If you’re in your 20s and can’t stand your job, it might be time to consider looking elsewhere.
Research out of Ohio State University has found your first or second job out of university could have serious, long term impacts on your health.
Researchers surveyed more than 6,000 Americans between the ages of 14 and 22, from 1979 onward. Participants were required to record their job satisfaction periodically up until the age of 40.
Drawing on government data, they were able to simultaneously analyse the health of participants over the same period.
They found that if work makes you miserable in your 20s, your health is more likely to deteriorate in your 40s.
In fact, people who reported low job satisfaction over the course of their careers were found to have higher rates of depression and anxiety; had more issues with sleep; and experienced greater emotional problems. Their overall mental health scored markedly lower than those who enjoyed their work in their younger years.
Interestingly, it was also found that physical health suffered as a result of job dissatisfaction. Individuals who disliked their jobs as young adults reported a higher frequency of colds and were more likely to experience lower back pain.
The average twenty-something in Australia works more than 47 hours a week, which equates to over 2,200 hours a year. That is significantly more time than we spend with our family or friends. It is hardly surprising that working a job we don't enjoy can have severe and long-term effects on our mental and physical health.
But what if you absolutely hate your job, but you feel like you have no other options?
Youth unemployment is currently at 13.19 per cent, which means that when young people do land a job, they are intent on keeping it.
To put it simply, the average twenty-something isn't exactly spoiled for choice.
Mic's James Dennis posed the question on Money.Mic "What's an unhappy worker to do?" to a number of experts, and here's what they came up with:
- Ignore the external input and ask yourself what you're really good at.
Career coach Richard Leider says to consider your gifts (what your skills are), your passion (what makes you happy) and your values (what you believe in). Your ideal job should integrate all three. He also advises "ignoring distractions" like friends' promotions plastered across social media, and the expectations of family.
- Ask yourself: "What about this job don't I hate?"
Author and entrepreneur Jonas Koffler says that it's important to recognise the parts of your job you enjoy and excel at, as it's an effective way to "get noticed by future employers".
- Speak to a career counsellor.
Former therapist Susan David says that sometimes speaking to a stranger is just what you need. Often the distance offers some much needed perspective.
So, if you can't stand your job, let this be your wake up call.
If not for your own happiness, do it for your health.