When you struggle to find a job, keep a job or to perfect the job you have, you may find yourself battling the forces of good and evil. Whether you are in the workplace, the interview room or the board room, you are faced with the inevitable choice of whether to put up or shut up. Sometimes it’s not even a matter of whether you are good at or even value for the job you do. What matters is whether you are in it for the respect you deserve or the cash you need.

This job market is tough on us all. If you have a job you like or don’t like, or are looking for the next opportunity, it’s likely you are feeling the push/pull of your conscious as you hold onto whatever it is you have in order to keep the cash flow coming in. It’s not that you set out to feel used and or abused whether it’s due to some nonsense from a nasty co-worker, or a tirade from an over-rated boss or some crazy antics from a frustrated staff member. Respect for yourself, your job and the people that you work with are an important part of your ability to cope with inevitable job stress no matter the cost.

The trick is to keep your sense of yourself no matter what challenges you are confronted with. If you are treated poorly, not respected for your work, spoken to in a tone or manner that suggests you are not valued, then you are likely fighting the urge to quit or are sticking it out because you need the paycheck. It’s hard to know when to walk away. It’s hard to know when you are taking more than you can just to survive long enough until something better comes along.

When you feel like you have no options, that you can’t survive the harassment you are receiving any longer and that your only reason for staying in the game is for the paycheck, think again. Your first line of defense is knowing you always have options, and yes, even in this job market. Feeling like you are trapped no matter what the circumstance is not going to help you overcome your need to find your own self-respect first. When you are crippled in fear of losing your job even though you hate it, or feel you will never find the one that might pay you what you are worth, you prolong your ability to move forward and you continue to stay trapped. Choosing between a respecting work environment and a job that pays you well is not easy at a time when good jobs and enough money are hard to come by. So what do you do? Do you tough it out until something better comes along Sometimes that makes sense. Do you up and quit when you’ve got a family to support and a mortgage to pay? Sometimes that is the right choice. Do you take it no matter what knowing that the check is worth more than respect, and you can put up with the aggravation and degradation so long as you are comfortable and can support yourself and your family? For some, that is an option and a choice worth taking.

No matter your circumstance you have a choice whether respect in your job is more important than the paycheck you receive. You have options and you have choices and yes, a sense of humor is a great coping mechanism to get you through the toughest battles as work. Whenever you think the worst is upon you and you have all but run out of options, remember there are other jobs, other bosses, other ways to make money. Something bigger and better is always waiting for you, all you’ve got to do is ask.

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