Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Asking The Work Stress Question

I will posit a question:  at what point do you determine the stress level of your career is enough to make you walk away from it?

To be clear, I do not think I am quite there yet.  I still enjoy my job and the people that I work with.  But there is a growing sense of stress in my day to day operations.  I have slowly seen my hours increase from 40 to 50 or more.  Weekend work is not required at this point - but it seems more and more that such work is required in the sense that it allows you to keep up with what you needs to happen.

But if things do not significantly change for the better in the not too distant future, hard questions may start to have to be asked.  It is never really the time to be without a job, of course - but as hours creep up, the average hourly wage starts to fall down.  This year I found that my hourly wage actually drop 6% based on the hours I currently keep.

But the stress factor is the one that worries me the most.  As it stands, I feel like I cannot afford to not check my e-mail in the evening and on weekends.  I dream of work.  And working a "regular" day almost feels like cutting out early.

So is there a threshold where one simply says "I am at my limit" and moves on?


  1. That is a personal decision, which I am not sure I am qualified to answer, having spent 20 years in the Air Force. However, I worked at Walmart for 3 months. Did not like it.
    Was supposed to be part time; but they were good at giving you more hours with no overtime. So I quit.
    (I had the luxury of a husband who worked.)

    I worked almost 3 years at Lowes before I gave them 2 weeks notice. It was a full time job and I would work any hours asked (though taxes for 2 working people in NC killed us); but the Air Force spoiled me. I could live with them not firing someone who deserved to be, because they were a minority. I could live with that person being promoted for the same reason. But when that same person said "I won't do that because it's not in my job description (it was, she just didn't want to do it), I gave them my two weeks notice. We were supposed to be a team, and she wasn't. Plain and simple.

    But only you can decide what is too much for you.
    May God show you the answer. God bless.

  2. Thanks for sharing the story, Linda.

    Ultimately it is a personal decision and (at least right at the moment) one I do not think I have another answer to except "keep at it". It is a useful exercise thought, at least to begin to think in terms of planning for that eventuality.

  3. It sounds like your company doesn't appreciate it's people, TB. If they want you to work for less money and take on more responsibilities, more stress, work you fifty hours a week and pay you for 35... well, that's a good deal for someone, I suppose.
    If I had the resources I would have an honest chat with the management, I'd highlight my issues in writing - but talk to a lawyer first. My experience with employers is that when they start pulling stunts like that, they only get more demanding and unreasonable.

  4. I think they actually do appreciate us, Glen. I think the difficulty is that things have drastically expanded quicker than they anticipated and hiring has lagged (as it always seems to). There is an outer limit to this (3-4 months) and I am hopeful I will be seeing to assistance in the near future. All of that said, if things do not significantly change then more thought is obviously required.

  5. Excellent question. Of course there is no one pat answer, and I think it requires some degree of courage to finally cut the ties. Most of us don't like the uncertainty of a future without a regular job, or at least a regular income. I suppose when the stress finally kills off any enjoyment a particular job provides, then it's time to move on.

  6. That is a lot of it Leigh. If I look back upon my own career, the times I actually went to the trouble of changing the job is when I finally stopped enjoying my job, even if it was the people instead of the work.

    Although I like regular income too. I once did commercial real estate. The paychecks can be very high, but very irregular. I cannot really handle that level of stress in my life.


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