Featured Society/Culture — 21 October 2009
To Quit Or Not To Quit: When To Leave Your Job

By G.I.N.A. (Game Is Not Allowed)

Like a relationship, the work place has its quirks; little things that get under our skin.  Similar to relationships, getting up and leaving the job you’ve been “married” to for years is complicated.  There are fears, uncertainties and let’s not forget high unemployment rates. These days there is no room for complaints since those of us with jobs should thank the Lord for that blessing. 

There was a time I loved going to work. Seriously, I enjoyed what I did and the people I worked with.  Sometimes those days seem as if they happened in a sequence of one of my crazy dreams.  Office administration has changed, new, different personalities have been added and employee morale is down.  Although I still enjoy what I do, the thought of going to work is sometimes a downer.   My office contains an eclectic mix of characters that bring new meaning to the phrase “too many chiefs and not enough Indians.”  In this environment everyone wants to call the shots.  The result: tempers flare, moods clash, and sometimes very heated words are exchanged.  As with most companies, those high on the totem pole only care about protocol and we underlings are left with the bulk of the stress and dissatisfaction.  With all that many of us have on our plates in everyday life, should work take such a toll?

When we are young we dream about the possibilities. We played games like “that’s my car” (you remember picking out the hottest vehicle on the block and imagining you are the owner).  There were sleepless nights fantasizing with friends about the homes we would live in, the type of schools our children would attend and what exciting, lucrative job would afford us all of this.  At what point do we sacrifice self fulfillment for a paycheck?  Where does it all turn left? One moment we are bright eyed, optimistic youth and the next, overworked, despondent, adults; slaves to a necessary routine that keeps food on the table and bills paid.

For a few years there was a woman that worked with me who always complained “I hate it here” and with good reason.  She was the energetic “self starter,” very bright, with much potential but in her case there was no opportunity for growth. She was stuck in a position that was an insult to her intelligence but she felt there was nothing to be done about it. We all know the job market sucks, people are scrambling to add a second job to already full lives, not get rid of ones they have.

In her mind she was in a rut with no way out.  One day she said “I can’t take it here anymore.”  Within two months she had a brand new job with more incentives and room for growth.  I was happy for her; she did what the rest of us wouldn’t-searched for personal fulfillment.  She knew she was capable of more and with the right direction could go further, that is what her search was about, finding a company that would allow her to grow professionally and in turn, personally.

Even as I write this I am fully aware of the sick comfortable monotony I’m condemning myself to.  Job security is a thing of the past but there is sanctuary in what we already know.  I know my job and the people I work with, I can plan my workday as I get dressed in the mornings.   In my eyes the office is like a singing group; various talents from different backgrounds put together to form a cash cow for the label (um boss).  We perform for eight hours or more daily and every so often come home to one piece of fan mail (the paycheck).

If seeing the money is enough for most folks then great, forty more years of the same grind should be a good look for you.  Some  of us want more involvement, gratification, pay, benefits or whatever. As long as we want it then we have the power to go get it. I can count on one hand those I know who are truly satisfied with the work they do and/or those they work with.  I’ve stopped complaining about my situation and started thanking God that I have a job. However, my prayers don’t do anything to ease the feeling that I am supposed to be doing something more with my life.

The recent departure of my coworker sparked a fire in a few of us.  Another coworker of mine is transferring to a different site within our company.  A couple of others are thinking of their own exit strategies. The most important lesson in both work and life is if you aren’t satisfied then address the source of your discontent and initiate change.  Maybe it’s time for some of us to get out of the relationships we’re in and start looking for new loves (apply that wherever you see fit).

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