Maybe unemployment isn't so bad after all. A new study says that, income notwithstanding, having a demanding, unstable and thankless job may make you even unhappier than not having a job at all.
Given that a paid position gives workers purpose and a structured role, researchers had long thought that having any job would make a person happier than being unemployed. That turns out to be true if you move into a high-quality job — but taking a bad job is detrimental to mental health.
Australian National University researchers looked at how various psychosocial work attributes affect well-being. They found that poor-quality jobs — those with high demands, low control over decision making, high job insecurity and an effort-reward imbalance — had more adverse effects on mental health than joblessness.