It's been a few years since I posted - thought I'd give an update to my 2012 career crisis and thank the forum users who encouraged me to make a change at that time. The crisis is here: http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...ml#post1157835
About 3.5 years after I posted my job concerns here, I was diagnosed with stage 0 breast cancer (non-invasive) at age 44. I felt this was a sign that I needed to find a less stressful position, but I argued with myself as to why I couldn't handle what I considered to be "an easy job compared to what my successful college classmates are doing." Then my mother was diagnosed with stage 2/3 occult breast cancer at age 66 this past spring (no known genetic link), and I knew I had to stop minimizing my own feelings about work and stress.
With DH's full support, I applied for a demotion two levels below my old managerial position, and I am now happily employed at a smaller, more relaxed location, with customers who are friendlier. It's made a world of improvement in my sleep, ability to enjoy days off, and energy at the end of the workday. I took a reduction of $550/mo net income, but I'm still accruing time toward my county pension and contributing the max to my 457 plan. My message is: if you think your job is killing you, you might be right! But achieving partial financial independence can enable you to ease up on the gas and make a healthy change. I should have done it years ago.