Why Do People Stay in Unhappy Jobs?

Why Do People Stay in Unhappy Jobs?

Posted on 06 October 2023

It should be simple. You’re unhappy in a job, so you either leave or try to find a better solution…right?

This should be the case, however, according to The Independent, 36% of employees remain in their roles despite being unhappy with their work situation.

So, what common factors are stopping people from finding jobs they could actually enjoy?

Financial Reasons 

Leaving a job can seem risky, especially if you have your finances to worry about. If you leave a role without having a new one lined up, there can be a period where you are not receiving an income. Unfortunately, Financial responsibilities, such as mortgages and bills, can make us dependent on our jobs, especially if we have nothing else to fall back on.  

In addition to financial vulnerability, there is also the fear of leaving a good-paying job and being forced to take a lower salary elsewhere. Nevertheless, depending on the company and the roles you are applying to, there can be more than meets the eye when it comes to the salary. You may find that a role also has attractive benefits, a commission structure and bonus schemes available. In the end, you may be able to receive a similar income in an environment that is better suited to you.

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Fear of Moving on

Understandably, searching for a new job can sometimes seem a little daunting, especially if you have been in your current role for a long period. You can get comfortable with what you are used to, and that’s not a problem unless what you are used to negatively impacts your mental health. Unfortunately, we are creatures of habit and breaking out of that cycle doesn’t always come easy. Taking the plunge and stepping outside your comfort zone may seem scary, but in the end, trying something new could be the best choice you ever make. 

Man looking worried whilst on laptop


Whilst work is a place of professionalism, it is also somewhere where you can make friends. You spend most of your time at work, so it’s not surprising that relationships can form! Having little chit-chats with your desk neighbour can make your time at work brighter and give you something to look forward to when you’re having a stressful week. Nevertheless, these relationships can also make it difficult to change jobs, even if you aren’t happy in your role. As a result, you could end up prioritising your relationships over your well-being.

In addition, handing in your resignation can sometimes feel like a breakup, especially if you have a good relationship with your manager. There is always the fear that they will negatively take your resignation or even talk you out of your decision! 

No one likes breakups, and yet, once you leave a situation that wasn’t healthy for you, it will feel like a weight has been lifted off your chest. 

Playing an Important Role in the Company

Some employees may feel like they can’t leave their jobs because they play an integral role within the company. The guilt of leaving and how it will cause a knock-on effect on those around you could be what causes you to stay in a job that isn’t right for you. Nevertheless, the impact on the company is not a responsibility you should be burdened with. You come first, not your job. The company will find a way to continue, even if that’s by hiring a new employee or spreading your work out across the team. If there is a will, there is a way!

Are you feeling unsatisfied in your current job and uncertain about what step to take next?
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