Why don't you quit? Emotion, practicality can keep people in bad jobs

NEW YORK -- When workers say they hate their jobs or their bosses are abusive, people wonder: Why don't you quit?

See Full Article

It can happen at any company. Staffers may feel that their atmosphere is unpleasant or contentious. But they may not leave, and instead spend years being unhappy.

The reasons for staying include practical considerations like a good paycheque and benefits and experience that will look good on a resume. But often there are emotional reasons that stop employees from mustering the energy to look for a new job.

"If you're depressed and down in general, and you're in a very negative place, it's very hard to launch a job search," says Belinda Plutz, owner of Career Mentors, a consultancy based in New York.

Many people cling to a bad situation out of fear that if they get a new job, it might not work out -- much like the old saying, "better the devil you know than the devil you don't know," Plutz says. But she finds that people who have been laid off in the past often find it easier to make a move, believing they'll again land on their feet.

There may also be deep-seated psychological factors at work when an unhappy worker stays put.

"There's a bad feeling that may not be conscious, but it's there: 'I don't deserve better,"' says Nancy Kulish, a psychoanalyst and author of psychological books who practices in Birmingham, Michigan.

In some cases, employees have had abusive or selfish parents who gave their children the unconscious belief that they must accept whatever poor treatment they receive, Kulish says.

"I'm worthless, and I'm lucky to be here. That's what they're told," Kulish says. The adult worker may not understand this dynamic feeds justifications for not seeking something better.

Parents' attitudes about working may also influence an unhappy employee to stay. Katie McDonald despised her job at a telecommunications company, where the corporate atmosphere limited her autonomy and stifled her creativity. Her parents were very conservative about staying in a job, and she believes that helped discouraged her from leaving.

"I was locked in this ridiculous notion of, I have a 'good' job, and it would be foolish to leave and give up this security," says McDonald, who has small businesses including a corporate writing company based in Toronto.

Sometimes the practical reasons and emotional ones pile up. Three months into her public relations job at a Boston financial services company, Sara DiVello was miserable. Her boss was abusive, insulting and undermined DiVello, keeping her out of important meetings. DiVello felt she couldn't leave; she hoped for a year-end bonus and also didn't want a prospective employer to think she was unreliable for quitting so soon.

"They're afraid you're going to do it to them and they won't hire you," she says.

The atmosphere didn't improve under a different manager.

"I kept thinking, 'I can solve this. I can make it work,"' says DiVello. After three years, she had had enough, realized she needed to feel good about herself and her work, and she quit. She now teaches yoga.

For some people, a bad work environment comes as an unpleasant surprise soon after they're hired, while for others, the bad times start later, with a new boss or reorganization. But some people go to work for companies understanding that while they'll give a big paycheque, they face long hours and a difficult atmosphere, says Roy Cohen, a career counsellor based in New York. He cited hedge funds and law firms as examples.

"In certain industries, there will be abusive behaviour In order to benefit from some of the riches, you've got to put up with it," Cohen says.

The status of working at a high-profile company can also make some people stay even when they feel oppressed. But the cachet can disappear if bosses are uncaring or hostile when a staffer has a family or health problem, Cohen says.

"None of us ever expects something horrible to happen, but it's inevitable it will happen in our lives in some way, and a company doesn't necessarily respect that," he says.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Air Canada software outage halts check-ins

    Economic CBC News
    Air Canada is experiencing software problems that have halted all computerized checking-in at airports across the country. The outage Tuesday emerged at around 11 a.m. ET and made it impossible to check in or board planes via the airline's check-in system at any airports in Canada. Source
  • China's Xi defends global trade at World Economic Forum in Davos

    Economic CBC News
    Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday trumpeted the need for free trade and urged the world to "say no to protectionism," delivering a strong rebuke to isolationist tendencies that helped fuel Donald Trump's presidential election victory. Source
  • CMHC to hike mortgage insurance premiums by an average of $5 a month

    Economic CBC News
    The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will charge borrowers a few dollars more every month to insure their mortgages starting in March. The housing agency made the announcement in a release Tuesday. Starting March 17, CMHC will charge mortgage holders slightly more every month to insure their loans. Source
  • Silk, steam and slogans: Inside a North Korean factory

    Economic CTV News
    PYONGYANG, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of -- As the morning light poured through large windows, women wearing olive-colored overalls, pink aprons and headscarves stood at stations where silkworms were being boiled. Some used their bare hands to pull silk thread from the boilers and winced as the steam rose toward their faces. Source
  • CMHC to raise mortgage insurance premiums for homebuyers as of March 17

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA - Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. is raising the cost of mortgage loan insurance effective March 17. The Crown corporation estimates the increases will add about $5 to a monthly mortgage payment for its average homebuyer. Source
  • Here's why your mortgage payments will rise as of March 17

    Economic CTV News
    Canada's federal housing agency is hiking the cost of mortgage loan insurance for homebuyers starting March 17, as part of new regulatory requirements requiring it to hold more capital to offset risks in the country's red-hot real estate market. Source
  • Rolls Royce agrees to pay $808 million on bribery claims

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON - Jet engine maker Rolls Royce has agreed to pay 671 million pounds ($808 million) to settle bribery and corruption charges brought by authorities in Britain, the U.S. and Brazil. A U.K. High Court judge will examine the deferred prosecution agreement during a public hearing on Tuesday. Source
  • British American Tobacco agrees to take over Reynolds

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- British American Tobacco Plc has agreed to fully take over Reynolds American Inc. in a deal that will create the world's largest publicly traded tobacco company. The $49 billion takeover was agreed on improved terms compared with an initial bid made last year. Source
  • Malaysia Air on rebound as missing flight search called off

    Economic CTV News
    HONG KONG -- Nearly three years after twin disasters took it to the brink of financial collapse, Malaysia Airlines' new CEO says the airline's recovery is going better than expected. The search for the airline's Flight 370 that went missing in March 2014 with 239 people on board was suspended Tuesday. Source
  • Top-down solutions from Davos elite out of step with populist anger: Don Pittis

    Economic CBC News
    In the Swiss resort town of Davos amid the glare of media attention, movie stars, billionaires and politicians have gathered once again to tell us what we are doing wrong and how to start doing things right. Source