How to cut your losses without despairing
If your current job fills you with dread or panic, it is time to reconsider your options. Toxic workplaces make the situation even worse.
Don’t hate me for saying this, but the key to remaining sane is to be calm.
I walked out on a job once because the environment was so toxic. After months of cumulative stress and living for the weekend, I had had enough. The thought of being unemployed was more attractive than staying somewhere I felt trapped and exploited.
The strange thing was: I didn’t pack up my things and walk out because I was anxiety-ridden, but because I felt a deep sense of calm and a prevailing reassurance that I was making the right choice.
I’m still not sure how I got to that point because this decision didn’t follow any dramatic fight or event, but stemmed from the knowledge that I couldn’t keep doing this to myself.
As I walked out of the building, I had complete clarity and calm. Perhaps even more amazingly, I’d been in more awful work environments previously–so this wasn’t even my worst experience!
If you are reading this, you too may have considered leaving your work and never returning. It is not a straightforward decision to make, especially if you have familial and financial obligations to fulfil.
There are, of course, some circumstances that one cannot, and should not endure. If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the following questions, you need to leave. Are you are experiencing harassment, bullying, abusive or threatening behaviour? Is your physical, mental, or psychological wellbeing compromised?
Before you leave, consider:
- Writing out your primary concerns.
- Thinking of realistic solutions.
- Working out your financial needs.
- Reaching out to your networks.
Let’s tackle each of these individually.
First, reduce anxiety by identifying your major areas of concern. Create a detailed list, draw a spider diagram, or write a journal entry. Record your greatest challenges–whether emotional, professional, or fiscal.
Once you have a list, be reasonable about solutions. For example, if one concern is that you have a non-compete clause, think about what other positions or markets need skills like yours. You could consider setting up your own business in an unrelated field.
Financial responsibility may influence your decision too. Ensure you know what all your expenses are and how long you can be unemployed for (should it come to that). Ideally, plan to sustain yourself comfortably for a minimum of six months. If your employer covers your medical and other insurances, and allows for perks such as a travel allowance, these costs will be your responsibility once you resign.
Create opportunities for yourself. Show your potential to employers, business partners, or investors. Let your mentors, colleagues, and friends know you are open to new opportunities.
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