Why Do People Hate Their Jobs?

I limped out of the meeting and said, “excuse me”, and took the elevator down 67 stories, went to Grand Central, limped home, and never went back to work at that job.

I never returned the constant phone calls and emails over the next month. “James, where did you go?”

For all I know my name is still on my office door and my name is still on their website. I’ve never checked.

I just didn’t feel like going back or talking to them ever again.

A few days earlier I had discussed with the managing partner how I would get paid if I brought in a huge deal. He smiled and said, “Trust me, James, I always take care of everyone.”

When someone says “trust me” or “I will make you rich” then I know general f***ness will result. 

The other thing that happened,spooked me. I was walking with a few of my “colleagues” to lunch at some crap sandwich place on Wall Street. Suddenly I was on the ground. I had fallen straight down for no reason. I limped for the next three weeks.

So my body told me to quit also. I try to listen to my body. Else I can’t sleep or crap or move properly. In this case, my body didn’t even want me to walk.

Whenever things are good I always worry about what could go wrong.

And whenever things are bad it always seems like they will never get better. It’s not depression. It’s how the human brain works after one million years of avoiding predators. 

Every day I try to practice reversing that. I do that by listening to the body, the mind, being grateful, being around positive people, sleeping a lot, eating well.

But having a job and being controlled by Masters ruins the practice.

Some new study just came out and said more than 50% of people hate their jobs, for the first time ever.

What? For the first time ever? I doubt that.

Someone on quora asked me: why do people hate their jobs? I answered: 

Note, not everyone hates their jobs. There are some “entre-ployees” out there that love their jobs. But for the other 98% of the population:

– Jobs are modern-day slavery. We are paid just enough to live and not more. You are punished if you ask for more.

– We are often verbally abused on the job and we take it because we think it’s normal that people would yell at us.

– The government gets up to 50% of your paycheck and then 10-20% of that goes to kill people on other parts of the planet, including our own children.

– We are deluded into thinking our job-friends are our real-friends. With our job friends we talk about pens, genitals, and cubicles. We stop having real-friends.

– There’s a glass ceiling. It doesn’t matter if you are a woman or minority or a white man. The glass ceiling is that you aren’t allowed to make more than your Master, even if he’s an idiot.

– From 7am to 7pm you are either A) going to work, B) at work, or C) coming back from work. Hence, the times when you can be most creative are garbage-compacted into your cubicle.

– You eat shit at work. And, even worse, you have to shit next to your co-workers and Masters. Unless, like I have, you make a map of all the secret bathrooms in your local urban blight.

– When you are paranoid at a job, you are probably correct. THEY are, in fact, talking about you and backstabbing you right now.

– You realize that all the dollars you spent on degrees to get you a job that will make you happy were completely wasted. You were scammed but you can’t let the next generation know how stupid you were so now you become part of perpetuating the scam.

– A trillion dollar marketing campaign forced you to buy a house you didn’t really want and now you will “lose a house” you never really owned if you don’t bow down to the Masters every day. The words “The American Dream” were coined by Fannie Mae in a marketing campaign 40 years ago to sell mortgages to slaves.

– Your spouse is tired of hearing about your job after six months. And you couldn’t care less about hers. Ten years later you wake up next to a total stranger. 40 years later you die next to one.

– Your IRA was not intended to provide for your retirement. It was intended to take money from you every month so you remain chained to your cubicle. Inflation then takes 90% of your IRA.

– When you were a kid you liked to draw, and read, and run, and laugh, and play, and imagine a magical world. You’re never going to do any of that again.

– Over time everyone is getting fired and being replaced by younger, cheaper, more temporary, more robotic, versions of you. You see this but are afraid to do anything about it.

– You see homeless people and think, “there but for the grace of God go I”.

This is not meant to be depressing. Nor does it mean everyone hates their jobs. There are many ways to be an “entre-ployee” where you don’t have the standard job. To be clear: There are more opportunities than ever. But you have to prepare the body and mind and spirit to find those opportunities.

