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What's Worse: A Bad Job or No Job?

Melinda Miles 2011/03/16 17:00:00
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I just read a study that confirms what I've long suspected: Having a really, really bad job is often worse than having no job at all.

The study shows that people who went from being unemployed to having a "poor quality" job (one that's overly demanding with a lack of job security) suffered from even worse mental health consequences than those who remained out of work, WebMD reports.

In the last few years, I have witnessed this to be true not only in my own life, but in the lives of my friends and colleagues.

Two jobs ago, I had a great job at a great company where me and most of my colleagues were very happy for many years. Then a new boss came in with some sort of mood swing disorder: He would cycle from liking you to ignoring you to hating you in a matter of weeks, then start the cycle all over again. We decided to treat this boss as if he were our "alcoholic uncle."

During this time, I realized I was actually muttering curse words to myself -- OUT LOUD -- on my lunch break, and it wasn't unusual for women to gather in the bathroom for a good cry (sounds pathetic, I know).

Needless to say, most (if not all) of the original team eventually quit, but the "alcoholic uncle" is still there torturing people.

But I soon realized that the alcoholic uncle wasn't nearly as bad as the downright abusive uncle at my next job. I often had the song "Welcome to the Jungle" running through my head at this subsequent job, as paranoia was rampant and a "kill or be killed" culture was encouraged. I was alarmed but not altogether shocked to learn that a seemingly normal colleague was popping downers in the bathroom just to get through the day. This was a very bad sign.

I do think the recession caused a rise in these types of situations, as people felt obligated to hang onto jobs that they otherwise would have ditched in a heartbeat. But now that the economy is better and I am once again happily employed, I did come away from these experiences with a couple of life lessons:

No 1. Life is too short to let someone treat you badly, for any amount of time.

No 2. Life isn't free, which is why you should always have a few months' worth of living expenses in the bank to escape in the event of No. 1.

--Melinda Miles is a freelance writer.

Read More: http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20110314/p...

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Top Opinion

  • sglmom 2011/03/16 22:19:53
    No Job
    sglmom
    +7
    Hand's down ...

    Just far better to EARN a living, pay one's bills .. and actually have the PRIDE you get when you have a job ...

    Than to be sitting on one's rear and not doing anything at all.

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  • Merry 2011/03/22 10:22:38
    No Job
    Merry
    you can deal with the bad job but you can't do anything with poverty!
  • Paxfa Mscipio 2011/03/21 00:05:27
  • Candi 2011/03/19 20:53:31
    No Job
    Candi
    Because at least you get paid from the bad job
  • clarity148 2011/03/19 01:42:35
    No Job
    clarity148
    Keep the job you hate until you find the job you love. Actively look for something better, don't just sit and take it. This way you can continue to pay your bills and put food on the table while you look for a job you don't hate. With no job, you're just as miserable AND there's no money to pay the bills or buy food.
  • sailor 2011/03/19 01:26:26
    No Job
    sailor
    I would work any job in order to provide for my family
  • baboula 2011/03/18 23:19:07
    No Job
    baboula
    While I would probably say Bad Job if the economy was better., something is better than nothing. They all have jobs at WebMD so I think they are a bit biased concerning the mental health incurred when out of a job for a long, long period of time.
  • sammanilla 2011/03/18 21:34:32
    No Job
    sammanilla
    The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.
  • B 2011/03/18 17:36:30 (edited)
    No Job
    B
    a bad job still pays the bills
  • IronOx 2011/03/18 15:01:47
    No Job
    IronOx
    I've worked in unbearable places but that only took up 50 or so hours of my week, it still provided my family with food, clothing and shelter.

    Of course with our entitlement society the government could have provided that for me.
  • jay jones 2011/03/18 04:34:25
    A Bad Job
    jay jones
    at least with a bad job you have money coming in,
  • Kitty Lover 2011/03/18 00:22:13
    A Bad Job
    Kitty Lover
    I've had to quit from one of my jobs because the people I've worked with was so unbearable ....they made everyday a nightmare....to be honest...even thought I was unemployed for a while, i was free from the stress
  • [Giga] 2011/03/17 23:24:10
    No Job
    [Giga]
    I believe it really depends in which state you really are, at some point some would work even if it's kiling them, for a greater cause, like feeding their childs are any other survival goals.

