[-$40,745] I Think It’s Time for Me to Leave

There’s a trick to the Graceful Exit. It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, a relationship is over – and to let go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its value. – Ellen Goodman

I think it’s time for me to leave my job, and my career…

Of the 10 Signs You Hate Your Job, I score an 8 out of 10 right now.

In the article How Work Kills Us, from The Economist, it is argued that work harms employees by being tied to their access to health care, and that the stress of work, lack of control over one’s working environment, long hours, etc, makes people sick both directly and indirectly.

I feel like work is killing me and I want out. When things go south in my jobs, it seems, they go south fast. 

The big project, that I was supposedly leading, has been given to someone else. I’m experiencing mild disrespect from a few co-workers and moderate level disrespect from one person in particular. I was going to write that it’s not that bad, but it is starting to remind me of my post “Are You Trapped in an Abusive Relationship with Your Job?”.

More worrisome is that with everything going on, I know I’m “on the radar” of Newish Leader (who is above my Manager). Newish Leader was hired in from a very profitable, but very toxic ‘rank and yank’ company to crack the whip in our division and increase / improve our output.

I have all the classic burnout symptoms. Everything and everyone at work annoys me. After the big layoff a couple of years ago, and other colleagues leaving on their own since then, the new people hired have all been young (not by coincidence) with similar demographic backgrounds, and are mildly clique-ish. It’s not horrible or anything, but I just don’t feel like I fit anymore. I no longer even have a work pal in the office that I can connect and vent with.

For the first time, I’ve even sensed some (temporary?) irritation from my manager, which is brand new. It could just be the stress of all the work being piled on Manager by Newish Leader, but I think Newish Leader’s opinion of me may be rubbing off on Manager. Not good, if true. I don’t know for certain yet.

Coupled with this is the new work process / role expansion that I’m trying to adapt to, but am neither suited to nor interested in. I’m struggling to keep up and engage during meetings.  Certain things will cause me to have flashbacks of what it was like before I got fired from last job.

There have been a couple of times within the past month that I’ve left a meeting shaking, just knowing that I’m on thin ice.  I don’t think this job is a good fit for me anymore. I won’t be making any immediate/hasty moves of course because of the difficulty of getting work in my field, not to mention with a good employer, but I’d be very surprised if I’m still with my current employer 1 year from now. I want to at least stick around another 6 months or so for my bonus, but don’t know if I’ll last that long – voluntarily or otherwise.

I just feel like its time for something else. Problem is, I’m burnt out and have stagnant skills. Being over 40 doesn’t help, as ageism in my industry is very real. I’ve already started applying for a handful of positions just to see what’s out there. So far I’ve received one rejection and silence from the others. I need new and better skills.

As I’ve mentioned in other posts, my current career is shifting, industry-wide, into something that I don’t want to do and draws on certain high-pressure people skills that I just don’t have and never will have.

To top everything off, I feel like I’m racing the recession clock. 2020 is floating around as the year that we slide back into a recession, according to economists and other pundits. So far it’s not predicted to be as bad as the 2008 Great Recession, but it will be bad. If 2000 was the Dot.com Bubble, and 2008 was the ‘Housing Bubble’, this market is being called the ‘Everything Bubble’. If I land somewhere else in late 2019, it will need to be stable enough to ride out a recession without massive layoffs.

Smart money says to use this time before 2020 to get out of debt and hoard cash (increase my emergency fund). The question for me is, how to do all that and cash-flow going back to school in the evenings? The downside of taking classes, along with the loss of personal time, is the cost. The classes will cost money. One place I’m looking at would cost $10-12k total over the next 8-10 months of instruction in the evenings/weekends. This would slow down my debt payoff by 6 months or so. Sigh.

Again, I’m not going to do anything reckless, as I greatly need my income and benefits. I don’t expect that I’ll be changing jobs immediately, although I will keep applying to jobs of interest as they come up. I have a T-12 month count down to put this plan in motion, if I can tough it out that long. If I get fired before then, then I go full time with classes and speed up the transition.  In the meantime, I will try to keep my day job and study at night. Ugh.

