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give_seek's avatar

What's worse: being unemployed or working at a job in which you are miserable to the point of illness?

Asked by give_seek (1283points) May 11th, 2011

I was just wondering if (because of the economy) it’s better to be employed . . . even if you’re employed at a job in which you are miserable . . . than it is to not have any income and be looking for a job.

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27 Answers

asmonet's avatar

Depends on the situation honestly. Do you have any money to live on while you look for work? Does anyone depend on you like an aging parent, or children? Are you getting an ulcer or are you so stressed out you’re headed for a heart attack? Sometimes, it’s all in the situation.

I’d rather be unemployed if my life could bear it.

Blackberry's avatar

I think society generally frowns upon people that receive unemployment. I think I’d rather just do the job.

FutureMemory's avatar

Depends if your bills can be paid while you’re looking for a new job.

When I unexpectedly lost a job some years ago, rather than feel upset about being suddenly unemployed I was actually ecstatic – I had no idea how miserable the job was making me. I walked on air for the entire rest of that day :)

asmonet's avatar

@Blackberry: being unemployed and being on unemployment benefits are different things. He only mentioned being unemployed.

Blackberry's avatar

@asmonet Oh yes, you’re correct, I meant just unemployed.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

The third (and better) option here is to start seeking another job now and switch once you find it. Even if you have to take a pay cut, at least your health would get better.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Ooh, tough question. In hard times then I’ve never been much more than thankful to be able to make ends meet. I’m not the sort to choose unemployment because that job getting me buy wasn’t my ideal.

Things change constantly but getting a handle on the job market reality, especially jobs-in-demand reality is paramount. Very few people are going to millionaire video game designers, writers or bloggers.

Examples: I’m a fine-jewelry designer with a decade of experience owning my own studio but there’s no demand enough to support me immediately. I also hold a real estate license but again, there’s not enough demand to support me at this time.

TexasDude's avatar

I’d rather do the job, personally. I believe that being miserable is a mental state that can be overcome, whereas unemployment has effects that are much more difficult to handle.

SuperMouse's avatar

Wouldn’t being miserable to the point illness eventually lead to unemployment anyway. I go with @BBSDTfamily‘s plan C.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

I’d rather be miserable than broke and homeless. If I had to work in order to pay my bills but I hated my job that much, I’d keep continue to work there while job hunting for something better.

marinelife's avatar

Working at a job that you are miserable at to the point of illness is much, much worse.

wundayatta's avatar

I was working at a miserable job, and was grateful to be laid off. I could finally find a good job. My wife was working, so it was ok. Now my wife is about to “retire.” She would rather have been laid off because she would have gotten a severance package. But she had no idea how bad her job would be after the merger went through.

So she’s retiring and maybe she’ll find a job after a while, or maybe not. I’m betting on she will because she hates not making an income.

Mariah's avatar

It’ll be different from person to person, but my dad has experienced both recently, and he finds it much less stressful to go to a job he hates than he found being jobless and not knowing when the next paycheck will be. A horrible, illness-inducing job is not a good place to be for the longterm, though, so look around, while keeping your current paycheck in the meantime.

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lemming's avatar

If you ‘re living in a country that has unemployment benefit then I’d be more likely to pick the unemployment.

YoBob's avatar

Well pretty much all jobs suck in one way or another. Be thankful you have one. They don’t call it work for nothing.

As Dolly Parton once said: “I’ve been rich, and I’ve been poor. Rich is better!”

While your soul sucking job might not be making you rich, from what I remember of my early 20’s unemployment and poverty TOTALLY SUCKS!!!!

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I’m amazed at the people who say they’d rather be unemployed. Either you all get a whole lot more money in unemployment benefits than I or else you have someone else paying your bills and supporting you.

This is the attitude my fiancee and I are hoping to avoid in his teens as they get ready to become high school graduates.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Analysis of why it’s miserable and what can be done to aleviate the misery is generally a good first step? Start with the 5 Whys, and get to the root cause of what’s wrong. Are you a bad fit for the role? Is there something else inside the company that you’re better suited to do?

downtide's avatar

For me, I have to say the job. I did have a job like that once and it brought me close to suicide. The day I quit was just a huge relief, even though I didn’t have another job to do to. If I hadn’t been able to quit, I wouldn’t be alive today.

trickface's avatar

I’d rather be poor than unhappy.

give_seek's avatar

Lots of great responses here. I’ve been poor and unemployed before, and I tell ya . . . it was much better than working and being miserable. But that was before the economy tanked. I appreciate being able to look at both sides of the issue based on the opinions people have shared.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Being unemployed… no contest. Finding a job is like pulling teeth, even in good economic times. Hold on to what you got and keep looking until you find something better, THEN quit! : )

woodcutter's avatar

What @CaptainHarley says. I have had a few really shitty jobs and at two of them I was fired and one I just quit and it only feels good for the first day or two. I got working in short order but it was scary doing it that way. It’s a drain having a bad job but it’s what supports your life’s needs,or kinda does. Dust off the ole’ resume and make some calls.

Mariah's avatar

Just wanted to add that if you have any health problems or take prescriptions, be careful not to let your insurance coverage lapse! The need for insurance can play a big part in a person’s opinion on this question.

rooeytoo's avatar

Abe Lincoln said people are just about as happy as they want to be, so I would stick with the job and just stop letting it make me miserable.

Realistically though, keep your eye open for another job, but… sure to give your current employer adequate notice to find a replacement for you. People go on about the unfairness of being summarily fired but that is no different or less fair than walking out on a job.

klutzaroo's avatar

Being unemployed. Period.

You can look for another job, but don’t quit this one without having something else lined up.

If you quit rather than get fired or laid off, its doubtful that you’ll be able to get unemployment benefits. They want to know the reason why you’re unemployed and if it comes to “I didn’t feel like working,” you probably won’t get anything.

Zeena's avatar

I have experienced both of cases and I can say that being unemployed means staying at home, waking up late, watching movies till you feel bored, surfing the net without any perspective, going out without a goal in your mind…you will feel desperate on the first week!
In the other side, having a job where you feel miserable means waking up early and praying for a strike, crying for your miserable life when you remember your boss or someone you dislike at work, wishing your desk a confort bed and the most important thing is that you have to support all the pressure till the end of the month to get your salary.
I had bills to pay but I prefered to stay at home and being unemployed than losing my happiness, my dignity and my health in a job where I felt miserable .

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