It’s currently Monday afternoon, which means 83% of all people on earth are thinking about quitting their jobs at this exact moment.
The remaining 17% are divided among these groups: people who love their jobs (5%), people who don’t actually work while they are at their jobs (10%), and those without fully functioning frontal lobes of the brain (2%).
(Percentages are estimates. And by “estimates” I mean “I made them up.”)
I’m not thinking about quitting my job but that’s because I only work until 2pm and then come home and take a nap. Then I start my other job, which is being a writer while simultaneously taking care of our kids and house. I get enough variety from this setup that I don’t need to quit anything– before I know it I’m on to something new each day.
But I have quit many, many jobs in my day. I’m sitting here, reviewing all the jobs I’ve ever quit, and I really don’t have any regrets. Many of those jobs ran their course and ended because the summer was over, the contract was finished, or I was pregnant and the baby was about to explode from my abdomen. I can think of two jobs in particular that were so awful that I can’t even go near those places, to this day.
I feel this qualifies me as an expert in quitting jobs, and I’m here to give you some things to ponder if you find yourself in the 83% of persons who currently would like to find new employment:
- What’s the real problem? Am I frustrated with the duties of the actual job, the people I’m forced to work with, or– moment of hard truth– am I the problem? I know I wander through life with this vague sense of restlessness, looking for situations to be solved so I can find contentment and joy. The problem is I’m often really the problem and, until I slay the dragon of discontentment, quitting isn’t going to solve anything. On the other hand, sometimes the job duties are a bad match or the people are truly horrible. In that case, I’ve found tremendous satisfaction from giving my notice and walking out the door.
- Am I really trapped here? Sometimes I feel trapped by a job which makes me hate it even more. When I feel like everything depends on that paycheck hitting the bank account every other Friday, I get a little nuts. The first few years Eric and I were married he was finishing his degree, which meant I had the actual job with benefits. I felt like I had to work at a job I was completely unsuited to do, but I should have quit. Honestly. At that point in our marriage we could have easily lived off what I made at almost any other job– no kids, no car payments, no mortgage. I still regret staying at that job, fifteen years later.
- What can we change now to prepare for a job switch in the future? I think many of us hesitate to quit our jobs because we know it’ll wreak havoc on our families. But what if we started moving slowly in the right direction, getting everyone on board a little at a time? Just knowing I have an exit plan helps me feel a lot better about a terrible situation. We have some friends who could easily cut at least $10,000 out of their annual budget by chopping two things– dance lessons for their daughters and a costly preschool program for their son. As far as I know both parents love their jobs, but if one of them wanted to quit they could slowly start reducing dance lessons and finding less expensive schooling options. Often an exit strategy is simply a matter of sucking up some courage and taking that first small step.
- Is this job my true calling in life, and/or is it helping me to accomplish that true calling? Don’t get me wrong, I love my job as a church secretary. It’s tons of fun– but it’s not my true calling in life. My first calling is to my husband and children, and after that I’m a writer. But there are actual bills that need to be paid and being a mother and writer is not a good way to make actual money. The part-time job gives us what we need so other callings are possible. Paul, the man who wrote so much of the New Testament, was a tentmaker. That was a great way for him to make money so he could eat, but it wasn’t his true calling in life. He had bigger things to do, my friends.
- Have I prayed about this? I often spend a lot of time thinking through a problem from many directions before I settle on the correct plan of action. I then begin to harass God into agreeing with me and my plan. However, I’m pretty sure that if I started with prayer and then opened my life to what God really has planned, that flexibility might make the whole process a lot less painful. Let’s go back to our friend Paul, the tentmaker. His true calling involved a lot of uncomfortable situations, from angry mobs to shipwrecks to prison time. No one would have thought it unreasonable for him to pray about the situation and then quit. Because PRISON. Lucky for us he didn’t quit. He took those problems and rolled on, because he was focused on his true calling to spread the Gospel. I’m pretty sure this focus was possible only through vast quantities of prayer.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! What jobs have you quit, and have you ever regretted quitting? Or not quitting? And let me know if you have other criteria for changing jobs– let’s not rely on my expertise alone.
“So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. That is why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike.” (Paul, in Acts 26:19-22)