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

  • China stocks fall after rating cut as other Asian markets post gains

    Economic CTV News
    BEIJING - Chinese stocks sank Wednesday after Moody's cut Beijing's government debt rating and other Asian markets rose following Wall Street's advance. KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.6 per cent to 3042.24 points and Hong Kong's Hang Seng shed 0.1 per cent to 25,369.93. Source
  • Moody's cuts China rating over rising debt, slowing growth

    Economic CTV News
    BEIJING - China has criticized a decision by the Moody's rating agency to cut its rating for Chinese government debt and defended Beijing's finances and economic reforms. A finance ministry statement complained Moody's used "inappropriate methods" when it cut Beijing's credit rating and overestimated the scale of its economic difficulties. Source
  • Alberta government introduces bill to cap electricity rates to stop price spikes

    Economic CTV News
    EDMONTON -- Electricity rates in Alberta would be capped under legislation the provincial government introduced Tuesday, a move it says will protect customers from major price spikes. The government says the four-year cap of 6.8 cents per kilowatt hour is expected to be in place by June 1. Source
  • Toronto stock index climbs on banks, industrials

    Economic CBC News
    Canada's main stock index eked out a moderate gain Tuesday as financial stocks got a boost ahead of Canadian bank earnings this week. The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index climbed 18.48 points to 15,476.94, also helped by a rise in industrials and utilities stocks. Source
  • CFO of Soup Nazi-inspired company indicted on tax charges

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- The chief financial officer for a company licensing recipes from the real-life chef who inspired the "Soup Nazi" character on "Seinfeld" has been arrested on tax charges alleging he cheated the government out of a half million dollars. Source
  • Some diesel Dodge Ram pickups and Jeep Grand Cherokees cheat emissions tests, U.S. says

    Economic CBC News
    The U.S. government is suing Fiat Chrysler, alleging that some diesel pickup trucks and Jeep SUVs cheat on emissions tests. The lawsuit filed Tuesday by the Justice Department marks the second time the government has gone after an automaker alleging use of software on diesel engines that allows them to emit more pollution on the road than during Environmental Protection Agency lab testing. Source
  • US Justice Department files Chrysler emissions cheating lawsuit

    Economic Toronto Sun
    DETROIT — The U.S. government is suing Fiat Chrysler, alleging that some diesel pickup trucks and Jeep SUVs cheat on emissions tests. The lawsuit filed Tuesday by the Justice Department marks the second time the government has gone after an automaker alleging use of software on diesel engines that allows them to emit more pollution on the road than during Environmental Protection Agency lab testing. Source
  • OPEC set to prolong oil output cuts by nine months

    Economic CBC News
    OPEC is likely to extend production cuts for another nine months, ministers and delegates said on Tuesday as the oil producer group meets this week to debate how to tackle a global glut of crude. OPEC's top producer, Saudi Arabia, favours extending the output curbs by nine months rather than the initially planned six months, as it seeks to speed up market rebalancing and prevent oil prices from sliding back below $50 per barrel. Source
  • U.S. says Fiat Chrysler used software to beat emissions tests

    Economic CTV News
    DETROIT -- The U.S. government is suing Fiat Chrysler, alleging that some diesel pickup trucks and Jeep SUVs cheat on emissions tests. The lawsuit filed Tuesday by the Justice Department marks the second time the government has gone after an automaker alleging use of software on diesel engines that allows them to emit more pollution on the road than during Environmental Protection Agency lab testing. Source
  • Are 30-somethings earning more than their parents? StatsCan study says yes

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- A new study from Statistics Canada says that Canadian children have, on average, fared better financially than their parents. The research published today finds that of Canadians who turned 30 between 2000 and 2014, between 59 and 67 per cent -- depending on the year -- had a family income that was equal to, or greater than what their parents earned at the same age. Source