Bad Jobs

Who hasn't had a bad job? A crummy employer? Poor working conditions? Annoying or abusive co-workers? Questionable or illegal business practices? Morally corrupt supervisor? A failing business or industry? I've had terrible jobs, and I've been blessed with some great jobs in my life. I know the difference, and I can tell you that bad jobs aren't worth staying in. Some of you are there right now. Staying in this situation and trying to 'weather the storm' may not be such a good idea. This may not be temporary, in fact, things may get worse... much worse. I can't tell you what to do, or that my advice is correct for each and every situation. I can tell you about my experience and why toughing it out for as long as I did was regrettable. So, for those of you living this reality, I have three words for you: GET OUT NOW. You'll thank me later. Here's why:
  • Health - Stress in the workplace translates to stress at home, stress on the commute, and then more stress at work. And we all know how good high stress levels are for a person. This can lead to - among other things - loss of sleep, and let me tell you, thats not a pretty picture. Once you get into the cycle, its hard to get out. The longer you stay in this situation, the more of a toll this will take on your health, and it will start to show in your work, appearance, and attitude. Do it for your health - physical, emotional, and mental.
  • Family - You may think that your work issues are just that - yours. If you are married, think back to when the preacher talked about mine is yours, yours is mine, and all that 1+1=1 stuff. Yeah, your spouse is going to feel this too. If you let this go on for too long, then you'll start to see it in the kids too. If you're single, well, do you really need to complicate your relationships further? Do you find it too easy to meet someone new? Yeah, I didn't think so. How cordial and attractive do you think you'll be if you are spending 8+ hours per day in work hell? Do it for the sake of your family.
  • Spirit - You don't have to be religious to appreciate this one. Some employers and managers are working overtime to break your spirit, to crush your hope. Maybe they don't want you to leave, but they just want you to fall in line. No one should feel hopeless or trapped at work. For those who are Christians, how do you think this will affect you walk with Christ? How will this affect you ability to be a good steward of your time, talent and treasure? Ponder those for a bit and consider the spiritual side of choosing to stay in this position. Would the Lord want to see you like this? Do it for your spirit.
  • Career - After getting out of what will hopefully be the worst job of my career, I can remember thinking, "what a waste". And it really was a waste of my time and skills. They didn't deserve or appreciate any of the good I had done, or any of the business they had because of me and my skills. I'm not being boastful. I have unique skill sets they despite their best efforts, they were unable to replicate in other employees. And clients valued those skills. I know they lost business, as it was a former client who I eventually went to work for. How much of my life, skills, energy and passion did I waste on those ingrates? It's probably not worth pondering beyond that. In the end, what was important was that I was out, and I could finally think about advancing my career, improving my skills and being appreciated. Otherwise, my career was going nowhere. Do it for your career.
  • Time - What is your time worth to you? Sometimes it's just spending too much time in a commute. Some employers respect your time outside of work, while others choose to piss all over it - they own you, or so they think. I once worked as a temp at a job that required employees to work 54 hours per week - a full work week with 14 hours of mandatory overtime. We were compensated for it appropriately. I can recall discussing this with my father, and how they wanted me to sign on as a full employee. I'll never forget his advice. "There are jobs where you don't have to do that". He was dead right. If fact, most don't require that. The pay was good, heck, for my age and experience, it was great pay, but the time was killing me. Up at ten after four every morning, home after five, and back in bed around 8pm. Those three hours were all mine.... Ug. Do it to get your time back.
  • Financial - Money isn't everything. Staying in a bad job, because the pay or benefits are good, is no excuse. Benefits change, and the pay may be good now. What about when the bonuses dry up and the raises are less than inflation. Besides, is it worth it? Is it worth doing something you hate, working for someone you detest, or taking their abuse just to have a few more coins in your pocket? Your job was good, but when the company reorganizes and decides that you are going to be traveling 3 weeks out of every month as opposed to 3 weeks out of every year, then what? Are you going to stay out of loyalty? Because of the money and the promise that "this is temporary" and "we'll take care of you" or "we'll make this right". Yeah, right. You can lose years this way. Years of financial uncertainty because you are waiting on them to get their act together, and "take care of you". Get your act together. Do it to retake control of your finances.
Note: despite being in an unordered list, those items are prioritized. Take another look.

Now, if I have you convinced that this is you and the time is now - hold that thought. As great as it may feel to reenact a scene from Take This Job and Shove It, there is some business to attend to first to make this transition easier on you and your family.
  • Family - First, talk to you spouse about this. You've likely expressed your displeasure before, but let him/her know that it's time - You're ready to jump ship. Make sure that you both understand what this will mean for you both and what your plans are going forward. As with any family or money decision, the two of you need to be on the same page about this. Maybe you're overreacting. Maybe not. Talk to your spouse.
  • Plans - Have a plan! If you are jumping ship, what are you jumping to? Another ship? Your own ship? Enough with the analogy, what are you going to do? Time to get after those job leads and start pressing the flesh. Don't overlook the freelance/self-employment option, but know what you are getting into. Also, there is nothing wrong with not working outside the home. Stay-at-home moms and dads provide a valuable service to their families and should not be looked down upon - do you know what it would cost to pay someone to do what they do? Maybe a break from the ol' rat race is just what you need. The point is - have a plan.
  • Money - You'll still need some of this, so you can't both be stay-at-home parents, as great as that sounds. Take an evening or two and rework your budget based on your impending income changes. Can you make it on one income? Can you make it on less than you are making now? Keep in mind that a reduced income will likely mean a reduced out-go. Meaning what? You'll likely have to cut your lifestyle. Maybe you already live well enough below your means to absorb this, but you would be a minority in America. If you don't have a budget, then there is no better time or reason to start one. I will always credit our family budget as the reason why we didn't fall into financial ruin during my employment woes.
If you've made it this far: 1> congrats, that was kinda long, 2> have you made up your mind? Are you still on the fence about your crummy job? Maybe you're in a good place but you know someone who's not. Pass this onto them. One last bit.

It's a small world. It's tempting to go out in a blaze of glory, to stick it to the man, to let off some steam. Don't. It's not worth it, and people talk. When it's time to go, humbly submit your resignation - a matter of fact document with no more than two sentences, stating your intent to leave at a certain date - and don't do anything you'll regret. You're already getting your 'revenge' by taking your services elsewhere.

**Update** Welcome CoPF readers! If you like this article, then please check out the rest of Not the Jet Set. Thanks for reading!


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