Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Integrity Consistently Compromised? Quit!

I once worked for a witch. No, not that kind. A real one. A male one, with long flowing locks and the charisma of a car salesman. I came into work one day and the place smelled like a combination of rotten eggs and stinkweed had been roasted over an open fire. Turns out, the witches (there was more than one besides my immediate supervisor, and by the way they called themselves “witches” so this is not meant to be a slur or anything) had performed a ceremony the night before that was supposed to increase profits. It smelled so bad that a couple of my co-workers and I went out for coffee instead of starting to work. So much for productivity that day.

One of my witch co-workers would also occasionally wave a rock over our coffee cups and mutter something. I think it was so we would have more luck selling our specialty advertising items, which was the nature of the business. It would freak out my cubicle-mate, who suspected evil spells.

When I took the job I was desperate: a single parent, I had been out of work for months. Despite having a brand new Masters degree, it was one of those all-too-frequent recessions and they were the only ones who would hire me. Even though I needed work, I ended up listening to my intuition and making a decision that others in my situation may not have – I quit.

I woke up one morning with a terrible stomach ache. That stomach ache was a signal to me, one that has plagued me since childhood whenever I am under tremendous emotional stress. The intense pain gave me pause – what was going on? I recognized that I really didn’t want to go to work. I suspected that the company I worked for was not completely on the up-and-up and that for whatever reason, financial troubles or just plain underhandedness (which is what I really suspected), they were not delivering on the customers’ orders. This, coupled with the fact that I was numbing my brain selling junk over the telephone, made it not a desirable place to work. (Surprisingly, it wasn’t the witches – they made coming to work rather interesting.) Without giving two weeks’ notice (the one and only time I did that), I called in and quit.

The owner took it really well and in fact said some nice things about possibly working together in the future. A month later the business closed without paying some of the employees.

As a coach, I have had clients who insisted on remaining in their jobs even though the company or their boss was unethical or a tyrant. I have heard some horror stories about bosses who should be in jail or at least slapped with lawsuits. These are bosses who consistently discriminated against various kinds of people (overweight, old, women, name a religion and race), and were stealing or cheating. The clients who wouldn’t quit even after hiring me for help were under crushing stress. Their physical health, family relationships, and mental and emotional states were all damaged.

What is more important? Making money or your physical and mental health? My clients who wouldn’t quit were scared if they did they wouldn’t be able to pay their mortgage or take care of their families. Valid fears, yes. But I guarantee, living under that much stress every day takes it’s toll and will cost you long-term in poor health.

Simply put: If you are under that much stress consistently, LEAVE. Leave and let it go. Of course, try not to burn any bridges when you leave. You never know what is going to happen in the future. But get out before you do permanent damage to yourself and your family. Your family doesn’t want you to get cancer or be unhappy.

Have the courage, confidence and the self-awareness to find a job that is worthy of you. It is out there. Even when jobs are hard to find like the present, there is something out there for you. It may be temporary, it may be part-time, it’s probably not perfect. But it will be someplace where your skills will be used, and you will be of value. Where can you be of the most value? And valued the most? I hope you are there right now. Make the most of it.

No comments:

Post a Comment