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)