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Why do people continue working for bad companies?

From the mailbag: Why do people continue to work for bad companies?

Brief answer: because it is easy.

What did I just say? I know, I know, the HR Guy has fallen off his rocker again. The stress at work must be unbearable.

The status quo is always easier though. It is always easier not to change. Change encompasses a whole range of emotions and uncertainties in life. Emotions that are uncomfortable for most people (like am I good enough?). Being rejected. Taking a pay cut. Doing something you really like.

Yes, even the fear of dropping your bad company for the picture perfect opportunity can have its range of negative emotions. After all, failing at the very thing you love is a huge blow. Failing at something you hate is much easier to stomach.

And that’s what keeps bad companies in business. Once you’ve finished a job search, you don’t want to restart it again. The job search being a miserable experience helps a bunch but staying with a bad company is simply easier than finding something else.

Finding something else means extra effort outside of work. It means possibly starting on a new career path. It means possibly taking a pay/benefit cut. And no, that’s not ideal but nobody said it would be. Making a decision to leave a bad company is either made through desperation or through very difficult work and sacrifices.

And while I’d love to believe that every single one of my employees are happy with where there are, chances are that at least a few are resenting their decisions to come to work for us but are putting up with it because it is easy. Possibly one day, they will take the difficult road to leave on their own but for now, they will stay. Because it is easier. And because even bad is safe.

By Lance Haun

Strategy for The Starr Conspiracy. Former HR pro. Portland guy (Go Blazers!) and WSU alum (Go Cougs!). I get to write about what I want here.

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