9 sad reasons people stay in jobs they don’t like (even though they always talk about leaving)

I never understood why people complained about their jobs, and yet didn’t take any action toward changing the situation for themselves.

They go on and on about how they are mistreated, or undervalued, or underpaid, or bored, or “burned out,” or don’t like the people they work with, and yet day after day continue to show up, continue to endure, and continue to collect their steady paycheck.

The truth is, that’s the reason most people stay — the paycheck. They would rather suffer for something guaranteed than take ownership of their future.


1. Because risk terrifies them

It’s a risk to go somewhere else — “What if it’s even worse?” It’s a risk to try something new. It’s a risk to leave wherever you are and go somewhere else.

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2. Because learning something new is hard

It’s so sad and yet so true.

Most people don’t leave their jobs simply because the thought of having to learn a new process, a new skill set, a new anything is terrifying and exhausting to them.

What a sad way to live.

3. Because they love “the golden handcuffs”

One of the greatest double-edged swords of high paying corporate America is what’s called “living with golden handcuffs.”

Your salary is so good, your benefits are so good, your retirement plan is so good, everything is so good that you’re willing to sit in a cubicle hating your life for 8 hours a day simply because, on paper, you’re “living the life.”

4. Because they secretly love to complain

Another sad truth, but some people love to be miserable.

They find enjoyment in showing up to work and uttering the phrase, “I hate Mondays.” They have learned to love their misery — and as much as they talk about leaving, they never will.

5. Because it would disappoint their parents

Some of the most talented people end up working jobs they despise simply because they don’t want to disappoint their parents. Or their family. Or their friends. Or anyone else.

So who are you living for, then? Them?

6. Because they’ve overextended themselves

It’s amazing how much people prioritize having “things” before they have established the lifestyle they want.

They get a job they don’t love, but pays pretty well, and before they know it they’ve got an expensive car payment, high rent, and an expensive lifestyle from which they can’t escape. They want to do something else, but by now they’ve accumulated too much overhead.

And a shift in lifestyle is unthinkable to them.

7. Because they like their “title”

These people stay with their undesirable job simply because of the title they have.

They would rather be the Vice President of Boring than be seen as someone who is “trying to make their dreams happen.” Because that road is harder, and isn’t about titles at all — and for a lot of people, that’s too much for their ego to bear.

8. Because they have responsibilities now

They have a wife, three kids, a mortgage, college funds to save for, etc.

By now in their career, they can’t make the move to something else. They’ve crossed the threshold and have decided, “You know what, this is where I am, and that’s that.”

They’re comfortable, and so they stay.

9. Because they fear being wrong

Or worse, they fear rejection.

They care a lot about what people think of them, and the thought of trying to do something unconventional or different they enjoy, and failing, is what keeps them from ever trying in the first place.

This article originally appeared on Inc. Magazine.

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