I dread going to work but my benefits are amazing. Is it OK to look elsewhere?

Dear Nurse Beth Advice Column - The following letter submitted anonymously in search for answers. Join the conversation! Nurses Nurse Beth Nursing Q/A


Hello Nurse Beth,

I'm hoping to get some advice. I graduated nursing school in 2020. I currently work in community health. My clinic does almost anything a client would need at a family practice office, but we deal mostly with mental health and addiction recovery.

We help low income people, and many homeless. It can be rewarding, but it is wearing on me. I find myself dreading work most days. Days are hectic and draining. My current job has me working M-F, 7-3. The schedule has its perks but I never see my kids in the morning or take them to school. When I get home, I often feel like I worked a 12 hour day and I'm tired. But I have good benefits including a great pension. I also don't work holidays, nights, or weekends. Because I've been unhappy at work, I looked for other jobs. I have a few offers. They do not offer the same type of benefits. Now I'm scared I'm making a dumb decision to leave because I have such good benefits where I'm at. I think if my dad knew I was considering tossing my pension for another job that doesn't offer the same, he wouldn't like it and it's eating at me.

But the thought of spending years doing what I'm doing is rough. Do I suck it up for my future? Again, the jobs I'm considering taking do not offer similar benefits— but I'm interested by the type of work I'd be doing.

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Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

Dear Scared,

You are facing a challenging decision and navigating the balance between job satisfaction, work-life balance, and benefits.

Your father is likely from a generation that valued security and benefits over personal satisfaction. But you have to determine what is best for you and your family. It's telling that you are unhappy and dread going to work most days.

It's important to explore exactly why your job is unrewarding and what you seek in your career.  Is it possible to reinvent yourself in your current role?

What would make a job fulfilling for you?

Here are some steps you can consider to help you make a well-informed decision:

  • Evaluate job offers. Review the job offers you have received carefully. Consider the work environment, job responsibilities, and potential for personal and professional growth. Assess how each opportunity aligns with your values and career goals.
  • Create a pros and cons list. Make a list of the pros and cons of each job, including benefits, work hours, job satisfaction, and potential impact on work-life balance. This can help you visualize the trade-offs and make a more informed decision.
  • Assess your priorities. Identify your top priorities in a job. Is it work-life balance, job satisfaction, career advancement, or benefits? It's probably a mix. Understanding your priorities can guide you in making decisions that align with your values.
  • Consider the impact on your family. Here's the thing. Seeing your kids in the morning before school may be your top priority and weigh more than a great pension. Reflect on how each job option will impact your family life. Evaluate the importance of spending mornings with your kids, being present in the evenings, and the overall quality of life for you and your family.
  • Financial implications. Assess the financial impact of leaving a job with a great pension and benefits. Consider how a new job's salary, benefits, and potential for advancement align with your long-term financial goals.
  • Speak with a financial advisor. Consult with a financial advisor to understand the potential impact on your financial future, especially concerning pension plans and long-term savings.
  • Explore negotiation. If the new job offers are enticing but lack certain benefits, consider negotiating with the potential employers to see if there's room for improvement in benefits or work arrangements.
  • Test the waters. If possible, explore opportunities to shadow or talk to individuals currently working in the positions you're considering. This can provide a realistic job preview and help you make a more informed decision.
  • Consider long-term happiness. Reflect on your long-term career happiness and job satisfaction. While benefits are essential, your overall well-being and job enjoyment should also be significant factors in your decision.

Ultimately, it's a personal decision, and there's no one-size-fits-all answer. Take your time, weigh the pros and cons, and make a decision that aligns with your overall life and career goals.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth