What’s worse: being unemployed or in a job you hate?

April 9, 2009

Now wait! Before you accuse me of being blonde, think about it. Really think about it. A friend of mine just asked me if I could write about him being “deeply depressed in his ever-lasting job”. Let me clarify. He lives in Israel, ergo the ever-lasting job situation. And he works for the airlines: people, complaints, complaints, people. Every now and then something goes right (the plane is on time, the passengers are on time, there’s no terrorist attack, the pilot is not drunk) but nobody seems to notice, except him. Celebrations are few and far between. ·you’re hating it for as long as you show up for work. That could lead to ulcers, heartburn, psoriasis and a pot belly, not to mention hypertension, depression, anxiety (I used to work for a behavioral health company. I should know.) and the need to make like Spiderman and crawl all over the building walls. True or true?

That got me thinking. Really thinking. What’s worse, being unemployed or working at a job you hate? (I know, I asked that already. I’m just trying to make a point).

When you’re unemployed:

  • you don’t have money coming in.
  • your self-esteem (depending on how tied to a job it is) may be affected, especially if you can’t provide for your family.
  • you may get irritable.
  • you may cry.
  • you may go into a funk.
  • you may go into the Unemployment Office and sit there for hours. (Don’t complain. They’re paying you for this. You’re making about $10/hr, depending on your past salary history and the state you reside in).
  • you’ll eventually land a job, or go into business for yourself, or start a blog.

But, when you’re in a job you hate:

  • you have money coming in. Cha-ching! Taxes!
  • your self-esteem may not be all that high. You may be providing for your loved ones, but you may not be providing for your soul, feeding it with that personal satisfaction that makes you feel good and proud of the work you do.
  • you may be irritable.
  • you may cry.
  • you may go into a funk. All this in front of your managers, colleagues and direct reports.

Now, I ask you:  What’s worse: being unemployed or in a job you hate?

Do you have an employment horror story to share? Please do. It will make us all feel better, especially if you’re one of the lucky ones with a job.


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