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Have you ever been in a job that you didn’t enjoy-one where you disliked the actual work? I’m talking about a job where your coworkers were fine, your leadership as well, great pay etc, but you just didn’t thrive on the actual tasks? If so, you are not alone, it is not uncommon for folks to train for or land in a type of job that they just don’t enjoy. Sometimes the actual tasks of a job do not live up to the expectations made while training or preparing for that job. As work will occupy much of your waking hours, not enjoying your job can be an enduring and punishing experience.

Job seeking can be hard, and the safety of a paycheck can trap individuals in those types of jobs that they do not thrive in. Instead of taking risks and seeking job opportunities where they will thrive, many folks never venture out and end up trading their happiness for the paycheck from a job they dislike. If you are in this position, it is important to understand that staying in that type of job can ultimately sabotage your future in a variety of ways:

Five Reasons Why Staying in a Job You hate Sabotages Your Future

Builds the Wrong Resume – Staying in the wrong job first, and most damagingly, builds the wrong resume. Instead of building a repertoire of job experiences which will enable you to continue to work and advance in a career field you love, your job instead builds a repertoire of job experiences that keep you in the field you do not enjoy. Every day that goes by is a day lost that you could have built a career in an area you love.

Reduced Earnings – When you are in a job or field you do not enjoy, your performance will often be lower over time. It’s an emotionally uphill battle to do the things necessary for pay raises or promotion. Taking initiative, staying late, taking on additional projects, getting advanced training-all those things that weigh into pay raises and promotions-are simply harder to self-motivate to do when you don’t like your job. Who wants to stay late doing what they don’t enjoy? Who wants to take on more projects they dislike? The end result is that, on average, folks who do not like their job end up with fewer promotions and pay raises because they don’t do the things that merit them.

Higher ‘Pink Slip’ Risk – It should go without saying that those who underperform in their employment are at a higher risk of losing that employment. It is not uncommon for folks to underperform in jobs they do not enjoy. Folks who dislike their job may experience absenteeism through long lunches, late arrivals or early outs. They can also cut corners or simply do less, all resulting in underperformance. When underperformance becomes chronic, poorly aligned employees become subject to higher risks of losing their employment by either being fired, or being the first to be let go in the case of organizational budget cuts or restructures.

Limits Retooling Opportunity – Staying in a job you do not enjoy reduces your opportunity to retool. While it is possible to get back into school part time, opportunities to take a full-time school load becomes harder. This means that retraining to exit your current career so you can enter one you enjoy takes longer, resulting in opportunity loss.

Makes you Less happy – Most importantly, if you are in a job you dislike, you will experience less joy and happiness. Spending all day working on tasks that make you wilt rather than thrive is emotionally punishing. The second order effect is that someone who is spending 8-10 hours a day suffering at work will be less likely to interact with their family, friends or associate in positive ways.

If you are in the situation described above, take steps to exit your current job as soon as you can. Take a career placement test; find out what types of jobs you are likely to enjoy more. If retraining is necessary, do what you can to complete it as fast as is feasible. If not training is necessary, do some solid research to find those jobs you are qualified for that you are more likely to enjoy. Ultimately, exiting one career or job to enter into another will require some risk but it is an important risk to take. Go find a job you and enjoy and watch yourself soar and thrive!

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​​Michael Farr, PMP, is a Chief Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and founder of He is passionate about recognition and enabling professionals to motivate their organizations through recognizing their member’s excellence. When he is not slaying dragons with his kids, he can be found at @fosterxcellence on Twitter and @fosteringexcellence on Facebook.