Do I Give Up or Do I Give It My All?

My career has hit a fork-in-the-road. I think it’s clear that I’m unhappy with my current working situation, and something has to change. But do I give up on this job, or do I give it my all?

The problem is I LOVE my job – but because I don’t have the support, the resources, and now the time that I need to do it properly, the program has become embarrassing. After reading about another person’s positive experience working for a non-profit, I realized that I don’t feel like my job is serving its purpose anymore. It could be such an amazing thing but I’m sadly starting to think that it only exists to look good on grant applications.

For me, theatre is about teaching and engaging people – not pumping out low-brow entertainment to make a quick buck, afraid to try anything new or challenging for fear of driving away audiences. I want to challenge the audiences/students that come to the theatre. I want them to develop skills, to think, to be inspired, and to have fun doing it. I want theatre to have a meaningful message, and not tell kids, yet again, that “drugs are bad, mkay?”. Or worse yet, not have a message at all. It’s what I believe in. It’s what I went to school for. It’s what I thought I was hired for. But it’s not what I’m doing.

As the head/sole employee of the department, is it up to me to revive it? To change what I know needs to change? To fight for the resources and funding it needs? To offer more to the public? To spend every spare moment at work researching new ideas and techniques? To basically give it all I’ve got?

Or is it too late?

Since moving to this city, I know of at least two new, comparable organizations that have swooped in to fill the gaps they identified in our programming before we did. The high schools here are also doing more and more theatre every year (Yay! But also boo…) And to be honest, I already feel like I’m sacrificing so much of ME for this job (my health, my relationships, my interests, my financial security, my sanity!). I don’t know that I have any more to give – especially with the little voice in the back of my head telling me it’s a lost cause.

Money, of course, is another big issue. If I decide to stay, I will have to continue working part-time as well, because I cannot survive on the income from this one job alone. My work/life “balance” would remain 90% work, and 10% life, and that’s not really a life…

Fun Fact: In 2012, I’ve worked close to 400 hours at my part time job –
that’s equal to 10 weeks (2.5 MONTHS) of full time work!

This isn’t the first time I’ve considered moving on, but something always stopped me from taking the leap – management would ease up on me, the job hunt would not go so well, I didn’t feel financially stable enough to take the risk, or in most cases, I was just too scared.

And I am scared. I’m terrified!

This is what I spent 6.5 year of school and tens of thousands of dollars for. This is my first “real” job and the only reason I moved to this city.

What if I can’t find anything else? What if I regret quitting? What if the job gets better after I leave? What if my new job is worse? What if I’m still unhappy? What if, what if, what if???

I know that I can’t use fear as an excuse to live a life where I struggle to get out of bed every morning, and only actually get up because I can’t think of a good enough excuse not to go to work.

But what do I do? 

I considered trying a compromise between giving it my all and giving up: put in the extra effort at work, but also keep looking for a new job. But would I really be giving the job “my all” if I was still looking to get out of it? Or conversely, would I really be looking for a new job if I was still investing so much into the current one?

Do I give it my all? Or is it time to give up?

Amanda Kay

Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.

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