Even During a Pandemic, a Job Isn’t Worth Your Sanity

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Photo by Engin akyurt on Unsplash

We have all been there. Your dream job turns into a nightmare, and you begin to dread the sound of the alarm clock going off in the morning. Whether the company wasn’t a good fit or someone flat-out lied to you, the end result is that you feel trapped in a job you have come to hate.

Over the last six months, I have applied for upwards of 150 jobs and had a total of 1 interview. This is not a good time to be job-hunting. I kept telling myself that I could tough it out for just a little bit longer, just until I found something else. The days dragged on, the hours grew longer, and I applied for anything that I could possibly qualify for and some things that just looked interesting.

Chronic stress takes a toll on your body. You have trouble sleeping, lose your appetite, become irritable and find yourself forgetting things that you should know off by heart. I found myself driving past the house where I’ve lived for four years. People would text me, and I would forget to respond until days later. No amount of sleep ever felt like enough, and when I did sleep, I was often plagued by nightmares, all revolving around work. My overall quality of life was taking a rapid nosedive, and there was no relief in sight. So I quit. The feeling of relief was immediate and palpable. The concept of being unemployed in the midst of a global pandemic was less stressful than the idea of going to spend another day employed at a company I had grown the loathe and resent.

When deciding to leave or stay at a job, you need to choose your hard lines. What are the things that you are willing to accept and work with, and what are the things that are absolute deal-breakers. I am ashamed to admit that I put up with several things that I had once considered to be deal-breakers. Desperation weaves a tight trap.

If you are having difficulties weighing the pros and cons, write down a physical list and rank them. Look at your list and determine the things that you place the most value on. No two people will ever have the same lists. Financial security may trump having to deal with a micromanaging boss or having to share a desk with a guy who eats tuna sandwiches every day. However, it is important to remember that a steady paycheque does not mean that you need to tolerate harassment, abuse or work that jeopardizes your safety.

Diversification is incredibly important. The gig economy is nowhere near perfect, but it does provide the option of alternative revenue streams while you figure the rest of your shit out. I really have no clear plan on what I’m going to do with my life right now, but I know that I have no intentions of going back. And that feels good.

Crazy dog mom, mental health advocate, project manager and writer

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