To Top

The GEM Debate: Is It Better To Be Unemployed Then In A Job You Hate?


We all know times are tough at the moment, with the recession biting hard and jobless rates still sky-high… but how badly do we all REALLY need our jobs?

Earlier in the week I read this interesting study that found that being in a job you don’t like is as detrimental to your mental health as being unemployed.

On paper that sounds strange – surely having no money coming in is the worst. Everyone’s been there at some point – bills piling up, worrying about how you’re going to pay for this or that, those little ramen noodle packets for dinner. Maybe it’s never gotten to the ramen stage for you. If so, consider yourself lucky. There are few things that inspire more dread in people than a persistently empty pocket.

But then I remembered all the times I’ve commiserated with friends in unhappy work situations. Their work wasn’t recognized or appreciated, they hated their boss, their job was stressful… at times like this being unemployed doesn’t sound so bad.

So here’s today’s GEM Debate… Even if you feel underemployed, over worked and unappreciated, is a bad job better than no job at all?

Start sharing your tales of workplace stress… and if you’re unemployed at the moment how are you handling the pressure?


  1. Jen (ImoBlog)

    March 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I was once at a job that I hated and I wished they would fire me. I can relate to this completely.

  2. devessel

    March 19, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    i’ve been in every conceivable combination outlined above, and some that haven’t. nothing, NO.THING. is worse than working and not getting properly compensated for your time. to say nothing of not getting compensated at all!

    i live in a society in which having money is required, and health, mental or otherwise, is not prioritized. so unfortunately, i would have to agree with you, GEM. not having the money trumps hating your job.

  3. Faun Reese

    March 19, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    I think in this day and stage of the economy, it is better to be in a job that you might “hate” rather than be unemployed and just continue to look for the job that you would be interested in.

  4. m.e. johnson

    March 19, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    Neither one is ‘better’ than the other. It depends on the person, the age, the $$$ situation, if there are dependents, so many things.
    I’ve been on both sides. I managed to get myself fired, collected unemp, had time and wherewithall to land a job I enjoyed.

  5. Traci

    March 21, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    As someone who is currently in a job where “upper management” manages by demeaning you, telling you that your actions are “stupid” and where other managers have called you “a wussy” (yeah, to my face)….I have to say I’d rather be unemployed. And I say this after spending 10 months unemployed before finding my current personal hell. I think that, for me, NOT having THIS job would make me much happier.

  6. Rene Syler

    March 21, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    @Traci, one of the things that terrified me about being without a job was I thought I wouldn’t have money or that I wouldn’t survive. Guess what? Neither of those things happened. We saved money, we tightened our belts A LOT (my husband still worked but we cut all the extras), I took a few random gigs here and there, some a bit humiliating, but I did them anyway. But the thing is you WILL be okay even if you have to walk away from that job. Can you say the same if you stay? Those people are cannibalizing your essence and soul and frankly, are not special enough for you to be wasting your time on. Seriously. If you have to get a job at Starbucks in order to keep your self-esteem intact, well go fill out an application STAT! Don’t worry about “what the neighbors, co-workers” will say; they’re probably saying it already and you can’t stop them anyway. Not to mention that they don’t matter. Tomorrow, look in the mirror, tell yourself you don;t deserve to be treated that way, and then make a change 🙂 You are special! Good luck!

  7. Traci

    March 22, 2011 at 5:42 am

    Rene….thank you again for your amazing words! I’m sitting here at 6:40 a.m. crying because you are SO right! I actually got a phone call yesterday from another company wanting to interview me. Thank you for these wonderful words!!! 🙂

  8. Rene Syler

    March 22, 2011 at 7:24 am

    @Traci: Oh good for you!! For the phone call and the fact that you are a crier, like me, LOL. Go in there with your head held high and shake off those haters you have to be around now. They’ll be a mere memory soon enough!

  9. NikkyNicole

    March 22, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    This is an internal debate I’m having myself. I have been at my current job for about ten years and at this point I do not enjoy it at all. I really think God wanted to me to move away from this job a while ago, but I don’t think my faith was strong enough at that time. Now I’m at a point where there is nothing that I feel I am learning from this job and it’s just. I’ve experienced a couple of deaths over the past month (first my beloved dog and just a few days ago my paternal grandfather) and realizing how precious life really is. I don’t want to spend whatever time I have left on this earth not working in purpose God has for me. My delimma I suppose it just having the courage to take that step.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in The GEM Debate

Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

Copyright © 2017 Good Enough Mother® Designed By ABlackWebDesign