Then you take the magic pill and the tears of dirt wipe away. Come here, pretty baby, and let me hug you.

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  • Guest

    As an HR Manager I have worked at three different plants where someone tossed their feces around the rest room or planted it in the shop for co-workers to unexpectedly find… surprise!!!

    I had a janitor once that cried tears to me when he had to clean one bathroom up a second time. His boss said, “Do it or you’re fired!” So Tyvek suit, gloves and respirator were donned and off he went… Whistle while you work!!!

    At another plant someone periodically left feces in strategic locations over my 4.5 year tenure for co-workers to happenstance upon. In the last work life survey one employee rightfully complained vehemently and their solution, “Get a new HR man.” as if, I was some bumbling Clouseau unable to track down the Phantom Crapper.

    MORAL OF THE STORY; There are allot of sick MF’ers out there. Don’t be one of them.

  • Guest

    No damn way. You’re the undisputed champion of the world and you’ve taken 1st place by the largest of margins ever recorded. I did the same thing 10 years ago after losing another horrid HR job. Sold my home and made some cash on the grossly overinflated bubble, gave away everything but a few possessions… records/CD’s, Indian silver jewelry, books, fine art prints… and downsized to U-Haul capable.

    I’ve lost a few more jobs since and am looking once again as I need the medical benefits or think I do anyway having never used the damn thing. I’ve never quit a job forcing a generous severance package as I ‘knew too much’ and they really fear employment lawyers and wrongful discharge claims though I’ve no time for messy lawsuits preferring to obtain UC and references to move along. A few months of unemployment does the body good.

    Although in my early fifties with my parents thankfully still alive I am awaiting the day when either they or I go away and if, the former occurs it’s game on. 401k cashed (screw the tax penalty I’ll gladly give up a hot dog for a ham any day), bank accounts closed, passport/visa and back pack at the ready as I plan to ski the planet. When it’s all said and done and the money is gone I’ll be a jumper and take flight on the wings of angels over a 1000 ft. precipice of my own choosing. No burial plan necessary as the earth and it’s creature can enjoy a fine meal on the carcass of the greatest man (that’s not a boast nor a lie) to have ever graced this or any other planet.

    My advice… hang in there and cause as much fucking hell as humanly possible.

  • Frank229

    I know you’re busy with the book (got it, read it, loved it), but are you still doing these profiles or did I miss them somehow? I think this would be a super-valuable tool to have in our arsenal of inspiration. I’d especially love to hear the stories of people who did it while having jobs that DID pay extremely well and had kids and a difficult to tweak lifestyle. Right now I’m just saving. Wife is onboard with trying different things, we just need some reserves. And we’re successful freelancers in television, so it’s always easy to go back to the teet for some more cash.

  • Daniel

    Nice, I think that’s how the world works.

  • Bill Tappan

    I salute you for echoing my life long complaint. I’ve always hated my job (s), I was literally a slave. I gave up my talents, hopes, aspirations, and my dreams to punch a clock for ass holes who never appreciated loyalty, hard work and dedication. I was discarded like canon fodder after ten years simply because I disagreed with the latest idiot manager who had no idea of what the hell she was doing, and simply chose to blame the “slaves” for the chaos her inept management caused. Thankfully I was “put out to pasture” at 58 because of a on the job injury which through a series of events too convoluted to go into, I sued the company for wrongful termination and discrimination, whereas I received a tidy settlement and my social security.
    Happily I’m back to being a kid and I’m now having a ball!

  • Jack

    I have worked day and night from 17 to 28 in different companies just to reach a certain level of experience to get that ideal job. After I got it I believed this is it! After 6 months I realized the joke of a life I was having. Sure, dressed fine, eating out, having money all the time I was lying to myself life is good. Then it struck me, all my young years never step in a club, never had a girlfriend, never did anything crazy for what, a cubicle?
    In 11 years of hard work I had to swallow all kind of idiotic talks and work methods from stupid team leaders and ass kissing animals.
    Now I feel reborn again working for my self. Hate that my parents taught me to be a slave, worst advice ever.

