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Ask Chuck: Transitioning out of a miserable job

Ask Chuck your money question

Dear Chuck,

My wife is miserable with her job, but unfortunately, her income is needed at this time to pay off a lot of debt. We need some guidance for a career transition, as her nerves are frayed every day.

Looking at Career Options

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Dear Looking at Career Options,

It is very painful to be miserable at work — been there, done that. However, my first reaction was not about the job but the statement that you have a lot of debt. It is time to launch an aggressive effort to pay down your debt so that you eliminate the pressure you are under regarding her career and income. It sounds as if she is working just to keep the family finances afloat. Once that pressure is removed, career changes take on an entirely different perspective.

Don’t jump out of this job too soon. Be patient as you work together to put your plan in place.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6–7 ESV).

Here is some general advice for anyone making a career change.

Guidance for a career transition

Make a list of the things you like and dislike about your job. Perhaps you are working outside of your gifts and talents. Crown has a career assessment that helps people understand their unique design by analyzing personality, skills, interests, and values. It is an excellent tool for giving hope and direction to those who are bored, frustrated, or seeking the right field or career direction.

Develop a resume

Do you have a current resume? If not, begin the process of developing one. It is generally the first impression someone hiring gets to see and is extremely important for any successful job search. For help writing one, check out these articles: “Writing a Resume” and “Creating a Resume That Best Reflects You.”

Tap into your relationships

The most effective method of finding a new job is through your contacts. These could include family members, friends, business relations, business contacts, and your church family. Summarize your job search in a few sentences so they can do more than just wish you well. For example: “I am looking for a job in advertising sales with an online company. I need a base salary plus commissions. I’m willing to relocate but prefer to work from home. See the Tap the Hidden Job Market Through Networking section of the linked article.

Compile a reference pool

This is a list of people who know your work ethic, habits, experience, performance, and history. Choose a variety of people — clients, competitors, managers, or high-level colleagues who will feel comfortable speaking positively about you.

Transform your job or look elsewhere

Seek the possibility of finding a more preferable position within the company. If you are bored, ask for a new challenge, or request a transfer to an area you desire. If additional skills or training are required, management may offer to pay for it. If the problem is working with difficult people, attempt to be a peacemaker to transform the work environment. If this does not help, make a plan to find a new job. If asked to compromise your integrity, find a new job.

Look while employed

I believe that the best time to look for a job is when you are employed. Most jobs today are found through personal referrals, which is why relationships are so valuable. Check out this website’s list of the “9 Best Job Search Websites.” Many recruiters actively work with You may find this Forbes article helpful.

In some rare cases, you may be able to discuss your desire to find a new job with your current boss or team. Avoid this, however, if you work in a hostile environment or in a company that is not built upon trust and mutual respect.


While waiting, pray with and for your wife. Encourage her to consider implementing the following:

  • Ask God to direct you and put you where He wants you to be. Open your heart and ask Him to counsel you as you read His Word.
  • Don’t presume upon God. You need to humble yourself and be open to where, how, and when He directs.
  • More is not always better or God’s will. Be open to options and alternatives to your own preferences.
  • Act on the God-given dreams and desires of your heart. When you hear God calling you to do something, obey.

If His will is not clear, a time of private prayer and fasting will be beneficial. He knows exactly what you need. Trust Him to open doors and move mountains to get you there.

If credit card debt is a source of frustration, a valuable and trusted resource is Christian Credit Counselors. They can help consolidate debt to get you on the road to financial freedom.

Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, a global Christian ministry, founded by the late Larry Burkett. He is the host of a daily radio broadcast, My MoneyLife, featured on more than 1,000 Christian Music and Talk stations in the U.S., and author of his most recent book, Economic Evidence for God?. Be sure to follow Crown on Facebook.

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