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Candidate Help & Advice

Are YOU Still Laboring in ‘Stable Misery’? Why?!

Change Job photo from ShutterstockOne of the great ironies of life is that, while so many of us both fear and dread change, it is really the only genuine, reliable constant in our lives. Some people will suffer almost any indignity and/or inconvenience and go to virtually any lengths to avoid making a change in their lives–no matter how miserable they may be in their current circumstances. A job that has become miserable, nearly intolerable, is a good case in point.

Today there are literally tens of millions of men and women who say they have become so dissatisfied, so miserable with their jobs, that they would do practically anything to find a new one. Except, that is, actually make a change, or at least make a major change.

The cause of such widespread dissatisfaction? Actually, much of it stems from how significant numbers of employees were treated by their employers during (and for some years after) The Great Recession. Here is what I am talking about:

  • While having to witness their fellow employees lose their jobs through downsizing or layoffs, many of these men and women ended up doing not only their own jobs, but also the jobs of two (and sometimes even more!) of the people who were let go. All, of course, for no additional compensation and little if any gratitude for their extra efforts!
  • Not only were many of these “surviving” employees not shown any degree of appreciation by their employers for their extra efforts, many were treated with either a lack of respect or outright disrespect. Indeed, many were constantly reminded about how “lucky” they were just to still have a job!
  • Coming out of the recession, in response to increased demand for goods and services, many employers began ramping up production and thereby increasing income. Did this translate into increased hiring to take at least some of the burden off the overworked employees? Well, actually, no. Most companies used the increased revenues to fatten up their bottom lines and continued to take a “wait and see” attitude about hiring new staff.

Some employees who found themselves in such situations have in fact moved on to new, better, more fulfilling careers since the job market began to turn around, albeit still somewhat slowly in some sectors. Most beleaguered employees, however, continue to keep on keepin’ on. Most are continuing to do what I refer to as “laboring in ‘stable misery.’”

Does this term describe you and your current employment situation? If it does, you might be interested to learn TWO facts: 1.) The Great Recession is over! and 2.) you really no longer have to accept your “fate”! And that’s particularly true if you can count yourself among, and have branded yourself as being among, the TOP candidates vying for an expanding number of jobs in many industry segments. (I am assuming that, since you were among the “survivors” of the great job washout during the recession, you probably are certainly somewhat “above average.”)

Why the Reluctance to Seek New Career Opportunities?

The obvious solution for those still “laboring in ‘stable misery’” would be what? To find a better, more fulfilling job and advance their careers, right? Right! Then, why don’t they? There are a number of reasons:

  • Many of these employees seem to still be suffering from a form of survivors guilt. They still are buying in to the “you’re lucky to have kept your job while so many others lost theirs. . .” litany.
  • They still believe that there are no jobs out there. (Actually, there are now plenty of jobs “out there” today, especially for TOP candidates in a wide variety of key professions. That, however, is grist for another time, another post.)
  • Despite how poorly they themselves were treated by their companies during the recession, many of these employees say they would feel disloyal if they even considered leaving for another job!
  • Many employees believe, instinctively, that work is not supposed to be fun or fulfilling.

And, of course, the list of reasons hardly ends here. It goes on and on.

The bottom line seems to be this: For many men and women a known job situation, no matter how miserable it makes them, no matter how utterly awful it may be, is perceived to still be better than an unknown, new job situation, no matter how promising and fulfilling it may be.

Without question The Great Recession wreaked havoc with the economy in general and the job market in particular. Those were frightening times for millions of men and women, who either lost their jobs or were forced to survive under vastly reduced employment and lifestyle circumstances. To be sure, millions are still struggling to get back in the game!

NOW is the Time for WINNERS to Get Back in the Game!

For those who remain so frightened, so intimidated and so professionally paralyzed by bad career experiences during the recession that they won’t even consider how they might now be able to advance their stalled careers, well, there is not much anyone—including me, of course—will be able to do or say to convince them otherwise. (As a professional “headhunter,” each and every business day I talk about exciting career opportunities to people who have these exact same feelings and attitudes, and sadly, many show little or no interest.)

However, if you are one of those men or women who have been waiting for “just the right time” to get out of your foxhole, to get your career out of the “stall” mode and begin exploring the many new, exciting opportunities that can await you, NOW indeed can be “just the right time”!

The job market still is mighty challenging but is nonetheless steadily improving in many key sectors across a wide variety of professional disciplines. Companies that have long been among the leaders in their respective market segments, and that want to retain that preeminent position in order to effectively compete in the worldwide marketplace, are now aggressively seeking out TOP candidates to fill critical positions. If you can demonstrate, in a substantive way, by the use of dollars and cents, percentages and similar quantifiable measures, that you are one of these TOP candidates, the time for you to move is NOW.

So, if you have been “laboring in ‘stable misery,’” and are continuing to do so, STOP! Take the time to investigate how you might be able to get your career out of the “stall” mode and headed for the stratosphere!


This post is a modified excerpt from Skip’s latest book, Career Stalled? How to Get Your Career Back in HIGH Gear and Land the Job You Deserve—Your DREAM Job!, part of the “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets Career Development/Management series of publications.

Available NOW on, in both paperback and Kindle editions, at special introductory prices.

Going on a job interview soon? Know someone who is? Learn how to ACE the interview the way SuperStars do! Download Skip’s FREE PDF “How to ACE the Job Interview!” by clicking HERE.