top of page

Before you quit your job, hire a therapist

Hot take- I think your job should pay for your counselor. Hear me out: Therapy is professional development that contributes to a healthy and fun work culture. Any difficult dynamic at work comes down to social skills and skills for open conflict. Also, emotional intelligence is always going to make you more money because people want to do business with people they like. Increasing your EQ makes you more likeable.

I used to think that a professional work environment kept the personal stuff checked at the door. But let’s be real, trauma don’t care. Trauma doesn’t understand compartments, so we end up suppressing reactions and drinking at Happy Hour to cope and dread the Sunday Scaries.

Relationships are relationships. If you have unresolved trauma you can bet that it’ll come to the surface regardless of context. Wherever you go, there you are. And wherever you work, the personal areas that need work such as boundaries, comfort with open conflict, communicating a need for support, and advocating for yourself, come with you. There is a good chance that most of the difficult dynamics at work come down to skills to navigate conflict productively, rather than “bad apples” in the team. Most people don’t wake up plotting to make life difficult. But most people lack the skills to navigate conflict or the times when life gets really hard. Also, most people are quick to shift blame and convince themselves that if only the other person were to change, then they could do their work and live their life in peace.

Newsflash, your internal narrative is what assigns meaning to every interaction you have through the day. If your filter is affirming and positive, most of your interactions are positive and it feels like the universe is confirming that you are right where you are supposed to be. When your internal ecosystem is doing well you can stay above the line, so you can keep conflict healthy and productive. But if your bandwidth is depleted, it is very easy to start on the downward spiral by assigning negative meaning to what happens. And if you are right where you are supposed to be, your colleagues will trigger you. Your boss will trigger you. Your clients are going to trigger you. Your mom is going to trigger you. The convenience store attendant is going to trigger you. All the triggering is supposed to make the unconscious conscious and bring attention to the parts of you that need resolution. But we are not supposed to stay triggered. Most people are walking around in a dysregulated state, filtering every interaction through a lens designed to look for danger in an effort to keep you alive. (There is so much neuroscience on this. You should google it. The biology of anxiety is incredible.)

Okay, so how do you know if your workplace or your boss or your coworkers are toxic or if the issue is that you lack skills to reign in a trauma response?

Well the answer is yes. Both. At least a little bit of both. If your work feels toxic, you can bet that somewhere, somehow you are also participating in prolonging that stressful situation. You are holding one end of the pole and whoever is frustrating you is (consciously or unconsciously) holding the other end of the pole. In short, it’s also your fault. BUT! This is good. Because halting this hamster wheel of ongoing stress only requires that YOU shift. If you stop playing into the dynamic, the cycle breaks.

We all heard about The Great Resignation because people chose their mental health over their jobs. If you are even a little bit tempted to quit your job because you feel like you’ve reached a dead end, first, I want you to consider that it’s very well possible that it’s hard to gauge a situation well when you are in fight or flight mode. Everything looks like a threat when you are activated. Before you quit your job, get therapy.

Your boss is not going to tell you that because it says not to tell you that in the big book from HR and the “How Not to Get in Trouble” manual. But here is how to tell if you should hire a therapist before quitting your job (or continue swimming in a vat of cortisol that is slowly killing you):

  1. You have a hard time asserting your boundaries or advocating for yourself.

  2. It’s hard to say no and it’s making you feel like work/life balance is nonexistent.

  3. You are concerned about rocking the boat.

  4. You are getting constant feedback about your performance and feel misunderstood.

  5. You have a very hard time focusing and super important things fall through the cracks to the point that it’s affecting you and people negatively.

  6. You feel like your leaders demand more from you and you feel like they don’t see how you are pouring everything into this job and you’re showing signs of burnout.

  7. You are feeling unsure if a colleague is trying to sabotage you or if you are just being too sensitive and taking things personally.

If some of this resonates with you it is very possible that it’s time to level up your skills in holding boundaries, communicating clearly, and learning how to turn off that trauma response that is affecting your quality of life. This kind of inner work is your responsibility, and it pays off big in your professional life. Expanding your skillset to remain calm and connected when you are triggered halts the drama from following you wherever you go. If you are perpetually in a freeze state (unable to focus and engage or meet deliverables), or fight response (irritable, inflexible, confrontational), or fawn response (unable to voice boundaries and enforce them, or issues saying no and extreme people pleasing to not rock the boat) hiring a therapist is the smartest professional development and career move for you.

We have incredible, transformative, high quality private workshops which we deliver when executives want to invest in their team’s professional development, and public workshops in gorgeous settings for growth-minded leaders in the community. But none of these workshops and concepts can be applied if you are triggered and stuck. Your boss won’t tell you that you need therapy and you are a dark cloud on your team. So, I am telling you from the perspective of the employee that hired a therapist just to protect my sanity because I was feeling bulldozed at work and didn’t feel confident to advocate for myself because I was a people pleaser that didn’t want to rock the boat. If you go somewhere else but don’t figure out how to communicate your boundaries, well…you will just rinse and repeat.

For the leaders reading this, Executive Coaching 1:1 sessions are judgment-free containers where you can privately untangle work stuff, reset your perspective, and confidently assemble a strategic approach to the issue, rather than slapping bandaids on broken bones. If you find yourself in a hamster wheel with people that won’t make the shift necessary for the health of the team and organization, most likely you are using the six leadership styles in the wrong context and you’re doing more harm than good. If you swing between overly permissive or overbearing and micro-managy, it’s time for professional support. If you are about to give up and your body tenses with dread knowing you have to call that team member into your office for a difficult conversation, it’s time to get appropriate support and prevent a big mess. When you book a call you are going to feel self-conscious and like you are the only one facing these issues but just know that everyone thinks they are the only ones. But they are not. And they always wish they had reached out sooner.

42 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page