As I am considering two different (but somewhat related) career paths, I’m investigating which educational programs are open to me and the pros and cons of each, including career services offered and job placement rates, etc. I’m also going to start off going through a couple of free courses online to make sure I really like the subject matter before I commit to spending money on a real program.

I’m looking at the careers themselves to see not only salary, but what the short term and long term opportunities are for the field. One thing I don’t like about my current field is that it’s geographically locked to a few regions of the US. I want a skill set/profession that will let me find a job anywhere, even overseas. Better yet, I want skills that are location independent where I could get full time remote work and live wherever I wanted, once I got more senior in the profession of course.  Ok, I’m dreaming about the future again.

But as for now, I think it’s time for me to leave.


How did you know it was time to leave your job?


Punch of the Week

A forceful $1,767 right hook to the Evil Student Loan this week.


“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW Archives)


  1. layingdownlawdebt · September 15, 2018

    I’m sorry your job isn’t giving you the satisfaction that you’re looking for. Is there a sort of stepping stone job you could do that would give you different skills so that you didn’t have to pay for school?


    • Double Debt Single Woman · September 16, 2018

      Yes, that’s an option too. It would be nice to find a job like that (stepping stone job). I’m definitely keeping my eyes open.

      Unfortunately, in my professional area, they aren’t common. Most jobs that involve use of the skills I’m interested in require that you already have the skills before they hire you. Not many places want to train anymore (or will let you learn on the job).


  2. Maria · September 15, 2018

    Ugh. I’m sorry to hear this. Not feeling a sense of belonging at best, disrespect and lack of trust, being forced into roles you’re not suited for or interested in…. Yeah, doesn’t sound like a good fit anymore.

    I’m so glad you’ve paid off so much debt already, and that you have a decent emergency fund. Though of course I understand you want to be in an even better position.

    I like your plan of applying for other interesting position, taking some free classes and considering the pros and cons of your possible career choices. Is it an option to “just” stick to that for now and focus on paying off debt/increasing cash on hand until you leave your job (voluntarily or not)? When you leave your job you can focus more on taking classes then like you said, and work at Starbucks or whatever until you can find another job you’ll hopefully like better.

    I just don’t want you to burn yourself out or spend too much cash that would serve you better in some other way. But of course there are pros and cons to every option. Maybe taking some classes that interest you would be a welcome distraction, I don’t know. You’re very smart and in the best position to make the best choices for yourself, I’m just thinking out loud.

    Is it an option for you to consider a relatively short education to let you do something entirely different, say working in a kinder garden or becoming an electrician or whatever? Maybe teaching something related to your field of expertise (but for high school kids or some such group)?

    Are you planning on continuing to invest at your current rate, or do you think you’ll spend more of that money on debt/emergency fund/education?

    I also like Layingdownlawdebt’s suggestion of a stepping stone job, if such a thing is available.

    Best of luck, whatever you end up doing!


    • Double Debt Single Woman · September 16, 2018

      Thanks, Maria.

      Yes, you make a good point that I’m already burned out and adding school to that could make things worse for me. Yes, that is definitely a risk.

      I’m not planning to quit or do anything else hasty. I’m going to take a look at what my options are and make a plan to get from where I am now careerwise to where I want to be.


  3. Veronica · September 15, 2018

    Hi Denise. Sounds as if your inner voice and outer circumstances are ‘yelling’ at you “time to move on, time to move on!” Not necessarily (but maybe) leaving your career, but most certainly discarding a toxic workplace where you aren’t being honoured. You’ve created a wonderful resource here on the blog for us, so I hope you carry a celebratory feeling as you search for a better fit for your talents and dreams. We’re all rooting for you!


    • Double Debt Single Woman · September 16, 2018

      Thanks, Veronica.
      Yeah, it’s feeling like it’s time to move on. I just want the next move I make to be a good one.


  4. My Early Retirement Journey · September 15, 2018

    So…what would you rather be doing?


    • Double Debt Single Woman · September 16, 2018

      There are two career paths that I’ve been giving the most consideration to lately. Both are less high-pressure people focused and are instead more focused on things and information. Both will require taking classes to learn new skills.