  • Caesars

    The moment i’ve decided to start my new business, my mom said: Are you crazy? You want to go to jail? Can’t you see on TV that all the business man are getting sued and arrested. :))) So i feel you on that one bro.

  • Spongebob loves his job,,,,,,

  • TchrGert

    How Fkkn boring!!!! SO sick of listening to other people’s boring nonsense lives.
    I work for a school district. An urban school district in decay, so it could be any where.

    Our Superintendent has a new plan to attract the Best and Brightest to serve our children by cutting our salaries and benefits.

    Yes!!! that should work brilliantly to have people lined up around the corner to teach 33 challenging children w/ no aide, no supplies, and substandard facilities.

    So the insanity and the waste is NOT limited to the corporate world!!

    The shennnanigans that goes on with our “support staff” coming in with Fastfood breakfast, spending the next 2-3 hours hiding in some hidden office talking about what they are going to do for lunch, emerging periodically to peer into the classrooms and shriek accross the room to berate teachers who have 5 times the education of these supposed “support staff” is utterly soul-crushing!!!!

    So its not just the corporate world! Its the entire system!!
    The Blogs that could be written about the soullessness of the public education system could blow your mind!! Talk about “General Fuckness”!!!! That is the very essence of the system!!

    As soon as you hear from a Superintendent or High Administrator that “Children Come first” or “Every child can learn and we can make it happen” RUN for the hills because its all rhetoric that couldn’t be further from the truth!!
    They are all committed to their paychecks and political grand standing to find the next gig!! They are “Entreparasites of the Educational System” draining what they can, only to move onto another beleaguered system and drain that as well.

  • J. Alec West

    Some financial advisers refer to it as the “4-40 Plan.” You spend 4 years in a high school that teaches you “just enough” knowledge to enable you to work 40 years for “someone else.”

    When is the last time you saw a high school that teaches “aspiration” or “rugged individualism?” In truth, and for decades, our public school system has had but one purpose … to crank out the next generation of economic slaves to work for those who didn’t succumb to the same conditioning – choosing to “rise above it” to chart their own path in life.

    It seems odd to me, though, that the vast majority of employers don’t realize why their employees are unhappy. And, they spend countless dollars each year to attend workshops and seminars on “employee motivation.” If they only spent a little time looking in the mirror, they’d find the answer – that “loving” a job function must come before the job – that this love is it’s own motivation.

    Instead, they waste their time and money on motivational workshops & seminars giving them the tools to apply amateur psychology on their employees – in hopes of tricking them into being motivated to work for them. Problem is, after new-hire euphoria wears off, employees begin to realize that they’re just a cog in someone else’s gear. And, they begin to resent it because, deep-down, they have their own aspirations – separate from their boss’s aspirations.

  • J. Alec West

    I’m 63 and retired now. But after leaving the military at 23, I decided to wear my hair long (in a ponytail). And even now, I still wear my hair the same way. I know this decision cost me at least two jobs. But, I decided to stick by my decision. And one time, while not losing the job, I did push my luck with one (grin).

    I worked for the VA Regional Office in Portland, Oregon. They’re now called the Department of Veteran Affairs. One day, I was sitting in my cubicle doing my work when I heard Dick, the Assistant VSO (Veteran’s Service Officer – like a VP) and the office attorney (Sam) saying disparaging things about men with long hair. Unlike me, Sam had a distinctively bald head and Dick was almost bald.

    When I heard Sam say, “You just can’t trust those long-hairs,” I stood up, faced them both, and said, “Is someone talking about me?”

    Startled, they both looked in my direction. Sam gave me a steely-eyed grin and said, “I was just telling Dick that grass doesn’t grow on a busy street.” I thought about it for a second, looked directly at Sam’s bald head and replied, “You’re right, Sam. It only grows where it’s fertile,” as I sat back down.

