What To Do When You Hate Your Job But It Pays Well

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November 16, 2020
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min read

It's an unfortunately common dilemma for job seekers and seasoned professionals alike — 'Should I choose money or passion?' Sometimes when it comes to making a decision on careers or choosing between two positions, this difficult question comes up to make you doubt yourself and your long-term goals.

But this situation can be even more difficult if you're already working in a job you hate, but that pays well. Even if you have plenty of reasons to quit — job stress, family, mental health — money is often the one factors keeping you in a position you would otherwise leave at the first opportunity.

So what is it about hated but high-paying jobs that keep us from choosing happiness? Let's get some insights into the reasons people stay in a career purely because they pay well, as well as some signs you should take the leap and consider finding a new job.

Why do we stay in jobs we hate?

Sometimes, money can be a mere excuse not to leave a detestable role when really the reason comes down to comfort, fear, uncertainty, or a combination of factors. Other times though, the reasons can be financial. The fear of losing financial security can be paralyzing. So how long should you stay at a job? Let's look at these different factors in more detail, so you can decide what it is that's holding you back from finding a career you love.


Possibly the most common reason to stay in an unfulfilling day-to-day job is fear--fear of leaving a comfortable position, finances, being unemployed, regret, the future, or losing prestige, to name just a few. All of these factors come back to income. Once you've reached a high-income job, you might find friends telling you that it would be crazy to give it up, or that others would kill for a job like yours. Hearing things like this can feed into your fears about quitting your job even more, leaving you tethered to a career you hate.


Uncertainty, whether over finances or job security, can prevent you from acting on your desire to quit your job. You might think that you need to just suck it up and stick to it because leaving your position is too risky. You may also fear the uncertainty of the future and what it could mean for you financially. If living expenses or unforeseen expenses are worrying you, this will just compound your hesitance to look for another job even more.


Even if you hate your job, being in a familiar position that provides you with a substantial income is bound to make you reluctant to give it up. This can also tie into the previous two points, as both fear and uncertainty about what lies ahead can make your current situation seem too comfortable to leave.

Signs you should quit a job you hate

There are countless reasons you could hate your current job, and some are more revealing than others. It could be an ongoing issue with your boss or a fellow employee, or it could be that you just don't feel like you fit in with your colleagues or your work environment. Sometimes, it can be linked to insecurity or doubt in your ability to do the work or thinking that you don't have the right skill set for your job duties.

But when there are no particular issues in your day-to-day job and you simply hate doing it, this could indicate that it's time to consider finding a career that better suits your needs. Let's look at some of the signs that maybe you should shake off those so-called 'golden handcuffs' and quit that job you hate, even if it means taking a pay cut.

It's affecting your mental health

Mental health is paramount to overall well being and should definitely come before money where possible. If your dissatisfaction with your career is affecting your thoughts, feelings, and personal life outside of the office, this is a pretty clear sign that you should consider looking at different positions in your field or perhaps a new one entirely.

Money doesn't buy happiness, so if you're in a position where you have enough in your savings account to find something you really want, you should consider taking the leap and starting a new job search.

Your job performance is suffering

It can be hard to stay motivated and perform your best work when you simply hate your current position or career, even though the income is great. In fact, this can make your job performance suffer in the long run as you find work more and more unbearable by the day.

What's more, seeing yourself performing worse than you know you're capable of is unfulfilling and can seriously affect your job satisfaction no matter how well it pays. Suffering performance could be noticed by your boss and potentially affect your professional reputation, so it's worth paying attention to the fact that it's time to confront your career issues.

You're not reaching your potential

It can be seriously dissatisfying to feel like your skills and expertise are being wasted just because of a high salary. If you spent years of your life studying or training for your goal career but now you're in a situation where you feel like you've settled for something that isn't challenging enough, no amount of money is going to make you more passionate about it. This can contribute to the previous two points, potentially affecting your mental well being and consequently your performance at work.

Should you quit a job you hate?

There is no shortage of reasons for someone to hate their job, even if it offers a high income. Whether your dissatisfaction is affecting your well being, your performance, or you simply feel constrained and unable to reach your potential, a sizeable paycheck is often enough to keep many people from calling it quits.

It's a tricky situation, but if you are in a position to leave in search of a new one, you'll find that doing what you love is more important for your long-term well being than being paid well to do something you hate.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I assess whether the high salary is worth the dissatisfaction I feel in my job?

Begin by evaluating the tangible benefits of your current salary against the intangible costs of job dissatisfaction. Consider factors like financial security, lifestyle, and future opportunities the salary provides, and weigh them against the stress, unhappiness, and potential health impacts you experience. Reflect on your long-term career goals and personal values to determine if the trade-off aligns with your life's priorities and if it's sustainable in the long run.

What steps can I take to find a balance between job satisfaction and financial needs?

Start by identifying what aspects of your job you dislike and what you're passionate about. Look for opportunities to incorporate more of the latter into your current role or seek out new positions that offer a better balance. Budgeting and financial planning can also help you understand how much income you truly need, potentially opening up more career options that are fulfilling yet still meet your financial requirements.

Is it possible to transition to a job I love without taking a significant pay cut?

Yes, it's possible, but it requires strategic planning. Start by researching industries and roles that interest you and have the potential for lucrative compensation. Network with professionals in those fields to learn about career paths and income trajectories. Consider upskilling or retraining for high-demand areas where your passions and the potential for good pay align. It may take time, but with a clear plan, you can work towards a career that satisfies both your personal and financial needs.

Dave Fano

Founder and CEO of Teal, Dave is a serial entrepreneur with 20+ years of experience building products & services to help people leverage technology and achieve more with less.

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