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August 13, 2007


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If it were me, I'd look at my lifestyle. If I could bear to lower it, I'd quit and look for something I enjoyed. If I liked my lifestyle, on the road to a great retirement, and the money was good, I'd just stick to it and find a good hobby. You don't always have to like what you do for a living. Isn't it kind of a new idea anyway that everyone needs to like their job? I just don't remember my grandfather ever talking about liking or disliking his job. He just worked and provided.

I'd keep the job (until I paid off my debts and had enough to start a business) and be grateful. I now have a minimum wage job I hate, so I figure I'd onlky come out ahead.

How old are you? As Chris said, if you're nearing retirement it may be worth it to just stick it out if you need the money. If you need the money to pay off debt, it is probably worth staying until that's gone or at least manageable. However, if you're financially stable and can find a way to live without the money/benefits, get out. This all depends on your situation, but life's too short to hate 1/3 of your waking hours.

Scott Kustes

I'm a mid-boomer, so retirement age is neither imminent nor distant. I have a lot of debt to clear before I can even think about retirement.

I am in the same situation and wish I had some advice. I am in a ridiculously high-paying job that I tolerate on some days and hate on most. For now, I'm focusing on student loan repayment, but when that's done I don't know if I'll have the confidence to get out. The most frustrating thing about this situation is that you can't talk to your friends and family about it, because they'll say, "Oh, cry me a river. Your job pays too well. Boo hoo."

Focus on what you want, make a plan, set up a cushion and go for it. I did, left 6 figures for much less - never been happier.

Be prepared to live a very frugal life if necessary.

Being unhappy everyday is a killer for your body and soul.
Don't be afraid, you can do it !

I'm already living a very frugal life and unless my income increases dramatically, I expect to have no money for the next 20 years, by which time I expect to be dead.

I am in my early forties and the last several years have been making around $200,000 a year in a low cost city. I have grown to hate my job. I have a nice net worth and could probably afford a big reduction in income and still maintain the same basic lifestyle. I just have not worked up the courage to do it. I would like to go teach at the college level but the jobs are so competetive. I agree that life is too short to hate your job. But you really need to watch your debts to have the necessary freedom to move.

JJ said it best: Focus on what you want, make a plan, set up a cushion and go for it.

You can't just leave without a plan, and it wouldn't make sense to leave a high paying job if you've been living beyond your means in that high paying job. Then you would never get ahead.

You likely have more options than you think you do. Sometimes it is just difficult to take the step of leaving a high paying job and the security it brings.

There's an old saying--Do what you love and you'll never "work" a day in your life. I also believe that if you do work that you truly enjoy, the money will follow.

The question is where would you be happy? Is dissatisfaction with your work really dissatisfaction with the rest of your life? What would you do if money were not a concern? What do you like or dislike? What would be different elsewhere? Can you make your job into your dream job? I would suggest taking some time off for a retreat. See where you are towards financial independence.

Unless the job is making him ill, stick with the job. No job is perfect. You choose to either like it or not. The grass is NOT greener on the other side.

I've been battling with this for years and have come to grips with the reality of my situation. There are other careers I would be happier in but have decided to stay in my mediocre gig. I took a big cut after the tech bust and don't plan to take a voluntary one. It's best to stay with the devil you know rather than the one you don't.

Some might say you only live once and you do. However I don't want to live like a pauper with the only one I have.

I sort of have the same attitude as Richard. On a scale of 1 to 10 my job is a 5 or 6. The pay, around 48K is not bad (although not really a lot as I live in Silicon Valley) considering the relatively low stress level (although the schedule is crappy). The benefits are FAT (civil service pension, excellent 401k type plan as well, cheap health care, 14 paid holidays, sick time, etc).

There are things I'd rather do, but they all involve biting the bullet for several years financially before I'd start making decent money. I admit I'm just too wimpy / unwilling to make the effort and/or take the risk.

I used to get down on myself about this...but after seeing several friends here in their early 50s get laid off and then flouder around in the job market for the last 3 or 4 years, I'm not altogether convinced that the "better the devil you do know than the one you don't" is always wrong.

What if what you'd love to do requires upfront money you don't have and can't get?

What I mean is, what I want to do requires self-employment; I do not know of anyone else doing this employed by someone else.

Perhaps you should start by looking at the source of your unhappiness. What about this situation is causing your unhappiness - the fact that you believe you are stuck or that fact that you believe you need something else to be happy? It all starts and ends with your own beliefs about you and your job. Sit down with a piece of paper and list all the positive things your job gives you. Then look at any opportunities to increase those. If you cant find any then you should start looking elsewhere. Bottom line - money or anything else wont 'make' you happy. Get happy (or at least most positively disposed towards your job) first. The rest will follow.

I am in the same boat. I make good $140,000 per year, plus benis of another $30,000 - $40, 000 per year, plenty of time off. Annual pay raises of about 4%. However, I hate my job.

