there’s an opportunity to crosstrain. If no other benefit occurs, this will be something else you can include on your resume for when you decide the time is right to jump ship.

If you’re in a large company, there may be employee resources available for you to help smooth over transitions. Various life-affirming groups based on cultural alliances might be a good fit to get away from your desk and make new work friends from different departments. There may be tuition reimbursement you can take advantage of, health insurance to participate in, community or intern outreach to be a part of.

If All Else Fails, Don’t Burn Bridges

And if you’re in the job and nothing could make you stay, at least leave the right way. Give notice and behave professionally. Industries are small and you always want to maintain your professional network.

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