Loyalty to a Job You Dislike Leads to Emotional Exhaustion: Study

by Chris Curley on April 4, 2012

Do you feel an obligation to stay with your employer out of a sense of duty or because you think their are no other alternatives? If you answered ‘yes,’ you may be putting yourself on the path to emotional exhaustion, a group of Canadian researchers says.

Interestingly, people with high self-esteem are the most likely to suffer lower well-being when they feel like they have to stay with an employer — perhaps because their feelings of having “no way out” conflicts with their beliefs about their self-worth, the study authors say.

But unless you feel a true affinity for your company’s mission, it’s better to leave instead of staying out of a sense of duty, the research suggests.

“It may be that, in the absence of an emotional bond with the organization, commitment based on obligation is experienced as a kind of indebtedness — a loss of autonomy that is emotionally draining over time,” says co-author Alexandra Panaccio, Ph.D., of Concordia University.

The study appears online in the journal Human Relations.