When You’re Not Happy With Your Job, But You Can’t Afford To Quit

Updated: January 20, 2024

This article is also a Reblog episode. Click play to listen to it instead:

“I don’t like my job anymore,” says a friend to me. “But I can’t quit because I’m supporting my family.”

“Have you tried finding another job?” I asked.

“I am trying to look for one,” he replied. “But those I found don’t pay as much as my salary now.”

“So just keep looking,” I advised.

“Yes, that’s the plan. But every day’s really a struggle. What can I do?”

Instantly, I remembered a time when I had a job that I didn’t like, and I had to drag myself out of bed each morning back then just to go to work.

I wanted to quit so bad, but I couldn’t afford it, for I was deep in credit card debts, paying for several loans, and helping my parents put my two brothers through college.

How did I ever survive those years? From what I recall, here are the five things that helped me cope and allowed me to change my situation.


1. Be grateful that you have a job

The easiest way to change your mood is to remember that many are unemployed, and fortunately, you are not one of them.

Think about other people who are in worse situations than you, especially those who are earning less but working harder than you. Think about them, and it won’t take long before you start feeling better.

It may seem cruel, but scientific studies on the Social Comparison Theory show that comparing yourself against those who are doing worse can help boost your self-esteem.

So before quitting your job, remember that some people don’t even have jobs.

2. Don’t let your feelings affect your work

This is hard to do, but it is possible if you have the right mindset.

The key is to remember that you don’t need to be a great employee, just don’t be a bad one. This means you need to always come and leave work on time and do your job properly in between those hours.

Be a good employee that produces expected results. Then use your free time and extra energy to plan how you can find a better job.

By the way, the assumption here is that you really want to leave your current job, and you just can’t afford it. If you’re not wholeheartedly decided on quitting, then you should try to resolve your work issues first.

Reading this can help: Should You Quit Your Job If You’re Unhappy at Work?

3. Start planning your exit

Stop complaining. Doing this will not solve anything. Instead, start planning by first asking yourself, “What exactly do I want?”

Do you just want a better job? Do you want to shift to another field? Do you want to become a freelancer? Or do you want to start your own business instead?

You can’t move forward unless you know where you want to go.

Once you’ve decided, the next steps will become more obvious, and it will be easier to concretely plan for it. Write down your goal, and break them into several phases and must-do tasks. Devote your time and energy towards accomplishing these.

4. Think of your present as your “Funding Phase.”

My goal back then was to quit my job and shift to another field. Particularly, I wanted to leave Engineering and transfer to the I.T. industry.

Interestingly, my problem was not finding a new I.T. job but getting one that will pay me as much as what I was currently receiving. But since I was changing industries, that was close to impossible to happen.

So I knew I would eventually have to accept a job offer that pays less. But before I do that, I decided to accomplish several things first:

  • Get out of debt
  • Minimize my expenses to maximize my savings
  • Create an emergency fund
  • Learn I.T. skills to improve my starting salary.

At this point, nothing has really changed in my life except my mindset – but that’s already a big change!

I stopped complaining about my job, and I started feeling excited every morning because, in my mind – each day at work earns me income that takes me closer to my goal.

Each payday, I am progressing towards getting out of debt and creating my emergency fund. Meanwhile, I was able to minimize my expenses because instead of going out on weekends, I spent it at home reading I.T. books.

Lastly, I always reminded myself that I’m in my Funding Phase and I’m just creating the necessary cash for me to move forward, so there’s no need for me to feel bad about my situation.


5. Write your letter of resignation with a future date

Set a deadline on when you will quit your current job, then write your resignation letter, and put the date on it.

Print out the letter, have it framed, and hang it inside your bedroom.

Every morning, look at the letter, then imagine yourself taking it out of the frame and handing it out to your boss when you arrive in the office.

This is a simple yet powerful exercise that will help you stay motivated and dedicated to achieving your goals.

Do remember to take everything into account – your cash flow, skills, resources, financial responsibilities, and spending habits – and set a realistic deadline.

Don’t just put a random future date!

Be SMART about your goals, and you’ll most likely achieve them.

When you’re not happy with your job anymore, but you can’t afford to quit – don’t wallow in self-pity and escape reality by watching television.

Instead, face your fears, take the challenge, and have the courage to change your life.

What to do next: Click here to start your financial journey with IMG Wealth Academy
Photo credits: jazbeck, fmgbain, and sybrenstuvel


  1. I feel like I was part of your journey when you transferred from Engineering to IT ’cause we were in the same boat, jumping into the untrodden waters of software development at the same time. Well, I don’t hate my job now, but I appreciate the gems of thought in your articles which might come in handy in the future. All the best!

