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Should I quit my job?

(MoneyWatch) Dear Evil HR Lady,

I've been with my current company for 10 years .. While I do get good performance reviews they, like all companies, are making changes. I never really know if the changes made will trickle down to the department to which I belong. We sort of have to wait and see... of course that leaves us with sleepless nights and a horrible amount of stress which has made me physically ill. The doctors have prescribed certain supplements for me to take and I go for physical therapy once a month for stress related illnesses.

Should I just quit this job or wait it out? The only reason I'm staying is because I like my "tasks" and it has taken me 10 years to finally get to a salary that will allow me to get out of debt in the next two years. I've been scanning the job pages but haven't found anything in years that equals what I do now.

Ten years is an eternity in career years. Most people stay with companies for a lot less time, so nobody would fault you at all for leaving now. And, in fact, some people consider 10+ years at single company not to be a sign of loyalty, but rather a sign that you weren't capable of doing better. In other words, in a culture where people change jobs like they do hairstyles, it can be seen as a liability.

Good paychecks are good paychecks, though. And, I am a huge, huge fan of getting out of debt (and then staying out of debt). You have so much more power over your life when you're not beholden to student loans, credit card debts and car payments. Financial freedom also allows for career freedom.

However, lack of sleep and stress can destroy your life.

So, you see, you took all this time to send me an email and I"m giving you a big fat, "no idea what you should do." Be grateful this service is free.

I can't make this decision for you. Your spouse can't make this decision for you. Your mother can't make this decision for you. But, I will give you more things to think about.

It's easier to find a job when you have a job. If you have any fears that all this stress and change could result in you being laid off (or worse, fired), it will be much harder to find a job after that occurs than before.

You don't have to accept another job offer. People often equate looking for a new job with leaving for a new job. They don't have to be the same thing. They often are, but they don't have to be. You may be able to find a job you like at a salary you like if you start looking now. If you get an offer and it's not better than your current job, just thank them for the offer and turn it down.

What would you do if you didn't have any debt? I know you do have debt, so you can think I'm crazy for asking this. But, figure out what you would do if you were debt free and then figure out how to get to that point.

Let go of the the things you can't change. It is so easy to focus on things that you have no control over (like change that is trickling down from the executive suite. Instead, focus on what you can do. Job searching, a hobby, a revised financial plan, your family, your workload. The executives are going to do what they are going to do, regardless of whether you worry about it.

Help others. You should be networking to find a new job, but make sure you are networking to help others out. You never know when someone you helped will be able to help you out.

Call your Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Many companies have these and they are free or extremely low cost for employees. There should be a phone number you can call, explain you are having stress and ask for help. They can help you, and they will not tell your employer that you've called. (As a general rule, ask if you're concerned that they will report your name.)

When you've done all of that, you should be able to to see the path you need to be on more clearly.

Have a workplace dilemma? Send your question to

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