    But if you exclude those siturations, a bad job is probably a very bad thing as well. If you can "survive" without a job, it may be a better way to live than having a bad job...
  • Just MEH....Piwan 2011/03/17 22:31:46
    A Bad Job
    Just MEH....Piwan
    Not good to not have a job, but a really bad job can really mess with your mental state!
  • len 2011/03/17 21:46:58
    No Job
    len
    +1
    no money
  • NewlyNamed len 2011/03/18 00:21:40
    NewlyNamed
    I checked the wrong box by mistake. I meant that it is better to have a bad job than no job for two reasons: (1) you can always adjust your attitude and make the most of a bad job, as long as (2) you're making money, which you won't make from no job.
  • METALheadMom 2011/03/17 21:30:14
    No Job
    METALheadMom
    ALTHOUGH, it IS better to always have a steady income - - legally. It's best to get out of the bad job by finding a better one first.
  • Seonag 2011/03/17 19:48:46
    No Job
    Seonag
    +1
    Funny how employers want to hire people who are working or at least have not been out of work for more than 30 to 60 days. Hubby took a 'bad job' after looking for 10 months, back when the Enron crises happened. Within 6 weeks he had a great job!
  • fisherman 2011/03/17 19:39:32
  • Georgia50 2011/03/17 17:59:10 (edited)
    No Job
    Georgia50
    +1
    A bad job can build character. No job can destroy character.
  • Follow The Money 2011/03/17 17:09:48
    No Job
    Follow The Money
    +2
    No job is worse - mos def.
  • i quit 2011/03/17 16:48:08
    No Job
    i quit
    +1
    I'd rather go to work then not have a job to go to at all.
  • CrazyCalcifer 2011/03/17 16:19:57
    No Job
    CrazyCalcifer
    +1
    better than being JOBLESS, and PENNYLESS as well :P
  • lucky 2011/03/17 15:53:43
    No Job
    lucky
    +1
    Tell someone who's worried about how they are going to feed their kids, pay their house payment or rent, get their child who has a medical condition needed treatment that having a bad job is worse then no job at all.
  • Mila Rei 2011/03/17 15:49:07
    No Job
    Mila Rei
    bad job is a job, actually.
  • Swervin 2011/03/17 15:37:42
    A Bad Job
    Swervin
    When you have a bad job, you can all way's go out and look for a better job.
  • mark 1 2011/03/17 15:23:35
    No Job
    mark 1
    Deal with it and look for a new job.
  • Bess 2011/03/17 15:22:55
    No Job
    Bess
    Something was happening in the organization that prompted the attitude. Someone should look into what has been done in the past to have created the the poor quality in their position? Poor management skills is the big cause of most dissatisfied workers.. Building a fully engaging workplace requires an effort— what is intended to build a corporate culture, focus on building commitment by building involvement. High levels of employee engagement lead to lower turnover rates, since there is a close link between company image and individual selfimage. Without close attachments to the workplace, people feel alienated and will usually seek greener pastures. I had two positions that had these attributes. I believe one of them required high turnover rates to keep payroll cost down. So getting ride of unwanted/needed employees was a plus. The other intended to use family culture and the all ready established close attachment the individuals had at the corporation. The sustainability would have been good if management maintained the culture. That could have been accomplished but they cut her.
  • TJ 2011/03/17 15:22:10
  • John T. 2011/03/17 15:12:31
    A Bad Job
    John T.
    It is easer to look for a better job if you have a paycheck.
  • Arty 2011/03/17 14:59:17
    No Job
    Arty
    There is NOTHING worse than not having a job .. A bad job is only bad as long as you are needing it.. Even in the worst of times there are alternatives to look forward to. AND in the overall picture If you think you are in a bad job .. It may be YOU that is the problem
  • Bess Arty 2011/03/17 15:29:27
    Bess
    I so disagree with that. You can have a bad job this business has a culture of degradation of its employees. Management and other employees degrade their employees to try and make them feel less then what they are.
    This is bad management skills and change needs to take place.
  • Arty Bess 2011/03/17 15:31:06
    Arty
    +1
    it is like the t v on / off switch ..look for another one as you grin and bear it
  • morphor Arty 2011/03/17 15:40:48
    morphor
    Not everyone can do that....you may think that everyone can, but there's at least a few.
  • Bess Arty 2011/03/17 16:04:59
    Bess
    +1
    Thats true. :)
  • len Arty 2011/03/17 21:49:44
    len
    +1
    yes but that dosent pay the bills
  • 46 defense 2011/03/17 14:45:12
    A Bad Job
    46 defense
    +1
    3 years of being unemployeed... I'll take a bad job thanks.
  • Tom Riddle's fangirl 2011/03/17 14:44:44
    A Bad Job
    Tom Riddle's fangirl
    +1
    It depends on how bad it is...
    But I could never be around without doing anything. Maybe no job is badder? I don't know.
  • Pam 2011/03/17 14:43:38
    No Job
    Pam
    At least the pay can be the reward
  • katchan 2011/03/17 14:39:32
    A Bad Job
    katchan
    A bad job can help you keep a roof over your head while you look for a good job.
  • Vicanna 2011/03/17 14:29:20
    A Bad Job
    Vicanna
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