The Worst Job in the World and the Way Out

One of the things I like about coaching is that it creates insights not only for the client, but also for the coach. I recently had a mind blasting insight during a communication coaching session about what is truly the worst job in the world.

It’s not pool cleaner or pig farmer. It’s rather a type of job than a job, which impairs people’s lives in a very cruel way and they often have no idea what’s going on. The worst job in the world, as I see things, is a warm job.

What Is a Warm Job?

You know: it’s not hot, it’s not cold – it’s warm. You may like the company and get along well with your colleagues, but you find the job kind of boring and it’s not really what you want to do. You don’t love it enough to say you have an awesome career but you don’t hate it enough to quit it.

There is a huuuge practical problem with a warm job, because a warm job keeps you stuck. If you truly hate your job, you desperately try to find a better one. I’m not a big fan of negative motivation, but I have seen cases where it helped people move forward to much better jobs.

However, if you have a job which is kind of OK but not really what you want, you will tend to stick with it for a long, long time. The worst job in the world is in my view a job that keeps you in your comfort zone without being highly rewarding, and this is exactly what a warm job does.

I know people who for the past 5-7 years or more, every time I meet, they tell me they would like a better job, as their present one is OK but it’s not exactly their dream job. Nevertheless, they are still in that same job. It is a warm job and it makes these people waste many years.

Escaping From a Warm Job

Because of the odd emotional dynamics it creates, a warm job is probably the hardest to get out of. This is precisely why I say it’s the worst job in the world. However, there are ways to motivate yourself and get out of it.

Working with people to help them improve their people skills and make meaningful career changes, I discovered 3 action steps work best:

1) Have a clear vision of what you want. Know your values, your motivations and your passions very well. This way, you will be fully aware when you are not in your ideal job, instead of just having a vague impression that you’re not.

2) Set big, bold career goals for yourself. You won’t get the motivation to leave a warm job until you make a firm decision to aim for the best job possible for you, to be all that you can be in your career. Big, shinny goals are a prerequisite for good motivation.

3) Set small action steps. I believe this is the most important part and what will truly get you out of a warm job. Small, step by step action steps create that continuous drive to keep moving forward. Set them daily and act on them.

For example, you may aim to spend 30 minutes each day looking for a new job on the Internet, and 2 hours each week networking with people who may be able to help you find a better job.

If you look purely at short term benefits, a warm job is certainly not the worst job in the world. However, if you look at things in perspective, a warm job is one hell of a way to sell yourself short. It’s important to keep improving (not only in terms of people skills) and keep moving.

Image courtesy of Steve Kay


  1. Eduard –

    Yep – the mediocre job is a serious trap. There is a big risk that moving on could lead to something worse rather than better. It seems easier to muddle along and be coddled by the thought that “I’m lucky to have a job at all.” Your steps are a great start for moving past the warm job and thinking bigger – it takes effort but trust me, its’ worth it.


    • Hey Phil,

      There is a risk to end up in a worse job when moving from a mediocre one. I think this is precisely what keeps many people stuck. Bottom line, they’re required to realize they must risk things getting worse if they want them to get better, and make their move.

  2. Eduard

    This is a very insightful post. I had never thought in terms of a warm job but it is so true. We do con ourselves with many reasons to stay but the truth is that it is much better for us to move.

    I think I would add to your list and suggest thinking about what your life would be like in 5 years time if you stay where you are. Would you be achieving your dreams or would you be disappointed in yourself that you hadn’t been brave enough to move.

    • Hey Marion,

      I’d say that’s a good idea. A comparative analysis, put into perspective, will surely help you get motivated to change your job.

  3. Great points, but I think ppl should always look to extract as much as possible from their current jobs, or change it somehow before looking elsewhere. Most of the time, there are still things we could learn from our current job if we only took the initiative.

    • Absolutely. It is often easier to tweak your current job than to find a new one. I usually encourage people to first try and make the best out of the job they have now, before deciding to leave it.

  4. I think you hit the key word — “bold.”

    Bold is the way to be.

  5. Spot on… warm jobs are the worst! Creating a powerful, bold vision is a great suggestion. It’s helps to cool down that warm feeling a bit and can help to get things in gear. When it comes to action, little and often makes much!

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