Want to ditch the job that you hate? Well, according to a new study, having a job you hate is just as bad for your mental health as being unemployed.

According to research published by Occupational and Environmental Medicine, “The impact on mental health of a badly paid, poorly supported, or short term job can be as harmful as no job at all.”

The study surveyed 7000 people in Australia and researchers assessed the mental health of the participants using a “validated inventory.” They also asked the respondents to disclose their employment status. Although people who were unemployed generally had poorer mental health, being trapped in a job you hate can have a serious negative effect on your mental health.

According to the study:

The mental health of those who were jobless was comparable to, or often better than, that of people in work, but in poor quality jobs.

Those in the poorest quality jobs experienced the sharpest decline in mental health over time. There was a direct linear association between the number of unfavorable working conditions experienced and mental health, with each additional adverse condition lowering the mental health score.

And the health benefits of finding a job after a period of worklessness depended on the quality of the post, the findings showed. Job quality predicted mental health.

Getting a high quality job after being unemployed improved mental health by an average of 3 points, but getting a poor quality job was more detrimental to mental health than remaining unemployed, showing up as a loss of 5.6 points

So if you’re on the prowl for a new gig, make sure it’s one you’ll actually enjoy.

Are you stuck in a job you hate? If so, has it affected your mood?


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  • Alexandra

    I’ve never had to deal with this, and I hope I can avoid ending up in that situation.

  • I currently work at THAT job. So many of the managers and some of my former coworkers have had to quit due to depression and other mental health issues. Being that it’s RETAIL it shouldn’t be like that but if it isn’t one of the most mentally draining jobs I’ve ever had. Still, it’s not as bad as when I worked with children during HS though. Nonetheless, when I finally find a REAL job in my chosen field or in another field, I will indeed add Retail to my list of occupations to avoid along with childcare. I don’t know how many times I’ve wanted to quit, but I can’t because I rather work here than have no money at all. I’m overworked, underpaid, and it’s breaking my spirit, but it’s also only making me be even more persistent in my search to find another job. I don’t want to be like those in my family that have worked places for YEARS that they’ve hated. I see what that does to people and I don’t want that to happen to me.

  • Isis

    Can definitely relate. It sucks being unemployed and it sucks being at a job you hate. Currently in a job I hate and trying not to complain. I’m just focused on finding something better.

  • Jazz

    So true! I had a job that I initailly loved, but due to a new boss, grew to hate. I had to force myself to go to work I fugured: better this than no job. Well, I got laid off in mid January. I have yet to find a new gig, but I’m less stressed (but I AM stressed) and generally in a better mood now that I’m not there.

    I am hoping to find a job that I can enjoy this time around.

    • KristinaAmira

      Your post was my life story until the end of Dec. Good luck with the Job Search!

  • I’d like to thank the Australian National University researchers for telling people why their life sucks. Too bad they figured it out before you did as witnessed by all the comments of people being let go or leaving their bad jobs.

    Maybe its time these researchers spend money on finding out how to make life suck less for people one step from flying over the cuckoo’s nest when staying in a job they can’t stand just isn’t enough.