For many people, working in the business world is just about the worst thing that they could imagine doing with their lives.
Some people know themselves well enough to recognize this before even entering the working world. Other people come to realize that they hate business after working in that world for many years.
If you’re here reading this article, there’s a good chance that you may hate business and the corporate world yourself and you’re trying to figure out your best next step from here.
To that end, we’re going to unpack why so many people don’t like business and corporate jobs and offer some recommendations for what to do if you’re in that situation.
Let’s dive in.
- 1 Why People Don’t Like Business and Corporate Jobs?
- 2 What To Do If You Hate Working For a Company?
- 3 What to Do If I Hate My Job But Can’t Quit?
- 4 CONCLUSION
Why People Don’t Like Business and Corporate Jobs?
There are a variety of reasons why people hate business.
While I didn’t find a study or something that quantifies the most common reasons, these are the most cited reasons that I personally hear from people:
1. The Lack of Freedom and Flexibility
One of the most common reasons that people hate business is the lack of freedom and flexibility.
People are expected to sit at a computer for at least eight hours per day, five days per week. That’s a third of your life or, on average, 90,000+ hours over the course of your life.
It’s understandable for people to feel trapped and confined in that context.
It takes away from adventure and spontaneity and we as people often seek that. In fact, it does to such an extent that people often feel like they’re wasting their life entirely working in the business world.
Additionally, if you have young kids, you know how often they get sick or have school commitments that you’d like to attend. Working a corporate job leaves you stressed and overwhelmed trying to balance all of that, and often makes you feel guilty that you’re dropping the ball in one area or another.
2. The Lack of Purpose
Within the business world, it can sometimes feel like your job lacks purpose.
Particularly if you work for a really large company with thousands of people, you might feel like you’re a bit of a cog in a while.
Additionally, there are a variety of jobs that are administrative or customer facing these days. That means that folks aren’t tangibly making things, which can take away from the feeling of actually producing something real at work.
Lastly, there’s more awareness than ever than even companies with good missions are in it to make money. And the executives and investors get the bulk of the upside.
So, it can feel a bit meaningless to know that your work is to make some already rich folks even richer.
3. The Pressure to Deliver & Lack of Reward
Particularly if you work on the sales and marketing side of the house, there is a lot of pressure to deliver big results in the business world.
Also, that pressure is often not directly rewarded with anything other than getting to keep your job.
I’ve personally had experiences where I’ve delivered multiple consecutive years of strong numbers, received numerous positive performance reviews, was liked by my teammates and colleagues, and then was finally on track to get promoted well after I should have been. Prior to that promotion, my boss was fired due to internal politics and my promotion was put on hold.
To me, that was pretty demoralizing to have delivered what I was asked time and time again to have that growth stripped from under me for something that was not in my control.
4. Dealing with People Problems
A boss in the business world is going to have a ton of impact on your life.
You interact with them almost daily, they dictate a lot of your schedule, and control your pay adjustments, jobs status, etc.
Outside of just your boss, you’re going to need to work with your direct team, as well as peers across the organization. And with lots of people interaction can come messiness and challenges. Folks have different communication styles and we have all have our own stress that can create difficult interactions.
For many people, particularly those in management, work is a constant string of dealing with people problems that can become exhausting and demoralizing.
5. The Bureaucracy
Another common reason that people hate business is the bureaucracy.
It’s the constant string of emails, meetings, approvals, etc. that get in the way of getting real work done that can just wear you down and burn you out over time.
What To Do If You Hate Working For a Company?
If you’re miserable working in the business world, I encourage you not to settle and to go find a work situation that is going to fill you with life.
As previously mentioned, the average person spends over 90,000 hours of their life at work. That’s roughly a third of your time during the working period of your life. That is just too much time to go numb and accept an unfulfilling work life.
So, more practically, what should you do if you’re miserable in the business world?
I have a few high level steps for you, covered in detail in our what to do with life article, but they are also summarized here:
SET A VISION
I believe that finding your best fit work starts with having a vision for the life that you want for yourself. Too often, particularly in America, we start by selecting our work path and then build the rest of our lives around that.
I find that to be backwards. I think it’s important to start with a high level vision that you want of your overall life, and the contribution that you want to make, and then try to find and create work that fits into that.
We have a complete article on how to define a vision for life that walks through how to do that.
Once you have a high level sense of the life that you’d like to build for yourself, it’s then time to think through some work paths outside of the corporate world that enable you to live out that vision.
One of my favorite tools for doing that is one called Ikigai, which is the Japanese concept of reason for being.
Basically, going through the Ikigai process calls for you to think through what you’re good at, what you like to do, what can make money, and what the world needs. If you can find some options for work that meet in the middle of those things, then those can represent positive potential work paths for you to explore.
Once you have some hypotheses for a few different work paths for you to explore, from there, it’s time to experiment.
Basically, you want to give yourself exposure to a variety of different work paths and contexts to see what resonates and feels good to you.
You do that by placing small bets to give yourself the necessary exposure. That could be things like starting a side hustle, doing some contract projects in your area of interest, volunteering, or doing information interviews.
The point is, you’re gathering as much information as possible, as quickly as possible, in as low a risk of way as possible, to expose you to potential paths.
We have a complete article on career experimentation to walk you through that process.
Lastly, as you’re experimenting on different possible career paths, you want to reflect on the experience and what is resonating with you.
I find writing as the best form of reflection for me personally. So I would encourage you to journal about what you’re learning and experiencing to capture your thoughts and then look back on them after you’re done with your experimentation.
Take a look at our article on journaling to give you a sense of possible ways to journal as you’re reflecting on your experience.
What to Do If I Hate My Job But Can’t Quit?
If you hate your business job but are in a situation that you can’t quit, I don’t recommend quitting with nothing else lined up.
Quitting without a fallback or source of income can create added pressure or stress in your life that can then lead you to take another position out of desperation that will lead to the same disdain for your work.
What I generally recommend is, as a short term move, try to find the most bearable job that you possible can. Longer term, follow the previously recommended steps to find an alternate path outside of the business world, and build towards that on the site until you generate enough income to care for yourself and your family.
If you hate business, know that you’re not alone.
But, fortunately, in today’s day and age, know that it’s not the only path for you to explore.
To that end, I encourage you to experiment in paths outside of the traditional business world to find contexts for your work that are going to better fit into the life that you want to build for yourself.