In the past, most New Jersey workers who were unhappy with their jobs looked for another position, then left when they found one, but a new study finds some workers are now deciding to stay where they are, for a variety of reasons.


According to Oscar Holmes, a management professor at the Rutgers, Camden School of Business, unhappy workers may not leave their current situation and become “embedded” for the following reasons:

1. They own a home, and selling it is going to be tougher than breaking a lease of an apartment.

2. They have friendships in the community or with co-workers.

3. The job status of their spouse or significant other would make a move more difficult.

4. It would disrupt family life. “That person may be happy with their job, so just because I’m unhappy with mine, that person would have to - if we moved to a different locale - uproot themselves,” he said.

5. They have job perks or benefits. “Sometimes if you work for corporate America you could also get access to country clubs or other private networks that you wouldn’t get with other jobs,” he said.

6. Changing jobs is too much of a hassle. “Someone may feel it’s not worth it, it’s like the cost out-weighs the gains that I would get,” he said.

7. You know your way around the block at your current job. “If you’ve been in an organization for a long time that gives you some seniority, especially if you’re in a place that has a union, so that gives you a little bit more security in your job,” he said.

The professor also said employers always want good employees to be committed to their jobs because they’re happy, however it’s also okay if a valued employee winds up staying because they feel they owe the organization something.

“For example, if a person falls ill and his or her co-workers pool their vacation days together, so that person can still get a paycheck, that person may feel indebted to the organization,” he said.

He added you might not like your supervisor, but if you you enjoy everybody else at a job site, you may figure you’ll be able to advance in the company soon and so it’s worth it to stick it out.

So why would a company want to hang onto an unhappy worker?

“If you keep your turnover numbers down that obviously saves money for the organization,” the professor said. “Also if those people are valuable employees, like they have really unique information, they want to keep that talent there, especially if they fear that employee will go work for a competitor.”

He said in many instances a manager, if they feel an employee is embedded, would try and get away with as much as they can in terms of salary and perks offered to that worker.

Holmes said the longer someone is with a company, the more of a social network they’ve developed and less of a threat they will leave.

He added one significant problem if workers are consistently unhappy is that they can wind up engaging in counterproductive work behaviors.

“I may be in an organization for five years and if I really don’t like it, then I could engage in some behaviors like sabotaging the organization, wasting resources, bad mouthing the organization,” he said. “People may feel like they want to get back at their job, and negative feelings can be contagious, so they can wind up spreading throughout an organization and lowering morale.”

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