How Long Should You Stay at a Job You Hate?

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There is no set amount of time one should stay at a job. In general, it looks bad to change jobs too often but even frequent job changes can be advantageous in certain circumstances. Many employees stay for years in a job they hate either because they fear change or think job hopping is bad. If you really hate your job, how do you decide when to leave and when to stick it out? A few tips to help you make the decision:

Determine what you hate about your job. Sometimes one or two things can cause you to hate everything about your job. Go through your workday and figure out which characteristics of your job you actually dislike. It may be a certain duty or a colleague that puts you in a bad mood all day, causing you to hate your job although some parts are actually positive. Once you identify the real problem, you can gain some perspective on how bad your job is and start to work on minimizing the negativity.

Stay if problems are temporary or fixable. If the problems you’ve identified can be fixed or overlooked, consider staying if all else is positive. No job will be perfect, so changing jobs will just mean new problems.

Start looking if problems are permanent or long-term. You can’t change an entire corporate culture or your boss’s terrible personality. If the negatives outweigh the positives and you can’t change the bad parts of your job, it’s time to start looking for a better position. It’s best if you can hold out a year or two but that’s not always possible and it won’t look as bad if you’re moving up to a better position.

Leave now if mental or physical health is compromised. There are some cases where you need to leave a job immediately. If a job is making you sick or depressed, it’s best to leave before things get worse. Ideally, you can line up another job – even if it isn’t ideal- before leaving. However, that isn’t always possible and your health should come first. If your stint was short enough, the job can simply be left off your resume. If you left another job for this one or have been at the hated job for longer than a few months, you’ll probably need to put it on your resume in order not to bring about more questions from potential employers. You can simply explain that the job was not a good fit for you without bashing your former boss or workplace.

Job hopping has advantages and disadvantages, so you shouldn’t be afraid to leave a bad job. But it’s also important to give the job a chance before moving on. And you don’t want to make a habit of changing jobs every year.



2 thoughts on “How Long Should You Stay at a Job You Hate?”

  1. If you hate your job then don’t make your stay longer, you’re just prolonging the agony. Move out and find a job that you like so that you will never get stress out. Remember that we work because we want to, not because we want to hate ourselves.

  2. Most people work because they have bills to pay, not because they particularly want to go to work everyday. Part of being an adult is doing things we don’t like. Not every job will be fun or even pleasant. Of course you should look for a better job when stuck in a bad situation but it doesn’t mean leaving immediately unless it’s making you mentally or physically ill.

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