A couple of weeks ago, I collapsed at work…fainted, face-down on the grungy laminate floor in the cosmetics department of a well-known retailer where I spend my days waxing, plucking, and filling eyebrows. I was hauled off in an ambulance with my blood pressure soaring. I’m only 33 but apparently, I am already at risk for a stroke.
My doctor rather sternly recommended a month-long leave so I could calm my racing capillaries. My employer didn’t take the news well. Even after six years of dedicated service— including the willingness to commute many miles to train other beauty consultants— I am being treated as if I have leprosy or at best, as an ungrateful pretender out to bilk the company for thousands in disability payments.
I am hurt and shocked. I don’t complain about my work placements even when they require spending ages in traffic and the stress of training new employees. I never mention that my wages are barely enough to pay my bills. Still, I am reluctant to resign. I genuinely love my work…especially my women clients. What do you suggest?
Dying an Early Death
You are one of the lucky ones. Your body is waving a giant red flag (the color of blood) and telling you it’s time to consider a new path.
Many of us find ourselves in “the chicken or the egg” land. We can’t afford to quit a current employ that isn’t paying us enough to subsist, much less save in earnest. Yet, we are clearly undervalued for our contribution, and need to find a better job with better compensation.
I say, “Save yourself!” Get out! Quit! You can’t consider a change of employment or career if you are six feet under. A new job may not be your forever job, but better to leave an environment that is potentially life threatening as soon as you can.
If you feel you absolutely can’t quit yet, start evaluating your options while you are on disability. Create a list of your unique abilities and talents. If your employer moves you from one retail outlet to another and puts you in a position to train others, clearly you have some mad skills.
Once you are back at work, take a few days off here and there to interview for other positions. The worst (best) that can happen is you get fired. Trust me, you won’t look back.
It’s time for you to recognize your worth and decide how you want to earn your bucks. Once you are convinced of it, the right new employer will be too.