6 Lies We Tell Ourselves About Bad Jobs

What did you have to tell yourself to get out of bed this morning? How did you pump yourself up on the commute in to work?

We all have days when we need a good pep talk, but if you’re telling yourself one of these 6 lies to get going every day, it may be time to look at the deeper causes behind them.

After all, studies have shown that hating your job can lead to all sorts of health problems, like weight gain, lowered immune system, and depression. Is it worth your health to stay in a job you truly hate?

Do any of these lies about your job sound familiar?

1. Things will get better after [event] happens.

I’m guessing this one sounds familiar to you – it’s definitely the lie I tell myself most often! Sometimes it is true, say, if your team’s about to launch a new program, or it’s the busy season in your industry, or you’re taking night classes for a certification.

Or, your job could simply be set up so that inefficiency, chaos, and overtime are the norm. It’s not healthy to be living in a rush – and it isn’t necessary. So if you find yourself constantly waiting (and waiting!) for things to get better, it’s time to realize that you’re the only one who can make those changes in your life.

2. My boss is just going through a tough time.

Are you making excuses for your boss’s poor management skills or attitude? Sure, sometimes your boss is going to have a rough day, but it’s not your job to explain away her bad behavior.

If your boss is bullying you, holding you back, or otherwise making it miserable to come into work, it’s time to stop making apologies.

3. If I just put in the time, I’ll get that raise or promotion.

Again, this may be true – but it’s important to make sure this assumption is based in fact. Is your organization good at promoting from within? Are you being groomed for the position you want? Have you spoken with your manager about it?

Or are you just telling yourself this, even though you haven’t been recognized for your good work so far? The longer you sit around waiting for your contributions to be noticed, the more you’ll be missing out on great opportunities at an organization that would actually value your work.

4. My manager likes me, so I’m safe from the shakeups.

The truth is that during organizational restructuring, no one is safe – not you, and not even the manager who likes you. It’s important to keep a realistic view of your job security. When the tremors start, don’t rely on your history with the company or your relationship with your manager. Start building your backup plan.

5. The hours aren’t really that bad, compared to what so-and-so works.

If you’re exhausted from working night and weekends and regularly missing family events, it doesn’t matter that your boss or your coworker is working more hours. Too often, offices become a competition of who can be the biggest martyr to the job – at the expense of productivity and health.

We need to stop bragging about our total hours worked, and start focusing on being more efficient in the office.

6. I’m not qualified for anything else.

In my opinion, this is the worst lie of all. This keeps waitresses pouring coffees, secretaries forwarding phone calls, and all of us trapped in jobs we hate because we don’t think we can do anything else. If you don’t think you’re qualified for the position you really want, then figure out how to get qualified.

Do an informational interview. Take an online course. Find a mentor. Volunteer with the organization you want to work for. Don’t let fear hold you back!

You only live once! If you don’t build your dream life, no one’s going to do it for you.

Leave a Comment


Leave a Reply

Peter Sperry

“I love my coworkers, the job is so much fun I look forward to work every day, my boss is my best friend and the incredibly low salary is just a minor price of working in a place I love so well.” A quote from a family member forced into early retirement on a ridiculously low pension and struggling to make ends meet.


Great reading for me in which I plan to share. I particularly like Page 1, 3 and 4.
i use to think that if I worked hard and the event exceeded expectations, promotion will come. It didn’t. It did come for their friends and friend’s children. Putting in your time does not matter. Some say its who you know but I say its who know you. For example, the new fellow could be the manager’s colleague’s daughter. Restructuring turn the tables for people’s career. My previous manager valued my work. My current manager minimizes.


Overall, I like (and agree with) your post.

The one thing I take issue with is in the section on “My boss is just going through a tough time”, where you make the following statement “Sure, sometimes your boss is going to have a rough day, but it’s not your job to explain away her bad behavior.” A HER is not the only boss who has a bad day. Often it is a HIM.

Jessie Kwak

Thanks for your comment, KG. The English major in me can’t bear to use “their,” but in conversational writing it seems stilted to constantly use “him or her.” And although I appreciate it exists, “hir” just seems too politically charged or, frankly, weird to use in a blog post about careers.

Mostly I try to write so that I wouldn’t need to use a pronoun in a sentence at all, but that can get really unreadable (try it!). That’s why I opt for switch the genders in my examples back and forth. I’d love to have a truly gender-inclusive pronoun that’s universally used, but until then it was just the Universal Boss Figure’s turn to identify as a lady.


Thanks for this article. I have been a nurse for 21 years. I have never hated a job a much as I hate my current one. Many of the people where I work feel stuck, they feel that they can’t do anything else. They don’t want to leave the organization because they are almost vested. I have only been at my current job a year and I have had one illness after another. I would like to get out of nursing, I have thoughts about other career paths, but I would have to take significant pay cut.