Feeling stuck in a job you hate can be depressing. It drains your energy, purpose, and happiness. Everyone says, “just quit.” That’s easy to say, but what if you can’t afford to quit? In this post I’ll help you work your way out of that trap.
I Hate My Job But Can’t Afford to Quit
We’d love to take that advice, to casually stroll over the boss, smile and hand them the coveted resignation letter. Or even better, march triumphantly out of the office with both hands raised extending the one-finger salute!
But What if your family likes eating food and living with a roof over their heads?
Being stuck in that situation can feel hopeless, like there’s no way out, but it is really a matter of two variables. You already want to leave bad enough, you just need a plan, some work and a little hope.
The 2 Reasons You Can’t Afford to Quit the Job You Hate
“I can’t afford to quit” really means two things.
- My income is too low
- My expenses are too high.
If you had unlimited income, you wouldn’t need the job.
If you had no expenses, you wouldn’t need the job.
In a rush? Skip to the summary at the bottom.
There is also a video at the end! 12 Best Side Hustle Ideas for 2019 [That Pay Well].
We Call it “Trapped” for Great Reasons
Traps are Meant to be Inescapable
We use the phrase trapped in my job because it feels like there is no way to escape it. The first thing we have to do is realize there is a way out. Let’s get a better view of the situation so that we can see that precious light that illuminates the way out.
I’ve felt trapped before. I know what it’s like, how hard it is to believe that there is a way out. You’ve got to get control back. A great start will be to sign up for my 7 Days to Crushing Job Misery email course. Do the exercises! It will just take a few minutes each day. A few minutes is all it takes to start seeing the light again.
In fact, in my case, I figured out my job was better than I thought. I was simply being too negative.
All Jobs are Temporary
I know it feels like you’ll be stuck there forever, but all jobs are temporary. One way or another, you’ll leave that job. Start working now to make sure that you leave on your terms.
Your Body is Permanent
There are two sides to this coin. The other side is that your body is permanent. It’s the only one you’ve got. Don’t waste it on a job you hate. Start working now on how to get out.
You’re going to need your one body later. You’ll need it for your next job, your next career and for your retirement. Don’t sacrifice it for this job. Think about your future self. Think about your family.
Start working your way out!
These actions I recommend to get unstuck from this current job probably won’t get you out by tomorrow morning. They will gradually get you in the right frame of mind to get out. They’ll benefit you in your next job and contribute to your happiness.
If you’re not ready for the 7 Days to Crushing Job Misery yet, please at least check out these posts. I know how horrible feeling stuck is, and I want you to be able to crush that feeling.
If nothing else, just enjoy a few laughs from these work memes and jokes.
The first thing we need to do before getting into the tips is to
Focus How You Can Instead of Why You Can’t
I used to try to help people who weren’t looking for help. They complained every day about hating their jobs. I knew all their reasons to hate their jobs. I heard them frequently.
Seek and Ye Shall Find…
Reasons Why You Can’t Afford to Quit
Every suggestion I made for a way out, or at least something to try to break out of the rut, was met with reasons why they couldn’t do it. No matter how simple my suggestion, how small the step was, it was met with a “Well I can’t do that because…”
That was my fault. I was giving unwanted advice to people who didn’t really want to leave their positions. They just wanted to vent. If you’ve sought out this article though, then you’re ready for help.
If you decide to look for reasons why you can’t afford to quit, you will absolutely find them.
Just because the barriers are real doesn’t mean they can’t be torn down. The ways to break through barriers are just as real.
How You Can Leave
Like Tony Robbins said, “having a powerful enough why will provide you with the necessary how.”
Why is that different with jobs?
You’ve got a pretty powerful why you hate your job. Start looking for the How to leave it.
Focus on a Pursuit Instead of an Escape
Focus on something that you want to pursue instead of something you want to escape.
Instead of focusing on how the trap holds you, focus on the myriads of opportunities available to pursue that could give you purpose.
I knew personally the colleagues I tried to help, so my suggestions for them were specific to what I knew they enjoyed and were good at. What I offer here in the written word has to be more generic. That doesn’t matter, though. Neither the ideas’ specificity nor the ideas themselves matter. What matters most is whether you decide to focus on how can or why you can’t.
Focusing on a pursuit will put you in more of an abundance mindset as well.
That feeling of being trapped in your job also has you also trapped in a scarcity mindset. A pursuit will open up possibilities. Realizing abundance makes you happier.
