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The Five Worst Kinds of Jobs

The Five Worst Kinds of Jobs

There are days we feel we have the worst job in the world. Every once in a while we’re reminded that maybe when compared to other jobs, our jobs aren’t that bad. There’s no “worst job” or “best job” because both are completely subjective.

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

What might be horrible to you is an amazing opportunity for someone else. So there’s no “worst job” there is only a “worst job for you.”

That said, there were some five common themes that stood out as we looked back on some of the most common problems our clients came to us to help solve.’

Misaligned Values

Imagine the values you have implemented and stick to in your life. It could be your faith, the way you treat others, the value you place on relationships, money, intelligence, hard work … Now imagine working for an organization whose values are in direct opposition to what you fundamentally believe. Your values and the organization’s values are misaligned. This can wreak havoc with even the best employee/employer relationships.

We worked with a client who loved his job, loved his colleagues, loved working for the public service, but struggled because something felt ‘off’ and he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. He desperately wanted to leave his job and he couldn’t understand why he felt so strongly about it. We worked together for a few sessions and evaluated his core beliefs. It didn’t take long for us to find out, his beliefs were in direct opposition to those of the government of the day. In his mind, he felt like he was working for the enemy. His core values were misaligned with those of his employer and it made going to work, for him, next to impossible.

Toxic work environments

Drama, infighting, back-stabbing; these workplaces are full of competition and politics (not in a good way). Toxic work environments make even the happiest of employees shudder at the thought of going to work.

“One-half (47 percent) of Canadian professionals are unhappy in their job, according to a survey by recruitment firm Hays Canada of about 2,500 employers and employees.”


The ole bait and switch. Is there anything worse than being told one thing, making life-changing decisions based on that information, then finding out the source was unreliable? Argh! This year, we worked with a number of clients who were wooed away from a good employer to what they were told was a stellar senior-level opportunity where they would have the opportunity to do amazing work with amazing people.

Fast forward three months – the corporate culture is a mess, the roles were too junior and they have no influence or direct contact with the decision-makers they were told they would be working with to create these stellar opportunities for the company. Each kicked themselves for not trusting his or her instincts when he or she suspected a couple of ‘red flags’ at the interview stage. Now they are stuck (and a bit paranoid about making the same mistake as they look for an exit out of this job and into a new one).

Feeling stuck

This is the one we hear most. Clients know they can do more, heck, they can feel it in their bones – they want to do more, but their managers don’t recognize it in them and/or they are grossly underemployed. They stay with what they know. There are some who reach out to me annually saying this is the year I’m going to hire you and I’m going to leave this job…and then another year goes by. They are so busy at their jobs that they forget to work on their career.

This may sound strange to you at first, but consider this: you have a job (a place where you go to work every day and the employer pays you to do work towards the mandate or vision or bottom-line of the business). You also have a career you must manage and foster. Many people think if they have a job they’re good; they don’t need to think about their career because they have a job. That’s not always true. Jobs come and go. Employers lay off employees, emergency family situations arise – there are all kinds of reasons why it’s important to manage your career.

Overwhelm / Burn out

There were quite a few clients this year who were working really hard and felt that regardless of what they did, the employer had no issue at all asking them for more, and more and more! There was little if any, appreciation, gratitude or validation of their efforts which left a bad taste with these clients. Each knew s/he was amazingly talented and that someone somewhere could put his/her talents to good use (and value and appreciate the work s/he contributed).

We loved seeing a number of these clients go on to find meaningful, joyful work where their new employers were glad to have them and they felt valued for their contributions.

While you’re taking a break from work to spend time with your family this spring break, think about whether any of these five situations appear at your place of work. In many cases, there are solutions to help minimize the negative effect on you. In other cases, it’s time to consider looking to greener pastures. Your mental and physical well-being are worth it.

Related Categories: Career Clarity, Client Questions & Answers

About The Author
Maureen McCann is an award-winning career coach, master resume writer, and master certified interview, employment, and career strategist whose clients include C-level executives, managers, and professionals in all industries including the Canadian banking, oil and gas, healthcare, IT, and government sectors.

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