Thursday 29 September 2016

Hate your job? Here's scientific proof you should quit

Published 23/08/2016 | 14:10

Being miserable in work now could lead to mental and health problems in later life. Picture: Tina Fey in 30 Rock
Being miserable in work now could lead to mental and health problems in later life. Picture: Tina Fey in 30 Rock
Being miserable in work during your 30s and 40s could have lead to mental and health problems in later life. Picture posed by model.
A new study suggests that being miserable in your job in your 20s and 30s can lead to health problems in later life. Picture posed

A new study has found that people who are miserable in their jobs at an early age are more likely to suffer poor physical and mental health later in life.

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A study from Ohio University has found that spending the best part of your 20s and 30s in a job that you dislike or merely just put up with, could lead to poor physical and mental health in later life.

"We found that there is a cumulative effect of job satisfaction on health that appears as early as your 40s," authour Jonathan Dirlam said in a statement.

The study looked at data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) that included information on job satisfaction for US citizens, starting from 1979.

The team followed the job trajectories of study participants from the time they were 25 up until age 39 and sorted them into four groups by rating how much they liked their jobs: consistently lower job satisfaction, consistently high job satisfaction, people whose satisfaction started low but trended higher, and those who started off satisfied but declined over the years.

Then the participants had to report a variety of health measures after they turned 40.

A new study suggests that being miserable in your job in your 20s and 30s can lead to health problems in later life. Picture posed
A new study suggests that being miserable in your job in your 20s and 30s can lead to health problems in later life. Picture posed

People who who had low job satisfaction reported higher levels of depression, sleep problems and excessive worry. They were also more likely to have been diagnosed with emotional problems..

Those who didn't like their jobs and those whose satisfaction with their jobs decreased over time reported poorer overall health and included more problems like back pain and frequent colds compared to those who were comfortable in their jobs.

This makes sense, if you spend between 39 and 48 hours a week doing something you dislike, you're going to feel pretty bad.

The study did not include the time period of the recent “Great Recession,” which began in December 2007 and ran about two years.

The author noted, though, that job satisfaction levels have been declining since the 80s, a trend he expects to continue as the long-term effects of the Recession are felt.

“The main reason is due to increased job insecurity. People are not as sure if they will always have their job today compared to 30 years ago. Having more permanent occupations would help increase satisfaction levels,” he explained.

If jobs are making people sick, should companies consider a more holistic approach? Should they look at ways to improve the wellbeing of their employees that go beyond just wages?

While income is important to consider when you’re first launching your career, Dirlam said, “It may be more beneficial for overall life satisfaction to take a job with slightly less pay if that job will give you higher job satisfaction. Most people spend almost half of their waking life at work and it’s important that you are able to find some joy during this time.”

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