With all the politics and stress in many jobs, sometimes it’s best to reinvent ourselves and change directions. If your job makes you nauseous every day, and it’s just not tolerable anymore, then change your distress into action. Instead of worrying and getting consumed with “What ifs,” think of alternative solutions to your job misery. Nowadays, companies are downsizing, cutting pay and letting go of their loyal employees. With an unstable economy, some companies try to get their employees to quit, rather than being responsible for paying unemployment benefits. The whole experience can be demoralizing and frustrating to the employee, who realizes eventually that in big business, loyalty matters less and the financial bottom line of the company takes precedence over everything else. This situation has happened in my family, so it has taken a shot of positivity, creativity and resilience to move on and find a more favorable job situation.
My mother is an accomplished, talented and professional Montessori teacher. She worked for the same school for over forty years; watching it go from a small and relatively unknown institution to an established private school for the wealthiest clients. Throughout the years, the family atmosphere mom was used to became replaced with a colder, more rigid and corporate administration. As each year went by, the bonuses disappeared, as did perks and faculty camaraderie, as familiar people left and others came in. Mom went with the flow, and did her best to deal with pitfalls and problems along the way. In time, the climate in the school went from friendly to tense, and nearly all of my mother’s peers retired. It was stressful to everyone and it was hard for my father and I to watch her become more depressed and less enthusiastic about the job she had always loved.
The last straw came in the summer, two years ago, when the administration tried to cut my mother’s pay. She watched the classes she loved teaching go to other teachers, and her classroom was no longer just hers for the first time in her entire career. After years of teaching generation of adoring students, my mother, with the highest seniority in the company, resigned. It had been a stressful, never-ending negotiation, and it took its toll on her. She loved the kids but the politics weren’t worth the emotional upheaval. When the school moved to a new facility, she made her final exit.
Now, my mother teaches piano to her loyal students from home. They love her, and she loves them. Gone is the stress and daily dread of dealing with work politics. She is happy, fulfilled and still has contact with children of former students she had in the past. Mom didn’t let the misery of her former job destroy her, it empowered her resolve to do what she loves to do, teach children and play music. She has recitals and the kids work hard to do well in them. It’s so nice to see everyone happy, and she is no longer feeling unappreciated, or put down. Life gave her lemons, and she made lemonade. There is happiness in her voice that wasn’t there when she worked away from home. At last, my mother is happy and unburdened by needless work politics.
As my own life is now affected by company downsizing and politics, now it is my turn to go with the flow and keep sane as possible. Firsthand, I know and understand the stress and frustration of dealing with employers who will do anything not to pay unemployment benefits as they watch their company go down in flames. Once a top producing salesperson in this very large company, my sales have gone down to nearly nothing as customers take their business elsewhere for better deals. Everyone in my position feels the pain, and the employer turns up the volume on pressuring customers to get the all-important sales statistics back to where they once were a mere year ago. Our paychecks have become small, but our duties increase, as the company tries to force us all to work harder, longer and more aggressively. Not being the aggressive sort of salesperson, it doesn’t work for me at all. Like my mother, in the last few years, I’ve watched my friends quit, their jobs, in disgust of our company’s revised pay scales. As time goes on, the bosses raise the bar so high, that only the most heartless and most aggressive salespeople remain. My sales skills are highly developed, but my aim is teach the customer to trust me, and not mercilessly harass them into buying my products. Customer trust is gone, as the company doesn’t even try to promote it. The writing is on the wall, and as much as it scares me, I’m at peace with moving on.
When your job takes a turn for the worse, just take a deep breath and keep emotion out of it as much as possible. Keeping a clear head is a necessity to plan, cope and move past this bad situation. My situation has been building for months, so my solution was to put my resume out to companies as early in the process as possible. It takes time to find a good job, so it pays to act quickly. I re-wrote my resume, improved my portfolio and saved copies of my sales figures to show possible employers. After receiving job offers unsuitable for me, last week, a quality one came through. All the tests (drug, background checks, and others) are now finished and soon, the new job will begin. It feels so good to know that now it is okay to move on, and to be loyal to a highly reputable employer, with a strong history of employee satisfaction. We all outgrow our jobs eventually, but being proactive is the key to emerging from it a victor, and not a victim. So, your head probably feels like it’s going to explode at times, confide in friends and family to lessen the pressure cooker. Above all else, remember, you are granting your current employer access to you, they don’t own you. Do they deserve your attention, or do you deserve better? Be positive, keep a level head and don’t give up. The keys to a better job are being persistent and believing in yourself.