Should you keep the job you hate?

October 17, 2021

“Hey Peter, should I keep doing this thing that I don’t enjoy?”

You’d be surprised at how often I get a variation of that question.

  • Should I keep the job I hate?
  • Should I stay “friends” with this person who treats me poorly?
  • Should I continue working with that client who’s a jerk?
  • Should I stay in a relationship with my partner even though they don’t meet my emotional needs?

Maybe I’m more ruthless than others at saying no to poor matches and that’s why people ask me. I’m not sure.

I do know that I have learned the lesson—many times, actually—that it’s better to avoid partial matches. The job that pays well but leaves you no free time? The relationship in which you share some hobbies but the sex is bad? Get out of there!

It’s difficult to say no to partial matches when you feel scarcity, that is when you think it’ll be difficult to find a better match. Conversely, if you feel abundance, meaning you’re confident that you can easily find a job/friend/client/partner who is a great match, you’ll easily reject bad matches.

When I got out of my previous romantic relationship, I was tired of jumping from one (bad) relationship into the next. I decided that before starting a new relationship, I would go on lots of dates with different women, to get a good feel for what sort of person I wanted to spend most of my time with.

And I did exactly that; I went on at least dozens of dates with different women. Many dates sucked, of course. But many others were good and some were great. And I always learned something.

Today, I have a fantastic relationship and I am confident that it’s right for me because I’ve seen what other possibilities are out there.

So if you have trouble letting go of a situation that deep down you know is bad, let yourself enter an information-gathering period. Go on lots of dates. Try a bunch of different jobs. Don’t commit to one potential match until you feel confident that you know what you want.

There’s no shame in this—in the long run, it’s better for everyone if you take the time to figure out what you want.

Good luck!

Join the 3,500 people who love my newsletter

Every Sunday, I send a productivity-themed newsletter. It’s meant to get you thinking and to remind you of the big picture.

Thank you! Please check your inbox to confirm your email address.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

When you subscribe, you’ll receive my weekly newsletter on productivity. I will also send you a few emails about how I can help you. You can unsubscribe anytime.