    Hehe. No repercussions (as far as I know) – and I left my job voluntarily in a couple of years to pursue greener pastures. FWIW, the office VSO (aka president) was an older gentleman and we got along famously. But his Assistant VSO was often-times a jerk … but not as much so as the attorney.

  • J. Alec West

    I think you are blessed to work for a boss who is willing to think outside the box to accept opinions that run counter to his own. Unfortunately, a lot of bosses aren’t that “evolved.”

    In my last few weeks working for the Postal Service before I retired (30 yrs.), my supervisor was giving a pep talk to some newly-hired workers about the “great” future of the Postal Service (grin). I walked over to them and interjected myself into the conversation – saying this (approximately):

    When my granddaughter is old enough to travel, I’ll take her with me on a trip to Washington, DC – to visit the Smithsonian. While we’re walking past the antique exhibits, she’ll stop me, point toward one of them, and exclaim, “Grandpa, what’s that?!?!?” I’ll look at it and reply, “Oh, that. Back in my day, we called those things mailboxes.”

    I’ll explain to her that people used to communicate by writing letters with pen and paper. Then they’d fold the letter up, place it into an envelope, and put a postage stamp on it. Then, they’d deposit the envelope into a mailbox – and the recipient, if they lived locally, would get the letter the very next day. But in the middle of my explanation, we’ll hear a “BEEP BEEP BEEP” sound. And she’ll interrupt me to say, “Excuse me, Grandpa, but I’m getting an instant text message from my text-pal in Australia.”

    THAT is the future of the Postal Service.


    As I walked away, I could see that my supervisor was unhappy with my comment, hehehe. But with only a few weeks to retirement, there wasn’t much he could do about it.

  • I’ll Take My Chances

    I’m 23 years old and I got a B.S. in chemical engineering last December. I started working at a refinery this March. I quit yesterday morning.

    My group was full of much older guys who were to retire in the next year or so. I consider it a blessing, seeing as they gave me a clear, nasty view of the future. These men had followed all the rules for 20 – 30 years apiece–worked endless overtime. Obeyed their bosses. Shown up on time every day. Were they rewarded for doing everything “right”? For being so “good”?

    One of those old men, Dave, lost his wife to MS four months ago. I sat in his office and told him I was quitting. He looked out the window at the towers and columns of the refinery spewing smoke under the blazing sun–which, by the way, NEVER STOP RUNNING and closely resemble the Land of Mordor, and said, “All of my work…all of the work I did at this place…it’s gone.”

    This was terribly sad. I said, “but you cared for your wife–no one on Earth would have cared for her the way you did.”

    “But she’s gone now–and so all my work is gone.” And his eyes welled up with tears which he quickly wiped away. I couldn’t believe this was really happening. I was sorry, very sorry for him.

    My boss–an unusually nice person–is a fantastic engineer. Very energetic, respectful, extremely knowledgeable–due to retire in 2 years. Do you know what Dave told me he said the other day?

    “We’ve wasted our lives.”

    I’m sure it was delivered in a jesting tone but why on earth would he say it if he didn’t mean it?

    Apparently he never used to talk like that until a few years ago, once he realized he had really become old. And that this was “all there was”.

    The way I figure, they must have been subconsciously trying to get me to leave all along. How can I listen to all of this and stay in the system?–and it IS a system, a terrible one.

    There is NO PAYOFF. If you live your life in an unhappy way, waiting for the day when you will finally be SAFE and HAPPY and SECURE, you’re doing it wrong. Why on earth would you postpone living until you’ve only got a few years and a decrepit body left, damn it?!

    I’m out. For better or for worse–I’m out.

  • Linmayu

    Great post, I found it while writing my own article on why people hate their jobs. :) I think you’ve pretty much covered it on the reasons why. Why I don’t hate mine? Because I’ve made a point to “draw, and read, and run, and laugh, and play, and imagine a magical world,” and do the other things I love, daily. And to lay the foundation for the happy day that I’ll walk out of an office, never again to return to the corporate world.

