Valentine’s Day is a good time to evaluate your relationships. You may already be inclined to assess a romantic relationship, but what about your work relationship with your employer? After all, if you are like most people, you spend more time at work than you do with your spouse or significant other. It can be as difficult, and in some cases more difficult, to break up with an employer as it is to break up a romantic relationship.
Interestingly enough, some people give very similar excuses for not leaving a very toxic employee-employer relationship as for staying in a romantic relationship.
Here are a few:
It’s going to get better. This is a tough excuse to overcome. After all, none of us knows what the future holds, and it’s always possible (even if the odds are very long) that the situation may improve. But if you’ve been in a toxic environment for years that is sucking the lifeblood out of you, it’s not likely to get better, especially if it is the culture of the organization that fuels the toxicity level.
I don’t think I can do any better. This excuse needs to be reality tested. In some cases this could be true, but if you never check out other organizations, you will never know if you could do better or not. This doesn’t mean that you need to immediately quit your job to find the perfect position. It’s better to talk with colleagues in other organizations to find out what their experiences are like so that you can do a comparison. If you feel you can’t do any better than your current organization because you think that you may not be employable elsewhere, come up with a plan to invest in yourself educationally so that you increase your employability. It may be going back to school for a degree or obtaining a certification. Whatever the case, it’s always good to have options. You can set yourself up for mistreatment if you give your employer reason to believe that you will never leave because you can’t leave and find another job.
They can’t do without me. Even though you may feel that the organization cannot possibly survive without you, you should keep in mind that if you get sick or die, they will do without you. It’s not your job to play savior to the organization. Clearly you should do your best at whatever you do, but if you feel that you must stay in an organization because they can’t do without you, you are in an unhealthy situation. Any good organization will ensure continuity and do cross training as well as succession planning.
I make too much money to leave. This is what we call golden handcuffs. You have to determine if the job is really worth the money. If the job is costing you your health, you should consider the fact that money alone cannot buy health. And if your health is sufficiently impaired, you will not be able to work at this job that you feel you cannot leave. In the worst case scenario, you will lose both the money and your health. If you know that you really need to leave this job, you should start making plans. You can try finding another job that is comparable in pay or start reducing your expenses so that you can live on less once you do leave.
It’s all I know. People who have worked for one organization for most if not all of their careers are likely to use this excuse. It can be really scary, especially in a bad economy, to venture out into the unknown. But if your job is making you physically and emotionally sick, it may be time to break up with your employer.
*If you find yourself in any of the above scenarios, call 877-743-9521 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to speak to a career coach who can help you.