  2. “The key is to remember that you don’t need to be a great employee, just don’t be a bad one… Be a good employee that produces expected results, but avoid going the extra mile…”

    I’ll have to disagree with these lines. Wouldn’t you be able to reach your goals faster if you were a better employee? You’ll be given more monetary rewards, more benefits if you show you are worth it.

    It sounds bad and just reminds me of those lazy workers. Sorry. Just my 2 cents.

  3. I love this article. I’m a full time employee and have been thinking of resigning because I feel like there’s a greener pasture outside work. After reading this article, I now know what to do. Thank you

  4. Hi Christine,

    It would be hard to be great at a job that you hate, which is the premise of the article, so my advise is to at least be a good one, and never turn into a bad one.

    Also, becoming a better than average employee rarely translates to immediate monetary rewards and more benefits – this only happens when you get promoted, which takes some time, and not always guaranteed.

    Interestingly, I’ve witnessed employees getting big annual salary increases for simply being good (not great) workers. They did just enough work to get by, they never took leadership responsibilities in projects, and flew silently under the radar of managers.

    It’s unfair for hard working employees who give the extra mile, but the corporate world is rarely fair, to be honest. Most of the time, you need to learn company politics to move upward.

    In any case, as an individual, you are actually at a point where you really want to quit, so getting promoted does not complement your end goal – so why work harder for it?

    Of course, the only exception here perhaps are those who earn from sales commissions. But then again, if you’re working to quit your job, it may be better to focus your extra time and energy towards realizing your exit plan instead.

    If you discovered that your plan requires accelerating your income, then working harder for more commissions becomes a viable plan of action. But so is looking for freelancing opportunities, and starting a side business.

    I believe a person will have more motivation to do the latter options, than trying to force themselves to work harder at job that they don’t like anymore.

    Lastly, no need to apologize because you did nothing wrong. Your opinion is welcome and respected here. And yes, I also hate those lazy workers – they are bad employees.

  5. I do love my job but my boss? i don’t. No matter what good you do in your work if u are not favorite your output will never be appreciated. Even if you suggest an idea that you think that can make your output faster and easier it will always be contradicted. They will always show that they are smarter than you (always) as if they owned the company.

  6. Your guidance is exactly what I needed I feel comforted after reading this vry exciting article. Thanks and God bless!

  7. Very inspiring article. Why people get bored because they are not happy or satisfied with the current job. Finding another job is not easy, the best way is to find another source of income matching with your skills.Thanks.

  8. I am a Tech Support rep in one of the BPOs here in Cebu City. 26 yrs old and I just found out about Investments and all that. My curiousity with Investment lead me to your blog.

    Yes, I hate hate my job and I really want to quit. And yes, I can not afford to quit yet.

    Luckily I read this post. For now, I will just go with the flow and be good at my job. By the end of the year I would have enough Savings and will start investing.



  9. Nice post. What I get from this article is to slowly transition yourself from being an employee to an entrepreneur. It’s nice to have an employment income while building your business on the side. Thanks!

  10. I’m nearing my resignation’s effectivity date and I have no plans yet. I don’t like to find another corporate job because I don’t think that’s what I need right now.

    One thing I realized, people get scared to leave their jobs because they’d lose a steady flow of income. Ironically, these people want to quit their jobs so they can start a business and live the life they always wanted. But how can you do one, if you don’t sacrifice the other?

    Not having a full time job doesn’t mean you can’t have ANY job. If you don’t have bills to pay, you don’t need more money. All you need is more time to venture into things you really want to pursue.

  11. I’m already thinking about quitting my job. I have a target resignation month. Now, I need to look for a higher paying job. It should be on night shift. I intend to go back to school a year after a adjusted with my new job. I’ll be 27 by then. But it’s never too late to learn anyway ^_^

    thanks for this inspiring post

  12. I can really relate with you, Fritz! It is like I am having the same path as yours. I just quit from Engineering last year, and now working in software development. I am also inclined in writing, blogging, and really interested in finance topics. Although I am happy with my current job, I also wanted to be an entrpreneur someday. I think this is the reason why I was pulled in to your blog and love your posts.


  13. I am in this situation right now, though i dont hate my job , i hate the fact that i am working abroad and always away from my family. So i started planning already, i will quit my job after paying for my loan here abroad ( feb 2019) , i started blogging on the side. 6 months before my quittng day , i will start preparing my online resume and portfolio, and start looking for online job ( if my blog is not earning enough yet). While working as a VA, i will start a farming business, goats, pigs chicken and the like, till it is earning enough that i can quit my online job.

  14. This blog could help the young businessman to develop and aware the current situation of their lives, keep up dreaming.

  15. I love this article, it gave me an idea of ​​what to consider before deciding what to do, before complaining at work and so on. Thank you Sir..

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