[by Sandy McIntosh] Christian, there are two ways to quit your job. Choose one.
Jesus told about persecution “When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another.” (Matthew 10:23) I believe when a workplace becomes dysfunctional and stressful, you need to move. God doesn’t call most of us to live in a toxic mess.
And if you can’t quit, just quit. With financial and family commitments, maybe we can’t just move on and maybe the situation is not totally toxic. The Bible, in Ephesians chapter six gives instructions to slaves, who could not move: “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.” (Ephesians 6:7).
Quit that boss, in your heart, and start working for God. The boss will probably thank you.
We have more freedom than we know.
This article is about the first option, just quit and move on.
Years ago I worked hard at my job in a large university. Over time I was promoted as a senior supervisor in a service department. I developed innovative new ideas to keep our program prosperous, and we saw great success. Years later I learned that my published papers were required reading for graduate students in another university.
One day, after I turned fifty and was not highly re-employable, I was called to a meeting and told that my contract would not be renewed. That means I was fired. I was stunned by this, and appealed to the staff association. They got me re-instated, but they also got a generous severance package. I had to choose, stay or take the money and go. I took the money.
I learned later that the program Director was planning to resign, and one person was removing rivals like me, because she wanted to be the next Director. Over time all managers in that program were fired or pressured into quitting.
In the following weeks, I found some good job offers, and took a job at a small college. My new boss had also been pushed out of the university, and everyone at the college was good to me. I became a project manager, specializing in external funding for my projects. Over the years I brought in large amounts of project funding from sponsors, much more money than the salary that the college paid me.
That felt good, until the day my college boss suddenly quit. We didn’t see it coming, and we also didn’t see the witch hunt that followed. I was one of many who were summoned to scary meetings, where I was told to justify my work. I remember angry shouting and some very stressed co-workers. Over several months I persisted and won the arguments, but I also found a better job and moved on. The hostility and stress in the college were too much.
What happened after that is still shocking to me. After I left the college and started my newest job, supervisors from the college met with my newest boss for lunch, and I’m sure they talked about me. My newest boss later told me about the meeting, and then she fired me. Since I was still probationary I had no appeal. The good news was, the severance package from my newest employer was amazing, and again I took the money.
But wait, there’s more. I learned later that my entire former department at the college was fired shortly after the lunch meeting. The college had a serious financial deficit and cuts had to be made, but when people got out of control, everyone had to go.
Eventually I learned that I don’t like swimming with sharks. Even when I was successful, I had no peace in my career. Jesus said “I have told you these things, so that in me you might have peace. In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33)
When I was free from my newest job, a native group offered me a good salary to run a program on an Indian reserve. I liked the people, but I was sure they had politics and strife, just like the rest of the world.
I turned the native group down and instead started a contracting business, with me as a service provider and consultant. That was a big shift, but today I’m doing well. Now I do the firing; any client who gives me grief gets passed on to someone else, and I move on. It feels so good, and I have time and energy for my family and church.
I used to have a workaholic sense of loyalty, the job and career always came first. Now I’m working on a new perspective. Christians have many things to do, and toxic burnout can wreck us.
“Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.” (Acts 11:19 to 21)
(I hope to write several articles on “So You Hate Your Job.” This is the first and I hope it helps you.)
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