Should I quit my job if I despise it?

“GO AHEAD AND QUIT YOUR JOB” is the title of a recent article in the New York Post. The paper cites a survey that found quitting an unsatisfactory job while you’re young could help you avoid psychological problems when you’re older.

More specifically, the Ohio State University study says that if you’re unhappy with your career while you’re in your twenties and thirties, you could experience mental health problems by the time you hit forty.

Although I advise my job finding clients not to throw in the towel without having another job lined up, the University’s study about the negative effects of holding on to a wretched job makes some good points.

Ohio State researchers questioned more than six-thousand Americans and divided them into four groups:

  1. Those who always experienced high satisfaction in their jobs.
  2. Those who were happy at first but then went downhill emotionally as years passed.
  3. Those in their twenties and thirties who were unsatisfied at work but became satisfied as time went on.
  4. Those who were dissatisfied when they started their careers and continued being in the doldrums throughout their careers.

The study’s author, Jonathan Dirlam, told the paper that participants in the lowest group were worst off than any other group. That’s because they reported feeling depressed and anxious and couldn’t sleep at night. This group was more likely to have been diagnosed with a mental illness by the time they hit forty.

Those in the third group reported less mental illness. Dirlam interprets this to mean if you have a miserable job while in your twenties it doesn’t mean you will become depressed by middle age. Folks in the first two groups were mentally healthier than those in groups three and four. “Early instances of low job satisfaction can be overcome,” Dirlan told a reporter.

So if you’re working at a job that sucks while in your twenties or thirties, don’t despair. Participants in the survey who consistently moved towards a goal were able to overcome their malaise and reported less mental health problems than folks in the low groups.

Quitting a job the right way

It’s true, there are times when you should just up and quit a rotten job. As former U.S. President Harry Truman said, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” However, I advise clients to quit their job, yes, but only after they’ve secured a new and better position.

It’s much easier to get hired while you’re working. Because many employers are biast against the unemployed, they prefer to hire candidates who have jobs.

By now you might be asking yourself, “how can I find a job while still employed?” It can be done if  you’re realistic. Because your job takes priority over everything else, there’s little time left over to search. Besides, if post your resume all over the place, there’s a chance you boss might find out and throw you out before you’re ready to walk out.

How to conduct a job hunt while you’re employed

You can do a nifty job hunt while working fulltime simply by networking. Reach out to your personal contacts. Tell them that you’d like to make another move when the time is right, briefly explain what you do, then ask if they know anyone with whom you should be talking to.

Before you begin to network, however, take a personal inventory of yourself to determine why you’re unhappy on the job. Chances are you’re not using most of your God-given skills and abilities. Unless you’re using at least five of your favorite skills on the job, you’ll begin to go downhill emotionally as you become increasingly dissatisfied with your work.

So take these three steps: Determine what your favorite skills are. Go figure where and how you’d like to apply them. And network your way to a happier and brighter future.

Tell us how you feel about quitting a job by entering a comment in the box below.

RANDY PLACE is the author of Your One-Minute Job Finding Coacha must read for job hunters and careerists because of the many 60-second tips you’ll receive for all aspects of your job search and career. ORDER now from Amazon.

Copyright ©2016 by Ransom (Randy) Place


About the Author

RANDY PLACE IS A JOB-FINDING and executive coach, writer on career topics, broadcaster, and host of For twenty-three years, he helped thousands of employees who had been let go from JPMorgan Chase find jobs. And he coached executives at CBS Television, Pitney Bowes, and major outplacement firms in New York on job-finding techniques, communications skills, and selling strategies. An accomplished seminar leader and speaker, Randy has designed and presented workshops on interviewing, telephoning techniques, job-search writing, and sales training nationwide. Randy's groundbreaking nationally syndicated radio series, Your Career Service, has been heard on over two hundred radio stations across the United States. And his articles on career topics have appeared in the Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly. A former broadcast journalist in New York, he has also been a commercial spokesperson for an array of national and regional advertisers. In addition, Randy was a sales executive at NBC Radio and the New York City sales manager for syndication at Wolper Productions. He holds a Bachelor's in Sociology and Broadcasting from Syracuse University, and a Master's in Journalism from New York University.

3 Comments on "Should I quit my job if I despise it?"

  1. Hey there! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give
    you a shout out from Houston Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the fantastic work!

  2. Hi Ransom, your support and advice when I was made redundant from Chase in 2008 has been with me since and continues to guide me. I am excited about a change, well because my current job is all about change.

    I hope to learn more and please include me in your email list.

    How are you doing?

    Talk soon.


    • Joe, great hearing from you. I remember our time together so well. It was a pleasure working with you then and I hope you, your wife, and child (on both sides) are all doing well. May I post your wonderful and much appreciated comment? Call anytime. I’d like to hear more about your current job of change.


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