How to avoid taking a job you will hate

By David Joel Miller

How long before you hate that job?



Some jobs are terrible at first look. You can tell you will hate them from a distance. But a lot of other jobs fool you. You think they will be “OK.” But after a few weeks or mouths, maybe years, you discover you hate this job.

But a lot of other jobs fool you. You think they will be “OK.” But after a few weeks or mouths, maybe years, you discover you hate this job.

After a few weeks or mouths, maybe years, you discover you hate this job.

How can you avoid a job you will hate?

One important factor is the fit between the job and the person who fills that position. Here is an example of how job fit affects loving or hating your job.

A large company had a number of jobs available. One was in the data entry department. The person who gets this one will sit all day in a cubicle and enters data on a computer screen. Most of the time they will work from a large stack of forms and there is little interaction with others.

The other position is a data collector. This person walks up and down a mall and asks people if they will be willing to answer a few questions. When someone says yes, they then spend the next few minutes asking that person questions, getting their opinions on things.

Some of you have already decided which job you want just from the descriptions.

So, one person, let’s call him Bob, comes for the interview and this person is very shy. Bob hates being around crowds. He gets nervous just talking to strangers.

The second applicant, Let’s call her Nancy, loves talking to people. Someone new is the high point of their day. The thought of having to be cooped up in a cubical all day sounds like Nancy’s idea of hell.

So what would happen if outgoing Nancy gets the job to enter the data, and shy Bob gets assigned to go to the mall?

Would things work better if Shy Bob gets the computer job and outgoing Nancy gets the interview job?

This example illustrates two things at work. The fit for the job is the best predictor of how happy the person is likely to be on the job. Job satisfaction is also a big predictor of how well that employee will perform.

The second thing this example illustrates is how important it is to pick people for the qualities they really have not for stereotypes.

It would be easy to expect Bob, the man, to be better at going out and meeting people and Nancy, the woman, to be the shy one who would want to stay in the office.

This fallacy results in some people getting hired because they look or act a certain way, rather than because they are the best person for the job.  So a good way to avoid a job you will come to hate is to take a hard look at yourself, what you like and do not like and aim for the job that will make best use of your talents and will not ask you to do things that are among your least favorite things to do list.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books


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