Study Finds Having a Bad Job Can Be Worse Than None At All

Although in the current economy being unemployed feels like the worst thing in the world, researchers have found something even worse — being stuck in a bad job.

Australian National University researchers have found that, from a mental health perspective, you may be better off being unemployed rather than being in a bad job

"Moving from unemployment to a poor-quality job offered no mental health benefit, and in fact was more detrimental to mental health than remaining unemployed," says the lead author of the study, Peter Butterworth, Ph.D., a senior research fellow at the Centre for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University, in Canberra.

The volunteers rated their jobs based on four factors: stress and overall job demands, control over their own work, job security, and whether or not they thought the pay was fair.

Then, they filled out questionnaires that measured levels of depression and anxiety along with overall happiness.
Put it all together, and most of the people who had jobs had better mental health than the ones who didn’t–and the ones with the best jobs enjoyed improvements in mental health, moving up an average of three points over the years.

No surprise there.

But the researchers also found that people who worked lousy jobs suffered a long-term decline in mental health… eventually putting them on the same level as the unemployed.

And those who started out with a great job but ended up with a crummy one saw their mental health scores plummet by 5.6 points–enough to cause the kinds of noticeable changes that would have friends worrying about you.
Even worse, their scores were actually lower than those of people who were unemployed for the entire study period.

Other studies have also shown how some job situations can be more stressful than no job at all. One study published last year even found that people suffer more stress when they think they’re going to lose their job than they do when they actually lose it.

Maybe it’s the weight coming off the shoulders… or maybe it’s just the idea of starting fresh.

Whatever the reason, if you’re in a dead-end high-stress job or if you’re constantly worried about being next on the chopping block, it’s pretty clear what you need to do next.

Even in this economy, there are other options out there–and you should make finding them your full-time priority.

Top 10 Worst Jobs of 2011

In a field where 12-hour shifts are not uncommon other factors such as a dangerous work environment, extremely physical labor, and low pay have combined to earn the field of
Roustabout the title of "Worst Job" for a second year running according to a survey of the 200 worst jobs conducted by

Their survey looked at five key factors in determining what qualified as the "worst jobs." These factors include work environment, physical demands, outlook,
and stress. Not only did roustabout perform poorly in each category, but when combined with the fact that much of the off-shore drilling off the continental U.S. has been suspended, the demand for new hires in the field has really taken a hit.

1. Roustabout
2. Iron Worker
3. Lumberjack
4. Roofer
5. Taxi Driver
6. Emergency Medical Technicans
7. Welder
8. Painter
9. Meter Reader
10. Construction Worker

I'm pretty sure a slaughterhouse worker should hit the top 10 too. Click to see a list of the 10 Best Jobs of 2011. It is interesting to see that both the best and worst jobs are mostly all male dominated jobs.

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