Since I am a financial planner, it might surprise you to hear that I DON’T think money is everything.

Yes, it’s important and financial freedom is one of the three pillars of success I outline in my book, but it’s not the whole picture. Your happiness (and your self-worth) depends on more than financial wealth.  It depends on the day-to-day—the things that take up the most space on your calendar. For many people, daily happiness is directly tied to a job.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? That your happiness can increase or decrease, depending on how satisfied you are with your work. After all, you probably spend a large portion of your time there (or commuting there!) and it likely occupies much of your thoughts.

So, if you don’t like your work, why are you staying?

This is the frank question that I am sometimes forced to ask my clients. Some of my more well-off clients are miserable, despite their cash flow, while some of my less-wealthy clients are perfectly content. Why is that? Because money does not, by itself, give you a sense of purpose. Your life does not automatically become complete once you’ve reached millionaire status. Or multi-millionaire status. To find that sense of worth and purpose, you have to dig a little deeper, figure out what drives/motivates/excites you, and work toward it.

For many people, their purpose centers around meaningful work. Personally, I love my job and find great joy in being a financial advisor. Helping people secure a healthy financial future is rewarding for me, and it’s what motivates me to drive to work every day. What is your spark? What energizes you? Maybe it’s working with youth or painting or fixing old cars. Maybe it’s working outdoors. Or caring for animals. I urge you to think about your life’s passions and consider how you can fit them into a viable career.

Of course, there are logistics to think about as well. You don’t want to plunge into a career change without discussing your goals with your family and creating a financial plan to aid in the transition. You will also want to consult a financial planner to help you plan for any surprise expenses you might incur while making a career change. Or, if your potential career switch will mean a cut in your salary, you’ll want to plan for that as well.

Take some time and think about why, exactly, you’re still in your bad job. If you’re only doing it for the paycheck, it may be time to rethink your life’s course and shift your focus to purpose and hope, instead of just finances.

28 thoughts on “Why are you staying in your “bad job?”

  1. Great article. I think too many of us have missed our calling in life, afraid to fully pursue it because we’re driven by a need for financial security that borders on the obsessive. And the job that gives us this financial security consumes most of the time and energy needed to pursue our calling. I know that i am certainly guilty of pursuing this course.

    Your statement about shifting one’s focus to purpose and hope is spot on. And, I would add, shifting one’s focus AWAY from fear – fear of not having enough money, fear of the unknown, fear of the future – goes right along with that shift in helping us all get off the never-ending “bad job” treadmill.

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