Wednesday, January 9, 2013

In Your Heart You Know

A long time ago my parents asked for my opinion as to when my father should retire. I suggested, “As long as you are having fun, keep doing it. If it isn’t fun anymore and you can retire, retire.” In a little over a week I will be taking my own advice. This raised a serious question in my mind. When is it time to quit your job? I found more articles and quizzes on this subject than I believed possible, but I think in your heart you know when it is time to find a new path for your life.

Some of the reasons for leaving your job include:

The Boss from Hell: If your boss is an evil little tyrannical bully or a dishonest lying creep who takes credit for your work, consider looking for a new job.

A Company that Asks You to Compromise Your Ethics: As you know I believe Christianity to be a religion of freedom and grace. I will not tell you what is ethical. That is the Holy Spirit’s job. However, if your job constantly grieves your conscience, it might be time to move on.

You are Consistently Bored: If your job is an endless boring torment without anything that you find interesting or intellectually challenging, why waste your life in a state of existential angst?

You are Not Rewarded for what You Do: If you are consistently performing at a level that is out of whack with the pay and benefits you receive from your job, you can probably do better.

Your Life Situation is Different: Perhaps you have a new baby. All of a sudden a job that requires a lot of travel that was once glamorous and exciting is no longer appropriate for your new situation.

Your Company is in a Death Spiral: Watch the quality of your coworkers and especially the quality of your managers. The smartest most aggressive rats will be first to leave a sinking ship. The slothful and the dullards are there to close the doors following bankruptcy. If you find yourself in a dying industry don’t be the last to leave.

Somebody Screwed Up: It happens. Sometimes it was your fault. Sometimes it wasn’t. If your work relationships are a hopeless irreparable mess, consider something new. Examples include; you’re part of a major failure, a disastrous romantic relationship with a coworker, or an irredeemable relationship with your supervisor.

Your Job Just Isn’t Fun Anymore: Time changes everything. It changes job requirements. It changes your coworkers. It changes corporate structures. It even changes you. Sometimes, you just know. In your heart you know. It is time to move on.

Making The Decision That It Is Time To Find A New Job Can Not Be Taken Lightly In An Economy With 8% Structural Unemployment!

Plan and prepare for your move in a rational and responsible manner. Consider the story of the Count of Monte Cristo. Edmund Dantes was unfairly and illegally condemned to life imprisonment in an island fortress. Escape was impossible, but Dantes befriended Abbe Faria, a fellow prisoner known as the Mad Priest. For 14 years they dug a tunnel, hoping to escape. During this time Dantes receives a fine education from Abbe Faria. When the priest knows he is near death, he gives Dantes the secret location of a great treasure on the isle of Monte Cristo. Then he dies. Dantes escapes but not through a tunnel. He sews himself into his friend’s body bag. His jailers toss him into the ocean. Then he cuts his way out. Dantes is rescued by passing smugglers. Once again he needs to escape his saviors before he can claim the treasure. Finally, he succeeds. With his new fortune he buys the island and the title of Count of Monte Cristo from the Tuscan government.

Work can be an uplifting experience. Your work can make you and the world a better place. I hope it doesn’t take 14 years to escape from a dead end job, but it might take several years. If you are 5 years from a full pension, I would not recommend planning for an immediate escape. For my younger readers, a full 6-8 month emergency fund can give you and your family flexibility in uncertain situations. If you aren’t there yet, keep working on your finances. Like Dantes, keep digging. Adding a few spoonfuls to your liquidity every day will ultimately lead to freedom. Like Dantes, make yourself a more valuable employee. Education in a classroom or on the job development of new skills will make you a more desirable commodity. Network! The connections you make in the world you want to inhabit will ultimately make good your escape. Do your research on companies and locations that will better your life. Who are the major employers in your dream city? What are your dream companies? Where are they located? Did you know Apple is building a new plant in South Carolina? Don’t assume you know everything about a company. Send out your resumes. Do the hard repetitive work that will lead to your freedom.

Take a page from the Godfather. Hold your friends close. Hold your enemies closer. While you are planning your move, work to become a better employee. Try even harder to please your boss. If possible, make yourself irreplaceable. You want your organization to be shocked when you announce your departure. There are several reasons this is a good idea. If you redouble your effort to be a valuable employee, you might become one. Then your organization might be more inclined to make you an offer you can’t refuse. It is possible that kind of effort might change your own heart towards your job. That is another solution. Not the one you expected but a very good outcome. Of course, it is always better not to burn your bridges. If you can repair or retain good relationships with your former managers and coworkers, the day may come when they will be in a position to do you a favor.

I believe that as you work to escape an insufferable job situation, the universe will conspire to help you reach your goals. Do the right things with a good attitude and persistent effort over time and opportunities you can’t imagine will present themselves. You might call it coincidence when it happens to someone else. The famous psychiatrist, Carl Jung called it Synchronicity, “The experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance, yet are experienced as occurring together in a meaningful manner.” (wikipedia) Who could have imagined that Dantes’s jailers would ultimately be responsible for his escape? The Roman pagans believed fortune favored the brave.

A Christian will tell you God answers prayer.

From a bit of fiction written by yours truly. Sometimes you know. In your heart you just know.

“Another Monday morning pressed in on Daniel O'Toole. The dread he felt was almost palpable, "Another day," he thought feeling the hard rapid beat of his heart as he lay alone in his bed, wondering if there was some way he could shut off the panic rising from his gut. "There is no cure for me," the words almost forming in his dry mouth as he pushed himself up into a sitting position. Daniel squinted at the alarm clock resting on an old cheap chest of drawers that matched his unshared bed. He noted it was 4:30. He hadn't slept well that night. Daniel breathed deeply and regularly, forcing the rising nameless horror back into the pit of his stomach, wishing himself as far away from his own company as the stars that still flickered above the damp early morning fog outside his bedroom window.”


  1. Good advice in your article today, Silver Eagle. Your comment about a bad boss being a reason to search elsewhere resonated with my previous work situation. My comment relates to the advice to become irreplaceable as you may receive an offer to stay.

    Six months into my career with the bad boss, I was recruited for a position with a Fortune 500 employer. The old employer made me an offer I couldn't refuse and in the long run, retracted the salary increase 6 months later.

    An ethical boss is worth a million. If you have a bad boss, leave regardless of the retention package.

    1. Dawn

      I agree with your observation. I have also heard agreement from another friend of this blog