I want to retire in 6 - 10 years. I have a mortgage, my son just started college, my wife does not work so I have no choice but to keep on keeping on....

jjay, that is exactly where I don't want to be, myself. I am in a similar situation in that I hate my job, I have a mortgage, and my wife doesn't work... but I am much younger, and my oldest child is nine, and my youngest is two years from starting school... and, I don't make $140k. I am getting very close to the $70k mark in base salary, my benefits stink, but I do have a potential of up to a 10% bonus. I am not quite sure how raises work here, but I think that I need about a 4.5% raise each year for the next two years to even remain motivated.

I have a bright future in front of me. I have been saving for retirement for several years now, and the account looks good enough to show off (finally). Also, my wife is going to be finishing up her nursing degree soon, and will likely go on to be a nurse practitioner. Beyond that, I have been accelerating my mortgage to the point where it will be paid off 10 years early, and I could go even further.

I have figured out why I am dissatisfied with my job... it is simply because I do not feel that I control my own destiny. My line of work is fine, I would just rather advance up the ladder more quickly, or own the ladder. I started off in my line of work at 18 years of age with no experience and no education (beyond high school). I have been doing it for quite a while now (just over 10 years), but I still get treated like I am young and inexperienced, even though I lead projects through to completion, time and time again. I have experience and an education now, and I am just hoping to increase the number of gray hairs that I have so that I might get some respect.

I'm sorry, I've heard it all now. (How about being employed in a job that is very uninspiring and emotionally draining that doesn't pay much?) Yes, by all means get a hobby and thank God and your lucky stars for your sad state of affairs.

If you're really unhappy at your job, then agressively pay the debt, and put a nice cushion in savings. In the meanwhile, assess what it is that you'd like to do and start making plans/steps towards that. You could probably meet w/a career counselor at a local college to see what job might suit you. Also, if you're feeling unfulfilled just generally, but your income is high enough that you're not working a crazy # of hours, then consider volunteer work or a hobby in the field you'd like to be in. I've been working 2 jobs for a while to pay my debt, and it can be kind of soul-crushing. I think without a plan of where I wanted to be, I'd go batty. So think about where you might like to go (or take the time to answer that question.)

I have found satisfaction in other things outside of work. I will admit that it doesn't necessariily make day-to-day work easier, but by volunteering has made me happier and also helped me realize how lucky I am to have a job. I also have a plan to only stay in the job for another 2-3 years in which time I will continue to volunteer; and focus on building my resume for my next job (hopefully high paying and satisfying).

I'm the person who posted the original comment on Consumerist. The thing is, I love what I do, just not the company I'm doing it for. However the company I'm doing it for pays better and has better benefits than are typical in my industry. (I'm a theater tech.) Unfortunately, most of the hiring done in the industry is by word of mouth, and I've been basically out of that loop for 7 years almost. While the pay is good, it's not so good that I've got a lot of cushion available if I were to walk and start over. I know that's what I should do, I just don't know if I have the finances available to do so at this point.

Then you might want to look at other companies in the industry, or more remotely, larger companies with work similar to yours or starting your own business on the side to start. Competitors and growing industries will pay more. Losing your inside knowledge and seniority will put you at a loss but greater opportunities may appear. If you are worth it, the next company can make those handcuffs disappear, but higher pay often means lower stability so it depends on how far along you are in your career.

I've just been through this myself, and decided that sitting around and doing basically nothing, but getting paid well was bad for my health, (I was always angry/frustrated) bad for my relationship, (I was short with the wife and kids because of the frustration) and that the extra money didn't make up for that.

Luckily I've been killing bills left and right, so a drop in pay didn't mean a drop in lifestyle. I got out while the getting was good and now have another position with less pay but MUCH better benefits. I feel that I can excel anywhere, if given the opportunity, so I'm going elsewhere. And the old job can just find someone else.

I can understand this one. I am "ok" with what I do, but most days it's dead boring and certainly not where I'd be if I had my life to live over again. But I'm making 90k and supporting 2 kids (one about to be in college) and my hubby is going back to school so he can get out of an industry that's absolutely making him physically ill... I don't have a lot of options.

I job hopped for a while, but have found a company with great people and good mid-management (the ones I have to interface with). So the work is so-so, but the people are good, and I cannot complain about the pay. So hey, 2 out of 3 ain't bad, right?

I deal with it by remembering that the pay not only supports my family, but also that it allows me to do the things that matter to me in my off time. (I'm also lucky that my schedule is fairly flexible and the hours aren't oppressive.) I'm active in my church and pursuing hobbies and interests that may provide a supplemental income to my retirement in the future. And, if we're careful with money and investing, esp. after hubby gets into a job with a steady paycheck, I may be able to "retire" to a job I actually enjoy before I'm 50 (I'm 37 now) without worrying so much about how much it pays.

Others have said it, but I'll say it again... make a plan, even if it's long term, to do what you want to do. And in the meantime, if you can find ways to do things you love in your off hours, it'll make life better.

money isn't everything

money can't buy you love

being unhappy is never worth being surrounded by expensive toys.

respect yourself first

haven't you ever seen American Beauty?

btw, isn't it weird that the higher paying jobs end up being boring or somehow unfulfilling?

My job satisfaction managed to go through the floor the month after I went from $60k to $70k...

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