Staying in wrong job unhealthy

Why is staying in the wrong job unhealthy for you?

You hate Mondays. The dreaded Sunday night feeling. Crying in the loos at work; is there really any good reason for staying in the wrong job?

In the UK, we spend an average of 1,672 hours a year at work. That’s 209 days each year spent in the same place, with the same people, doing the same (sort of) thing. This doesn’t count the amount of time we spend thinking about work, talking with and about colleagues, or making packed lunches to take in the next day. Even if you don’t hate your job…..what effect is staying in the wrong job having on your health, relationships, and overall happiness?

Common reasons people stay:

  1. You’re scared that you won’t be able to get another job -you feel too old, too inexperienced and you have been in your current job too long. You love your coworkers – they need you, nobody else can do what you do quite like you do it, you don’t want to leave them in the lurch.
  2. You’re comfortable – the commute is easy, you can pick the kids up on time, you get to work from home when you want, you know how to handle the difficult people already.
  3. It’s not that bad, really.

No matter the bills, the mouths to feed, or the sheer hassle of finding yourself something else; staying in the wrong job and doing something that makes you feel less happy could, quite literally, be killing you. Science says so.

Why staying in the wrong job is bad for your health:

  1. Weight gain – from stress eating, snacking because you’re bored, or a daily quick half at the end of the day, the physical effects of regularly not enjoying 8 hours of your day can really start to add up. You’ll also be less likely to want to do something about this weight gain – we all know that the endorphins released by regular exercise are great for us, but when you feel exhausted just getting through the day, can you really be bothered to then go to the gym too? It’s a vicious circle of energy-zapping behaviour that is likely to leave you longer at your desk and reaching for the biscuit tin.
  2. Stress – this can affect your physical health by lowering your immune system and making your more susceptible to common illness. If this persists over a long enough period of time, research has also linked work-related stress to serious physical side-effects too, such as heart attacks. This can also affect your mental well-being as stress and negativity can lead to fatigue, irritability, anxiety, and depression.
  3. Loss of sleep – from easy to spot effects such as nightmares and trouble falling asleep, to the more serious downsides to not getting enough sleep: impaired vision, poor judgement, longer reaction times, poorer short-term memory recall, and lower levels of motivation to do anything at all.


In reality, finding a new, better job may not be instantaneous. There are bound to be hard moments when handing in your notice, saying goodbye to colleagues. There are always some fears – and a lot of unknowns – around making such a sizable life change. But what cost are you already paying to stay in the wrong job?


On top of these more direct negative effects of choosing to stay in the wrong job, there are several longer-lasting side effects, that are more difficult to spot.

The hidden nastiness of staying in the wrong job:

  1. Bad for your relationships – be it always moaning about that certain colleague, getting angry at the kids for stuff that has nothing to do with them, or just always being surrounded in a cloud of negativity. Slowly but surely your unhappiness will bring other people down around you, your loved ones feel unable to help, and your friends forget that you used to be fun.
  2. Bad for your passion – it becomes more and more difficult to feel passionate, excited or motivated to do anything. Not only, are you less likely to want to look for something else, but you start to feel less enthusiastic about your hobbies, you want to go out less, can’t be bothered to make the effort, and can only bring yourself to do the bare minimum. Yep, the wrong job is even worse for your sex life.
  3. Bad for your confidence – going round in circles, achieving very different outcomes to the one you expected, constantly feeling like you’re in the wrong or not good enough – when we stay in a toxic environment we question less and believe what other people tell and/or behave towards us more. It will change your idea of normal and when you need to stand up for yourself and others.
  4. Bad for you professionally – when you lose interest or have to make a constant personal compromise at work you’ll start to do things in a way that doesn’t sit right with you. You pick up bad habits, change your expectations of others and yourself, and the longer you stay the more reliant you’ll be on a reference from the manager you hate.
  5. Bad for your personal growth – an unhealthy work environment will get in the way of your development. You’ll spend more time trying to make the most of what is there than you can spend on making yourself a better employee, expert, and individual. With this one job taking up so much of your headspace it will stop you from getting something that would be so much better for you.

So, what can do you when you find yourself hiding in the bathrooms once again? 

Stop. Think. Act.


  • Stop beating yourself up about the things you can’t control or for having found yourself in this situation.
  • Think about what it is about your current situation that’s not right for you, right now. Think about what you’d like instead – if you need a little inspiration, Alan Watts can help: if money were no object, what would you do:
  • Act now. Baby steps, do some research, try something out, or simply talk to a friend about how to go about finding what’s next. Now you’ve realised that it’s no longer right for you, you have choices to make and options to explore. Go forth and be healthier.
  • Visit our coaching page so see how we can help you.