The way we define ourselves is largely through our work and our personal status. For example: “Hi I would like you to meet my friend Tom who is a single, and utterly dull, chartered accountant.”

But what is it about our work and our personal lives that lead us to make the same terrible and somewhat prolonged mistakes over and over again? Do our actions reflect our fear of change? Do we naturally suffer from a fear of success? Or are we just too damn lazy or too comfortable in the status quo to consider doing anything else?

Here are some of the ways that a bad job can be compared to a bad marriage and why anyone who is successful in either should hold off on giving themselves a pat on the back, writing a self-help book or, even worse, becoming a life coach until they have consulted with me first.

Bad job v.s. bad marriage

  1. Blame Game. You think that things aren’t working out because it’s All. Your. Fault. So you work harder and try harder and then when things still aren’t going well you blame yourself, your therapist or your psychic for misleading you.
  2. It ain’t that bad. When you are in the midst of it you convince yourself that things aren’t so bad.
  3. How did I endure? When you are out of the woods, you reflect back and wonder how on earth you ever endured for so long.
  4. Fear of the unknown v.s. the status quo: The fear of the unknown and what the future might hold in store is almost always more terrifying than your current suffering in the status quo.
  5. Who else would want me? The uncertainty of finding something new is enough to cause you to uphold the status quo so as not to be unemployed/alone.
  6. Is it really worth it? The compensation for staying doesn’t usually feel commensurate with the work and stress involved.
  7. He must have lost his mind. If you do ever quit/leave, people think you are crazy and that you must have lost your mind. They say things to you like: “Haven’t you heard about the recession? The divorce rates? The suicide rates of people who are divorced and unemployed in a recession?!!”
  8. What if I had stayed and found blissful peace and happiness? In almost all cases, at some point along the way you experience nostalgia, regret, and remorse and/or play the big “what if” game.
  9. I should share my success story with the world. If you do succeed at committing relationship/career suicide and come out the other side smelling like petunias, you become so self-righteous that you either become a life coach or write a book about your success story all the while offering every person you meet who is going through a similar situation, unsolicited advice and/or try to sell them your book.
  10. I should share my failure story with the universe. If you do end up a big fat failure or find yourself pretty much in the same crappy situation as you were before, you then become embittered and try to talk to anyone who will listen, ANYONE who is even thinking of making any changes in their lives so that they will know what a huge mistake you made and why they should learn from your big fat mistakes.