job satisfaction, career change, quit job, leave job, sanityAt some point in our work lives, we all feel trapped and beaten down. Sometimes this is temporary and the situation resolves itself – new boss, transfer to different office, re-alignment of job duties. But, what happens when this becomes the norm? I was recently reminded of all of the effects of a bad work situation when talking with a friend:

Physical health: increased risks for serious problems including heart attack and stroke.

Self- image: reduced ability to recognize and articulate value of the individual’s work to the organization.

Mental health: depression and inability to make even the most basic decisions (to his wife’s great frustration).

Over time, my friend’s situation had changed from work that he loved to do and was very good at, to being a high-paid “go-fer” for management, always at their beck and call, even nights and weekends. He and his wife had a dream of developing their band from a hobby into a business, and were well on their way to doing just that. But as his work became both less fulfilling and more demanding, they struggled to keep their plans on track. The final straw came when he was told to cancel a performance scheduled several months in advance at a venue they really wanted to play at. The next day, he turned in his resignation.

Foolhardy, you say? Perhaps. If he had simply acted on impulse without any consideration for what might come next, that would be true. But he and his wife had already assessed what (and how little) they needed for basic expenses and how they could generate income for those expenses. They are prepared to sell most of their assets and even move to a location that is likely a better fit for their band.

Yes, he admitted, this is still a scary spot to be in. But over the past month, since he turned in his resignation, he has lost 15 pounds and his blood pressure and cholesterol have returned to normal. This is critical since he already had two bypass surgeries and might not have survived a third.

If this story sounds familiar to you, and you dread going to work every day, it’s time to start putting a plan in place. Step off the cliff if need be to find work that will make you happy.

You just might save your life, or at least your sanity.

Thanks Powerhouse Museum Collection for the photo via Flickr