I had lunch with a friend yesterday and she told me that the atmosphere at her job has become difficult and very uncomfortable to say the least. I won’t go into details but suffice it to say that my response was “Quit your job!” You may think that was a rash and rather flippant response, but I truly meant it and I was speaking from personal experience. She has worked for this company for well over a decade and I too had worked for a company for well over a decade and for the last 6-7 years it was a source of constant high-level stress that was damaging to my health. One day, the straw broke the camel’s back and the very next morning I turned in my 2-week notice – without another job lined up. I wasn’t even worried or concerned because upon making that decision, I had immediate peace, and I knew in my heart that God would provide. He always has, He always will, and He did! Two months later I had a great job opportunity a few blocks from home! I took a pay cut of almost $20,000 but it was so worth it. Money does NOT buy you happiness. It’s just a carrot employers dangle before you to keep you coming back every day for more. You may sense some underlying anger and bitterness in my words here which is unfortunately true. A year after I quit, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and I honestly believe that my job environment was at least 60-75% responsible for the disease due to constant high levels of stress, poor eating habits (eating on the run) and inadequate sleep (working late into the night) all of which had a negative impact on my immune system. Even 2 years and 9 months later, some bitterness still remains but it’s not like it was before. I’ve worked hard to put it behind me, and I’m no longer triggered every day. At this point, I’m truly trying to find the strength and grace to forgive but I know that is impossible without God’s help and grace.
Obviously, I’ve become an advocate for self-care on a daily basis and that means loving yourself enough to remove yourself from a toxic work environment or a job that you hate to go to every morning. Why continue to subject yourself to misery every day? Don’t be fooled into thinking it represents security. There are so many other options to consider that will provide you with true security, tranquility, joy, and peace of mind. No one has laid on their death bed thinking about how glad they are that they spent so many miserable years working at a job that destroyed their soul. I understand that it’s so much easier to just stay put because it’s “known.” It's like a woman who stays in an abusive relationship because she feels that it's easier than leaving and facing the unknown future of tomorrow. Of course, job hunting is not the most pleasant experience but getting started is half the journey. Once you update your resume and start looking, you are halfway there. Be open to change. It’s sometimes scary but God has a plan for you – for every phase of your life. Be willing to consider what you find placed in front of you. Remember the great job opportunity just blocks from my house? It was a part-time position and I’ve always worked full-time. I hesitated for a moment then realized I could find another part-time position, which is exactly what I did and both jobs together provided me with full-time hours and Fridays off!
The most important thing to remember in all of this is that you must trust in God and include Him in your decision making. Praying and listening to Him will help you discern when and how to make the changes in your work life that will bring you health and happiness. Our Lord does not want to see us toiling miserably day in and day out. He has a plan for you and God’s plans are always good. Spend time with Him and see what He has to say to you. You’ll be glad you did!