      The first option is a different specialization within my current career that draws on different skills and tools, but is somewhat familiar. The second option uses more advanced forms of the skills and tools of the first option, but is a standalone career. Both of these have their pros and cons, which I’m looking into.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Anon · September 17, 2018

        Unfortunately, this is so vague that it tells us nothing!


        • Double Debt Single Woman · September 19, 2018

          Ha! Yeah, that’s kinda the point. I already know what career paths are of immediate interest to me. I’m just working out which of the two paths to pursue (or at least to pursue first.)


  5. NZ Muse · September 15, 2018

    For me, there was an exodus of staff and I could tell that the best projects were officially likely to be behind me – priorities were changing and I didn’t think I’d get to work on the things I wanted to work on in the future.


    • Double Debt Single Woman · September 16, 2018

      Not sure which is worse; co-workers leaving (or getting pushed out) and getting replaced or leaving and not getting replaced.
      Good for you for seeing the writing on the wall.


  6. Viking Tantan · September 17, 2018

    I’m sorry that your workplace has increasingly become more toxic. 😦 It really sucks. I hope it neutralizes or gets better for you. I know it sucks to have this happening while you’re still slaying debt and punching it in the face. I think you’re bad ass and you got this! Fighting! 😊

    I knew it was time to leave my old job the moment I took a promotion and worked my first day. It was a massive mistake. I tried to back track (ie go back to my old position), but I excelled in my new position in the company and management wasn’t going to let me return to my old position. However, I didn’t start planning my exit strategy until a few months later. In my current job, I just miss home too much to stay another year after I complete this contract; plus I can’t move on to my next level towards financial independence while I’m living in Korea.

    Speaking of which, my new schools are 100x better than my old ones. Both former schools were trying to pull semi-illegal crap during summer and winter breaks when I had to teach English camp; which as public schools, it’s not supposed to happen. Anyways, love my new schools and the smaller class sizes.

    I also just posted pictures from my Osaka trip as you requested! I still have to post pics from my day trips to Kyoto and Nara sometime this week. I hope you enjoy them!

    P.S. Sorry if you got this comment twice. Wasn’t sure if the first one was sent or not. 🙂


    • Double Debt Single Woman · September 19, 2018

      Glad that your teaching schools are better. Thanks for sharing the pics. They are great! Lucky you!
      And thanks for the kind words! 🙂


  7. Isabella · September 17, 2018

    Oh, I fear for you about taking on more schooling! Also, don’t get too hung up on the “I’m too old” thing. It can become a self-fulfilling prophecy! There are plenty of people in their 40’s who are young, vibrant and energetic. In fact, in my book, the 40’s are young. You can be young at any age. Outlook is more than half of that equation.


    • Double Debt Single Woman · September 19, 2018

      Yes, I know (about 40’s not being old)! Unfortunately, corporations and HR/hiring managers don’t always agree with that — at least not in some industries.
      About school… yeah, it will be a challenge to take classes in the evenings and weekends. I’m not thinking about going back to school for another degree. It would be 2 or 3 courses to pick up specific skills. I’m taking stock of my options, regardless.


  8. dbl04b · September 19, 2018

    I’m definitely feeling the same, it’s a struggle to hurry up and get out of debt before something happens again. It’s a shame their where no jobs for 2 years after I graduated from college. I am feeling the pinch at my current job and I have been with my organization for 5 years. I like what I do, but not necessarily the decisions that management makes. As you said, I pray we can ride out the recession years. It really seems that those in the lower segments of society will have it really hard this go-around. There’s hope for the next generation though, stay out of debt.


    • Double Debt Single Woman · September 19, 2018

      At least this time we’re getting some warning to get ready for the next downturn. I hope your debt payoff keeps moving along. 🙂


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  10. C@thesingledollar · September 22, 2018

    I’m sorry work is stressful 😦 But you’re doing all the right things — paying off debt like crazy so that if/when you need to take some time to find the next thing, you’re not in a really bad situation there. One of the posts suggested here was from a while back where you expressed some of the same sentiments about work, burnout, unhappiness, but were still $96K in debt! One thing I would say is that if I were you I’d be very reluctant to go for more schooling right now — at least not if you have to pay for it. (If your employer will pay for a class or two that’s a different thing.) I’ve been struggling with this myself a bit — when your answer to life problems has always been “more school” it’s tempting to just start on another degree. But at my age and yours I think we should be really careful about putting that much money into education, especially without a clear career path at the end that is open to 40-somethings. I’m trying instead to figure out how to make money off the skills I already have and don’t need to pay more to develop.


