I’ve had terrible guilt quitting jobs in the past. I feel loyal to my coworkers, my bosses, even the faceless corporations who have employed me. I feel like I am abandoning them by choosing to switch careers or make other plans with my life like moving across the country.
I understand that while the individuals involved may also feel some loyalty toward me (I have been lucky to have really great managers!), the company feels no such thing, and if it were expedient for them to replace me, they would do so without a second thought.
Which leads me to an important point for everyone to understand — especially women.
Your real job is taking care of you. That’s it. That “you” can be expanded to a plural, familial “you” if you like, but really, your loyalty should lie in your house, not in your office.
If you’re working for less money than you deserve, you should ask for a raise. If you need to work fewer hours to spend more time with your family, you should ask for more flexible hours. If you are doing the job of more than one person without recognition, you should ask for some.
And if the answer to any of those questions is no, you should find a new job. Because your real job is to work for yourself — be the boss of your own life, and make choices that will help you get the life you want. Sometimes along the way you may find that you are employed by someone else, but make no mistake — you are working for YOU.
Women’s Money Week was just celebrated across the blogosphere, and this is a really critical area for women. We work more hours for less pay, and then we go home and work more hours doing housework and childcare, too.
Maybe we can’t change everything all at once, but we can certainly change our mindset and lose the loyalty that we feel toward jobs that feel no loyalty back to us. How would you behave at work if you were the boss? How would you act if your leaving your job wouldn’t personally devastate anyone? How would you direct your career if you felt you could say no?
All of those things are true if you realize that you work for you, and not for anyone else, regardless of whose name is on the paycheck. The question is, what does it change for you?