Job Disatifaction: Deciding Whether to Stay or to Go

I QuitBy Mary Jane Cronin —

Sitting at my desk that day was no different than any other day for the last ten years, except it was the day I decided to toss in the white flag. Working for a non-profit who had a mission statement to help others and care for its employees now in my heart, seemed a bit misleading.

In the forty-five years since I entered the work force, I have had my share of difficult bosses. Similar to most people, there was one who took smoking breaks hourly but frowned if staff was a minute or two late from their two breaks a day. The boss who plays favorites, the one who encourages staff to come in early and take unfinished work home at night or on weekends. I have figured out over the years how to secure my job and tolerate their antics.

What was it this time that pushed my button? It was a boss who belittled me, who made me feel inferior and made remarks several times a week about my performance. How had I been doing this job for ten years and been fine until now? The stress caused by this situation caused me to start my day waking and wishing it was the weekend. Not wanting to go to work – to a profession I spent six years of college to be qualified for.

The physical symptoms of this daily drain included headaches and rumbles in my stomach. I found when the phone would show her name I would have increased blood pressure and heart rate. After getting through the day, the night was filled with sleeplessness and tossing and turning. My mind raced, thinking back, had I done anything that might be faulted during the day.

My cognition was clouded as my mind focused too often on if I was doing wrong, rather than focusing on doing things right. Did I fill out the form correctly, did I ask all the right questions? Emotionally, I was a nervous wreck as I cried easily and felt sad and un-appreciated. I found myself shielding my emotions to protect myself from the experience, which made me less empathetic to my patients.

When you are experiencing burnout you don’t really see it coming. I found myself too tired to enjoy my family and friends after work and on weekends. Sleeping or staying home I found I just wanted to be away from people.

It was on that significant day, I entered the human resource office with computer and phone in hand. With tears in my eyes and feeling defeated and embarrassed I said, “I can no longer do my job and need to take some personal time off. Not seeing a broken leg or having a sick family member, co-workers asked why I was taking time off. Answering because of self-care seemed such a selfish answer. Implying that I could not do the job I had done for ten years, couldn’t do a job that almost one-hundred others were doing just fine. It left me feeling inferior and alone.

Ninety days later on a follow-up visit to my doctor it was discovered my blood pressure, my cholesterol, and blood sugar levels had improved. Without the stress of the job I was sleeping better, smiling more, and looking forward to life again.

Is leaving the right answer for everyone? Of course not. Sometimes talking to a boss can result in changes both of you can agree to. Although it was a difficult choice to make, and I will miss many of my work friends, for me it was the right choice.

Mary Jane Cronin was born in Blackwood, New Jersey and moved to Florida in the 1970s. Mary Jane Cronin has extensive experience in bereavement counseling for individuals and groups. She offers counseling services to caregivers and those seeking self-care. She has lectured on self-care, stress, journal writing, grief and bereavement. Providing counseling services in the Tampa Bay area of Florida since 2000 Ms. Cronin where she was employed as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Mary Jane has opened a private practice, Cronin Counseling and Coaching. Visit her website

Mary Jane has published three books. Her first book, November Mourning was a tribute to her late son, Jeremy and Writing Through your Grief, a journal prompt for those suffering a loss. Her latest book, A Caregiver Connection is to assist caregivers from burnout and fatigue.

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