While most church secretaries and administrative assistants love their job, they feel underpaid and think the need for more income or simply retiring would be the chief reasons they would leave their church position. Neither income nor retirement, however, is the main reason church secretaries or administrative assistants quit.
Incompatible working relationships affect more church office workers than either income or retirement when it comes to making a decision to quit. This was true when I first began researching this issue in 1993, and it still remains true today. Here are factors that affect the decision to resign from the church:
1. Incompatible work relationships. Few secretaries expect poor working relationships to exist at the church. Yet, for over one-third of all secretaries who quit their job, relationship problems contributed to the decision to leave.
2. Need for more income. Clearly, income affects the decision of many church secretaries to change jobs. Plus it cuts across all groups of church secretaries, regardless of years of service or the size or setting of the church.
The need for more income often is not an issue at first, but grows in importance over time. This is especially true for secretaries who are single parents, have children going to college, are approaching retirement, or who face growing financial needs within their families.
3. Stress. Stress was almost as important as income in deciding to quit one's job at the church. Our research indicates that secretaries who have worked in both business settings and the church find the church to be more stressful. Furthermore, full-time secretaries experience higher levels of stress than do part-time secretaries.