I’m going to confide in you, readers. If I felt unhappy at a job, I would quit whenever I felt like it. I figure life's way too short to stay at a job I can’t stand. And according to science, this might be exactly the right attitude to have.
Scientists at Ohio State University say that if you're unhappy with your job, that negativity might come back to bite you later in life, according to CBS News. The scientists established a long term study in which they asked people to score their job satisfaction throughout their twenties and thirties. At the end of the study, the participants were given a mental health check.
The study, which was presented at the annual meeting of American Sociological Association, was lead by Jonathan Dirlam. The participants were followed from ages 25 to 39 and sorted into four groups over the course of the study. These groups were: consistent dissatisfaction, consistent satisfaction, low satisfaction to high satisfaction and high to low satisfaction. Forty-five percent of participants reported consistent dissatisfaction, while a mere 15 percent of participants expressed consistent satisfaction. Seventeen percent went from low satisfaction to high, and 23 percent went from high to low. Those who reported feelings of dissatisfaction, and even only initial satisfaction but later dissatisfaction, reported worse mental health later in their life. Those who reported consistent satisfaction or satisfaction that trended upward were less likely to report feelings of depression, problems with sleep and worrying.
Since the 1980s, people have reported less job satisfaction. Dirlam speculated this is due in part to low job security, as jobs are less guaranteed in past generations. That being said, there could be a number of contributing factors that play a part in this decline. For example, newer generations are more aware of their emotions, the job market is wider and overall tougher than previous generations, and our generation has less defined career paths and a deeper desire for career growth in companies that share their ideals.
At the end of the day, I guess the deeper lesson would be that loving your job should be pretty high up on your list of priorities.