Should you be grateful for a job?

Should you be grateful for a job?

It’s natural to feel thankful that you’re employed(imˈploid), especially when jobs are scarce(skers). But is that gratitude(ˈɡradəˌt(y)o͞od) actually a misguided emotion?

By Kate Morgain

It’s become a common(ˈkämən) refrain(rəˈfrān): “I’m just grateful to have a job”.

The last year has wreaked(rēk) undeniable(ˌəndəˈnīəb(ə)l) havoc(ˈhavək) on the working world. Globally(ˈɡlōbəlē), the working hours and income lost in 2020 added up to the equivalent(əˈkwiv(ə)lənt) of 255 million full-time jobs. Workplace closures, layoffs(ˈlāˌôf) and a steep rise in unemployment(ˌənəmˈploimənt) are enough to make anyone who’s managed to hold onto their job feel some measure of gratitude – or, at least, pressure to be grateful.

That pressure pre-dates the pandemic. One of the most pervasive(pərˈvāsiv) conversations around jobs is that we should be thankful to be hired(ˈhīərd), especially when competition(ˌkämpəˈtiSH(ə)n) for a position is fierce(firs). Candidates are even expected to express the sentiment(ˈsen(t)əmənt) if they want to be hired in the first place: it’s hard to imagine leaving an interview without saying how much you appreciate being considered, or sending a thank-you email.

But it’s possible some of that gratitude is misplaced. Perhaps it’s not quite(kwīt) appropriate to be thankful that an employer is ‘letting you’ work for them. And while gratitude can be objectively(əbˈjektivlē) good for you – research consistently associates giving thanks with increased happiness – it also has a darker side that can make you more willing to put up with a situation that makes you unhappy.