Career Risk – Staying Has More Risk Than Leaving

“I despise my job.”  

As a career coach, I hear is phrase a lot.  I also hear: “I’m thinking of doing something else but at the end of the day I do not want to take the risk and leave my secure job.”

It is very common for people to be highly focused on the risks that may come with quitting.  But, have you thought about what you are potentially losing by staying?  

I recently was working with an unhappy insurance executive from Farmington, CT. I went through my checklist for those who are truly unhappy with their jobs. 

1) She had been miserable at her current job for at least 8 years. [not a temporary feeling – check]

Her employer and coworkers were going to stay the same the same for the most part.  [same people – check].

Her tangible work would not change. [same work activity – check].


She was unhappy.  Her career had peaked.  So, unless she worked really hard, she would likely not advance much more or make more money.  

Her risk of staying in a career she did not like: 

She would be unhappy and lose any potential feelings of meaning. And, it was nearly certain that her dissatisfaction would only increase over time.  She would likely get fired.  It is very difficult to be good at what you do if you do not enjoy it. I’ve written about this elsewhere so I won’t elaborate.  Ultimately, staying at her job seemed to be the bigger risk to me than leaving.