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The Cost of Hating Your Job

The Cost of Hating Your Job

The last few years of the economic downturn has left us with new social mores, trends, and levels of what we will and won’t accept in ourselves, companies, and our elected officials. It has also brought us a new vocabulary. I do not remember the word “under-employed” before 2008. It was a much-needed designation describing the section of our workforce who had taken a job just to have a job, even if they were overqualified for it. I have seen brilliant people who made $100/hour a few years ago, happily take a $20/hour job. That is under-employed. I respect their work ethic and am excited to have seen first-hand how things are turning around.

Around the second quarter of 2011, I began to see an interesting trend with manufacturing companies hunting down Purchasing Managers. This is an excellent sign of improving conditions. The fight we were having in the staffing industry was getting companies to pay more for the quality they were able to get for the same dollar a year ago. During bad times, employers can get a $100/hour executive for $20/hour. They are the last to convince they are going to have to pay a few more dollars, or face a lengthy and expensive bout of turnovers. The other day, I smiled when I found out a company was still trying to hire for a position that opened up over a year ago. It’s Economics 101. Their requirements are easily for a $60,000 a year position, but they won’t budge upwards of $40,000. And yet they are baffled when their new-hires jump ship for a better offer less than a month later. It is fun to know when I am right. Lower your standards, or raise your price.

Even though corporations were holding their breath as the election loomed, they are now learning to breathe again. They should be learning some new vocabulary of their own… loyalty. That is where you come in. I have heard every “bad-job” sob story and even had a few of my own. I understand that it is much harder, and much more frightening, to risk losing something you possess than to never gain something you don’t. However, most of the hundreds of under-employed people I have spoken with are understandably unable to see outside of their very depressing and frustrating situation. So I want to tell you a typical story I have heard too many times…

“Should I leave my current job for one making $2 less/hour?” This is precisely why I do what I do.

Here are just a few of the common conditions I hear on a regular basis:

  • Current job is so bad you are having to spend an average of $400/month for medical expenses including but not limited to doctors’ visits, new medications: blood pressure, sleep meds, & anti-depressants.
  • Current job pays (for easy math) $20/hour. A quick calculation to get that in a yearly salary is to multiply that by 2000.

For example, $20 hour x (40 hours/week x 50 work weeks/year) = $40,000

  • New job has better office culture/environment, same benefits, more opportunity for advancement, a company with a solid financial track record, includes management status, and more.

So if you are spending $4800/year on out of pocket medical expenses, a cut of your income by ($2/hour) $4000/year will still put you ahead by $800 and a better mental state.

Now, let’s consider the bigger picture. If your current dollar/hour worth is $20, look at just how much a horrible job may be infiltrating your life and your wallet.

Here are some colorful examples to consider.

  1. It takes you 1 hour to unwind after work:  $20 x 20 = $400/month (Stop laughing and shaking your head at it ONLY being 1 hour).
  2. You need 1 extra beer/glass of wine to help:  $2 x 20 = $40/month.
  3. Extra cost to eat out at lunch because you are too stressed to shop/cook/pack a lunch:  $5 x 20 = $100/month.
  4. Comfort food for emotional support aka Twizzler Budget = $20/month.
  5. Professional Counseling, Lower cost is $60/visit:  $60 x 2 = $120/month.
  6. Vacation time used up by doctors’ visits (in hours):  $20 x 5   = $100/month.

I could go on, but a very conservative estimate of just the fringe is an extra $780/month.

If we tacked on the $400 in out of pocket expenses for medical, the total jumps to $1180/month.

Here is another one to consider. Does the thought of living without cable scare the crap out of you? While not solely a financial decision, I save over $100 a month by having only NetFlix. A typical response when people hear this is “Man I could never live without cable. That is what helps me unwind after work.” Bingo. Mediation is free. The library is free. Taking a walk is free. If you want to hear my entire stance on this, feel free to read one of my older posts, Kill Your Television.

What if the new job is in an area with a lower cost of living? Charlotte, NC has a cost of living around 104% of the national average. Spartanburg, SC is almost 20% less than that. Do the math before you move. This will get you started: http://www.bls.gov/dolfaq/bls_ques2.htm

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is also a great place to get salary information. Before you let someone else tell you what they think you are worth, consult the national averages. At a MINIMUM, take the following into account: Cost of living in the area, Revenue Size of the Company, the job description/functional role, your experience and educational background. I hate to admit that I left $10,000 on the table for a job simply because I was so excited to have a job. When I moved on a few years later, I learned that my replacement was less qualified, paid almost $10,000 more, and they had to hire the additional employees I had always begged for. That is what I get for resenting the 80 hours a week I was giving them…on salary. I was young. I was female. And I hadn’t done my homework to know what I was really worth.

Now this is where I may create some enemies. I can walk into any office and have every employee write down the name of the office tyrant/problem employee/asshole/evil witch/etc. If I were to get brutal honesty in their responses, more often than not, those pieces of paper would have the same name on them. If you can’t think of who it may be, it may be you. I never understood why organizations hold on to problem employees. I know we have become a “law-suit –shy” society, but most of the time you are biting the hands that feed you; namely your best employees. Firing a problem employee may cost an employer $10,000 in unemployment, but it may mean they keep employees that will help make $500,000 in their tenure with the company.

Whether you are the “crappy” employee or the “crapped-on” employee, consult an attorney. I have several I can recommend. I have been in a situation where I swore the “crappy” employee HAD to have had compromising pictures of the boss with a goat. Still to this day, I do not know why they never fired Crappy McEvilton. Over the next few years, not firing that one employee cost that company almost their entire staff and additional lawsuits from such a hostile work environment.

Have you ever had someone say “this tastes TERRIBLE” and keep eating it? My favorite parable that is comparable to most situations in life is about a hound dog. A man walks up to an old country store. An older man is sitting on the front porch rocking with a big hound dog sitting beside him. The hound dog is whining in pain. The first man thinks this is peculiar but continues into the store. On the way out, he passes the older man and the hound dog is still whining in pain. The man says, “Sir, it sounds like your dog is in pain.” The older man says, “He is. He’s lying on a nail.” “Why doesn’t he move?” asks the first man. The older man replies, “It doesn’t hurt bad enough.”

All job situations are not that easy to get out of. Trust me, I have heard and seen it all. There have been times when I was comparing the cost of jail time to the satisfaction and comfort of punching a fellow employee in the face. Heck, they have cable in prison! (That’s a joke people) Also, “Jumping ship” may not be the answer. I am very lucky to have parents who are able and willing to support me during transitions. The one thing I know for sure is that you can make your situation better. Books, statistics, therapists, exercise, and of course, Motivation & Achievement Concepts. (haha) I am not promising you that changing will be easy or painless, but there is no excuse to keep lying on that nail.

Here are some recommendations to get you started:

The Coming Jobs War

http://www.amazon.com/Coming-Jobs-War-Jim-Clifton/dp/1595620559/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1356661965&sr=1-1&keywords=the+coming+jobs+war

Whale Done

http://www.amazon.com/Whale-Done-Power-Positive-Relationships/dp/074323538X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1356661857&sr=8-1&keywords=whale+done+book

Personality Plus

http://www.amazon.com/Personality-Plus-Florence-Littauer/dp/8183220002/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1356661929&sr=1-2&keywords=personality+plus

 

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