Q&A Wednesday: Why do women stay in a job they don’t like?

Welcome to Q&A Wednesday on KWaK!

This week, we tackle the dilemma many women face: working at a job they hate!  We asked executive coach & career development expert Darcy Eikenberg, ACC:

Why do women stay in a job they don’t like?

Darcy Eikenberg headshot (blue)
“The answer is a four-letter word: FEAR.

Often, we’ll allow ourselves to be unhappy and undervalued at work because we’re too afraid to take a step toward change. We think that change takes a lot of time, energy, and resources, and we tell ourselves we’re just too busy, tired, broke, etc. But the truth is that we’re afraid.

We’re afraid we don’t know what we really want. We’re afraid we’re not good enough for something better. We’re afraid if we try to change, and fail, it will only make us feel more stuck, trapped, and overwhelmed. That’s why we stay. The real question is: how can we change our life at work, without changing everything in our life?

In my work, I’ve discovered three simple things we can do right now.

1. Get Clarity. Take a moment to understand who you are when you’re at your best. Pay attention to the work you do that lifts you up, and note what gets you excited and motivated. Paying attention to how you feel is one of the best ways to gain clarity about what you want.

2. Build Confidence. Start thinking—and talking—about things you’re proud of (and not just your children or pets, but your own accomplishments and challenges.) Recognize everything you HAVE done so far in your career and life, and resist the urge to compare yourself to others.

3. Take Control. Most people believe they have no control over their life at work. But the truth is you control everything you say, do, and think. Start conducting an experiment to change one small thing—for example, swap the thought “I’m not smart enough to get promoted” with “I’ve been promoted in the past, so I must be smart enough to do it again.” Experiment with saying something different (instead of deflecting a compliment on your project, say “Thank you. I’m proud of the result.”) When you look at the choices you make each day, you’ll see you have more control than you think.

When you get clarity, build confidence, and take control, you’ll have the tools to wipe away fear, and start moving away from a job you hate toward a life you can love.”


Executive coach & career development expert Darcy Eikenberg, ACC, is the author of “Bring Your Superpowers to Work: Your Guide to More Clarity, Confidence & Control.” A frequent speaker and media guest, she also writes regularly on her blog at www.RedCapeRevolution.com, where you can sign up for free career tools including our Change Your Life at Work toolkit.

Twitter: @RedCapeRev





privacy policy.

Your email will never be shared with a third party. We'll only use it to notify you of our launch and of special events taking place in your city. You'll have the opportunity to unsubscribe at any time, immediately, once you receive your first email.