  • kataka

    I am in the same predicament! I quit my job back in February and am running low on savings. The stress to find a “real” job has been taking a toll on me. I’ve been dreaming about living in a self-sustaining commune or something of the sort for some time now. Googling Ecovillages now! As soon as I find one in a country I like I will plan my way out of here!

  • SpiritualNurse Sandy

    What a depressing post!! Is this supposed to make me wanna buy your book?

  • Sherzod-aka Jawzjani

    I know that everyone says you have to work for yourself it is so
    fantastic feeling not have boss on your shoulder, but what to do with
    children who i take care of, i dont want them to feel bad if i start my
    own business but incomes will be less than im making now working for

  • trupretty

    I had about 30 jobs since the age of 15, I’m 25. I hate every job I’ve worked at. Most managers are underqualified, and uneducated, lack leadership skills and don’t know how to motivate or encourage their employees, so they start to say that people are incompetent when they’re the ones who are the idiots. They ask for feedback, and then if you give it to them you’re “negative” because you didn’t come off all sweet and artificial about real issues that need to be addressed. They preach about an open door policy because they have to, it’s all corporate bullshit, meanwhile all the middle managers and their leads are talking crap about the associates rather than providing direct coaching and positive feedback.

    I checked myself into a behavioral health clinic.They tell me, I’m ocpd, I have anxiety issues, moods are unstable which is why I can’t keep jobs, but I don’t know… sure I’m a little bit of a perfectionist but I have great qualities; empathy, cultural awareness, interpersonal skills, emotional Intelligence, I have a strong work ethic, I love to keep busy, I’m a quick learner, I’m a creative learner, and I value my autonomy at work. Sure maybe the fact that I can’t keep jobs, because of my inordinary set of skills, causes anxiety but I don’t think the cause of my unstable job life has to do with anything other than I hate the idiots who I end up working for. That’s pretty normal isn’t it…

  • Hector

    Why we do what we do.

    A group of scientists placed 5 monkeys in a cage and in the middle, a ladder with bananas on the top. Every time a monkey went up the ladder, the scientists soaked the rest of the monkeys with cold water. After a while, every time a monkey went up the ladder, the others beat up the one on the ladder. After some time, no monkey dare[d] to go up the ladder regardless of the temptation.

    Scientists then decided to substitute one of the monkeys. The 1st thing this new
    monkey did was to go up the ladder. Immediately the other monkeys beat him up.
    After several beatings, the new member learned not to climb the ladder even though he never knew why.
    A 2nd monkey was substituted and the same occurred. The 1st monkey participated on the beating for the 2nd monkey. A 3rd monkey was changed and the same was repeated (beating). The 4th was substituted and the beating was repeated.

    What was left was a group of 5 monkeys that even though never received a cold shower, continued to beat up any monkey who attempted to climb the ladder.

    If it was possible to ask the monkeys why they would beat up all those who attempted to go up the ladder … I bet you the answer would be … “I don’t know — that’s how things are done around here”

    Does it sound familiar?

  • Alejandro Jimenez

    First comment I make on this blog, I like your posts, you make it sound easy to quit your job, or maybe my fear makes it sound difficult.

    I hate my job sometimes, others I’m just fine.

    Everyone around here tell me that to get a better job I have to get a degree.

    To get stuck in college for 5 years so I can learn stuff from a decade ago so the guys that are working now have more experience in the job, then I’ll need a diploma, or a masters or something to get on board.

    Then the younger people going to college can replace me because they are a little bit ahead of me because what they learned is a little bit more updated.

    Why am I writing this anyway?

    A couple of hours ago, on my 1 and a half hours commute I started reading “Metamorfosis” yeah, with “f”, it’s in Spanish.

    And… Ok my boss is coming, let’s talk later.