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How Much Would You Need to Get Paid to Do a Job You Hate?

By Maurie Backman – Updated May 20, 2019 at 3:22PM

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A large number of Americans are willing to sign up for work they despise -- if the price is right.

We can't all be lucky enough to love our jobs, or love them all the time. But ideally, your job should be such that it's tolerable on a regular basis, because doing a job you hate could render you utterly miserable for as long as you remain employed.

But what if taking an awful job means boosting your salary and enjoying a world of financial flexibility? Would that sway you to spend your days doing work you despise?

Believe it or not, 41% of Americans would leave a job they like to do something they hate if the pay were high enough, according to a new survey by financial technology company Self Lender. How much money are we talking? The average desired salary for a hated job is apparently $77,000 -- a decent amount of money, no doubt, and considerably more than the $46,641 a year the average American earned as of 2018.

Man resting head on laptop

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Now for some people, no amount of money is worth doing a job they hate. But if you're offered a sizable sum to take a job you know you won't enjoy, you may want to consider it temporarily.

Why take a job you'll hate?

In every bad job lies an opportunity to get something out of it. Maybe that something is money. Maybe it's experience and skills. If you take a job you can't stand but it helps you learn things you never would've grown adept at otherwise, it could lead you on a more fruitful career path. Furthermore, working a job you hate might teach you to get better at overcoming challenges, and that's a skill that applies to any job.

And let's not dismiss the value of earning a solid living. If taking a job you know you'll hate means making more money, it may be worth the short-term sacrifice if it improves your long-term financial outlook.

Such was the situation I was in after graduating college. I spent a few years working a job I pretty much hated because it not only gave me some impressive responsibilities to put on my resume, but it also paid far better than the jobs I wanted to be doing. I stayed on board long enough to pay off my student loans in their entirety, build a healthy level of savings, and check a few other items off of my list of financial goals before moving on.

Of course, you'll hear plenty of career experts tell you that it's never a good idea to take a job you know you'll hate. But if there's a compelling reason to suffer through one for a limited period of time, it's worth considering.

That said, be aware of the pitfalls of working a job you hate before agreeing to do so. If you're truly miserable at work, you won't be motivated to perform your best. And if your employer has reason to believe you're slacking or falling down on the job, you could find yourself out of work and sorely missing the paycheck that comes with it.

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