I quit my job a few weeks before I got married. It wasn’t a good separation on my part. I wouldn’t even call it a “conscious uncoupling.” I felt disrespected by my bosses, so I reacted immediately and quit. And it felt great! I channeled my inner Johnny Paycheck.
Did I mention this happened a few weeks before I got married? Looking back, this was one of the dumbest things I have ever done.
Are you currently dealing with work problems? Is your spouse? Sometimes work stinks. Sometimes you feel trapped. Maybe your spouse feels like work is crushing him or her. When those situations and feelings come along, how do you react? I’m no Wayne Campbell, but I have an impressive collection of past jobs. I could give you a list of the wrong ways to handle it (that I have accumulated from personal experience), but instead let’s look at more beneficial ways to deal with tough work situations.
Talk about it
Sit down and share your thoughts with your spouse. Tell him or her what is going on. I have often felt like I was doing a service to my wife by shielding her from the reality of my work circumstances. But the reality is, in my situation, it was a pride issue. I felt like I could handle the work drama. I was wrong. It’s tough to swallow my pride, but my wife is my friend and my partner. Out of love and respect for her, I try to be open and share.
Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NASB)
Pray about it
Talking with your spouse leads me to an even more important part of dealing with a toxic work situation—have you prayed about your work/your spouse’s work situation? If, like me, you struggle with pride in discussing work issues with your spouse, it might be difficult to pray about it because you feel like you can make it right on your own. Have you brought your career burdens to God? Have you prayed with your spouse about the work situation?
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16, NIV)
Out in the wilderness
Now that communication has been discussed, let’s talk about being stuck in the “bad job wilderness.” Here are some thoughts from Solomon, the wisest man to ever live:
Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 9:9, NIV)
It’s crazy to read those words knowing that Solomon had everything a man could want. Everything! He said a man’s lot in life is to love his wife and to toil in the sun. This flies opposite to our modern culture of every kid getting a trophy and everyone deserving to love their work. Work is toil, not fun. Sometimes you deal with junk to earn money to keep the lights on, feed the children, and put gas in the car.
Maybe you are in the wilderness. Nothing seems to be working, no escape plan has come to fruition. It’s not a good feeling. But don’t let it bring you down and miss the important part—God has given you your spouse to enjoy life with! If you are the one encouraging the spouse with the bad job, try to be a bright spot. And remember, the wilderness doesn’t last forever.
When a new opportunity arises
What if work is bad, and it is time to transition to a new role? If you are in this place, don’t jump from the fire into a frying pan. If a new opportunity comes along, give it time. Ask questions. Discuss the opportunity with your spouse. Talk to your friends. Pray. When the time comes to shift, don’t burn bridges. Be grateful for the opportunities the previous role offered and be kind as you depart.