    • Double Debt Single Woman · September 29, 2018

      Excellent point, C.

      I have never had any intention of getting another degree. I have enough, thanks. Ha! I’m talking about specific professional skills based classes with projects that I can take into interviews. Yeah, I don’t want to stop working and I can’t afford to take a big drop in salary so I’d be looking at evening/weekend courses.

      The two career options I’m looking at now are at least somewhat related to what I do now, so it’s not like I’m looking to become a medical doctor or something that would be a complete life change and long shot (although not impossible) at my age. I’d like to get enough skills to get a ‘transition job’ that blends what I do now with what I want to do. After getting more experience and skills, I can get a role doing just the work I want and leave behind the type of work that I don’t.


  11. AW · September 25, 2018

    I’ve come back to this post multiple times. I’ve wanted to offer you a word of encouragement, say something wonderful, but all that runs through my mind is “I know the feeling.” I am blessed to be debt free and just a little shy of my “if I never save another $ we should be okay in retirement.” Can’t retire early, but won’t be uncomfortable in retirement. Yet with all that, all I can think of is changing jobs. Really great insurance is what holds me back, because my husband has chronic cancer. Manageable on super expensive meds ($36,000 every 8 weeks, with insurance we pay $10,000 per year). He does work, but not regularly or great wages. Am considering part time and would still qualify for insurance.

    So, yes, go for it! Make the change while you can.


    • Double Debt Single Woman · September 29, 2018

      Well wishes for your husband.
      Yeah, I can relate to the benefits shackle. My current job has quite good benefits compared to other places that I’ve been looking at. But, you’re right. I should make moves while I still can. There are other employers in town. And there are also other towns… Thanks AW.


  12. Michelle · September 26, 2018

    Oh geez, I feel for you. I hope you find something soon and is a good fit. Is it possible for you to take some time off a week or 2 so you have time to think and plan. Or even just apply for jobs?


    • Double Debt Single Woman · September 29, 2018

      I’m not going to quit or do anything rash. I’m looking at my options and trying to make a well thought out plan. Otherwise I could just jump into the same situation somewhere else. I’d love to take some time off, but I’m busy at work for the time being. That said, you bring up a good point. I should plan some time off when I can. I’ll do that.


  13. Jessica Vantage · September 27, 2018

    I totally understand. It’s not always about money that we come to this situation. I have felt the same in at least two prior jobs and it took me a while to jump back and stay afloat. My finances were suffering at that time, so it was worse.

    One way to ensure you don’t suffer is to take some time off and maybe go for a solo trip. Good luck, dear.


    • Double Debt Single Woman · September 29, 2018

      Yes, I do need some time off. I will look for some time to get ‘away’ (staycation budget) from familiar environs and breathe. Thank you.


  14. zeejaythorne · October 3, 2018

    6 months to a year of planning for a graceful exit is definitely in your favor. I’m sorry everything sucks and is stressful, but I am very glad you are being proactive. Worrying about the variables you can control is the only viable path.


  15. Tammy · October 6, 2018

    This isn’t a response to this particular post, but a note of thanks for putting your story out there. I am 43 and starting over after an unproductive marriage. I had kids early, and am eternally grateful for that and for them.

    Now I am faced with paying off 70k in student loans and a 19k auto loan (amazingly, I took that one on recently). I have never been an “earner” and am trying to resolve that. I already live a Spartan lifestyle, but need to take it to a whole new level to get my income up and pay off my debt in short order. My goal is 5 years.

    “Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” rings incredibly true. This debt has been with me for nearly 20 years, and has shaped who I am. It has crept in to every nook and cranny of my life.

    After reading your very REAL story, I have decided to keep an online journal of my progress to help me stay on track. Thank you. THANK YOU!


    • Double Debt Single Woman · October 12, 2018

      Hi Tammy. Welcome and thanks for commenting!

      You have good goals – more income and less debt. You can certainly do it.
      Best of luck and let me know how it is going for you as you make progress.


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