Realize the Worst Will Probably Never Happen
Your family is probably not going to end up homeless and starving if you lose your job. You might lose your house and cars. You might have to downsize significantly or move in with your gloating brother-in-law. You might have to swallow a little pride and be a lot uncomfortable.
You won’t starve, though, and I’d be willing to bet that gloating brother-in-law would secretly be jealous of your freedom. You won’t be forced to roam the streets with a scarlet letter B on your chest.
B is for Bankrupt
A limited study suggests that those who are chronically homeless are so because of detachment from social networks. More on that on Quora. So you might want to start spending some quality time with some loved ones. That quality time with friends and loved ones will itself contribute to the happiness that currently seems so out of reach.
And what’s the difference between the misery of having to live with a relative or friend for a little while so you can restart and the misery of the daily grind in the soul-stealing job you hate?
Pride is the difference. Pride may be what keeps you in misery and delays your and your family’s hope for having a better life.
Don’t be Miserable and Proud.
Realize the Best Will Probably Never Happen
What Are You Waiting For?
- Do you have a rich relative who can help you?
- Are you waiting for that inheritance?
- Are you waiting for the next politician to get elected and swing things in your favor?
- Are you waiting for your company to change things back to the way they used to be?
Stop waiting for whatever it is you think might happen.
My Expenses Are Too High
My wife and I took a look at our expenses.
Of all those things you have to pay for:
- How many do you really need or even want?
- How many of those things that you want do you want more than having a job you love?
- How many of those things that you think you need do you need more than good health and quality time with loved ones?
Think hard about this.
- Would not having several of those things make you more miserable than your job does?
- Would being happy in and enjoying your job be better than some of the stuff you’re paying for now?
- Would taking a step back in income and perhaps prestige be temporary?
- If you poured as much time and energy into something you love–into something you believe in–isn’t it possible or even likely you would eventually rise up to a position far ahead of where you are now? In addition to being happy.
Why do we always assume that a change would be worse? Would a smaller house in a less influential neighborhood and a car that isn’t better than your friends’ and neighbors’ cars make you less happy than you are in your current job?
I am by no means suggesting you pull your kids out of their schools and move them away from their friends into a smaller place just to escape your current position.
Let’s Go On a Permanent Camping Trip
I’m only suggesting you think about these things. Think about what you really want.
Can you imagine having to live in structure with no heating or cooling, with no electricity or even a kitchen?
It sounds a little like poverty.
But it also sounds like camping!
Look for some places where you can cut back on spending.
It may not be as uncomfortable as you think. You may not suffer so much.
It might even be a bit of an adventure.
Nothing (Not Even Camping) is Permanent, Except Change
And why do we think it would be permanent? Life is impermanence. The discomfort of down-sizing will not be permanent. It might be fun, and working in a situation where you enjoy investing the time and energy might eventually return better than what you have now.
The other problem is that you don’t have enough income.
Finding a few expenses to cut is just like getting a raise. If it’s still not enough, then start paying down debts. If you can’t sell the car, then start paying it off. It’s not instant freedom, but at least you’re making progress. At least you have a goal a plan and progress.
At least you’re taking back control.
Speaking of permanence, this is something very important to consider:
You could have many more jobs, many more careers.
You only get one body. This is the last one you’ll get it.
Which deserves the most care and attention?
My Income is Too Low
Another reason you feel like you can’t quit the job you hate is that you can’t make as much in a new job as you do in your current job.
That is why it’s not a good idea to rely on one source of income. Get income from multiple sources. Diversify your income just as you would your investments.
Just like you can’t quit your job because it’s your only source of income, if you lost it by any other means you would also lose your only source of income.
Start a side hustle or business. Drive for Uber or Lyft. Get a part-time job. You have to have some skill somebody out there needs. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have a job.
If a reason you hate your job is that overtime already consumes your life, this part may be difficult. In that case, look to the expenses side.
Here is an informative video from Bob Lotich of seedtime.com.
You’ve got to break out of that rut, though. You’ve got to do something. What you keep telling yourself if correct: That’s no way to live.
Don’t Wait to Be Rescued
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)
Focus on How you Can instead of Why You Can’t
Realize the Best will probably never happen.
Realize the Worst will probably never happen.
Don’t be Miserable and Proud.
Lower your expenses
Increase your income