Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Your Turn: “How Can I Survive this Job I Hate?”

In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

I really dislike my job. The work I do is meaningless and boring, I’m not at all passionate about or interested in the industry, and my boss is an extremely cold and unforgiving person. I took the job out of college because I couldn’t mooch off of my parents, and because at first it wasn’t so bad. Plus, it’s close to home, it pays decently enough, the hours are good, the health insurance is fantastic, etc. But I’ve been here almost a year and a half now and it’s gotten to the point that sometimes in the morning, while I’m lying in bed trying to motivate myself to go to work, I feel nauseous. I have headaches often, which I think are induced by stress. I’ve also got killer heartburn and indigestion (I have diagnosed acid reflux disease, so stress always takes a toll on my digestive system), and I’ve cried in my office multiple times recently (thankfully no one saw me).

I don’t want my job to have such a negative impact on my physical and mental health, so I stopped wavering and started searching for other jobs. I plan to go back to grad school in another year and a half in order to study what I truly AM passionate about, so I don’t really have any strict preferences for what I do until then. I just want to work in a positive environment where I feel respected, in a job that won’t cause me so much stress and anxiety as the one I have now (which is a very high-stress position by nature).

The problem, which is obvious, is that jobs aren’t exactly easy to come by right now. Not knowing when I might be able to leave this job is giving me a severe case of anxiety. So, how do I do my best at this job, and hopefully lessen my stress and anxiety, until I get another job? How do I toughen up and keep a positive attitude when I’m naturally a stressed out, pessimistic person? How do I keep the stress from invading my personal life, too? How did you make it through a job you really disliked? And how do I preserve my sanity until I find something else? Please help! — Sick of the Office

113 comments… add one
  • artsygirl January 4, 2012, 3:10 pm

    LW – When you are having such a physical reaction to anything you need to get out. I understand your hesitance about quitting a well paying job with benefits but obviously you have hit a wall. There are a few options. You can set an end date and stick to it…so since it is January, tell yourself that you will save up money for the next three months and give notice for April 1. Other options are to start taking classes in the field you are interested in (most schools accept up to 15 hours of matriculated credits), or volunteer in the field, possibly see if you can get an unpaid internship and move back in with your parents for the short term. That will make you application stand out when you apply. Otherwise, if you simply cannot quit now, maybe try to focus on things outside of work which make you happy or start a new activity which helps make your free time more enjoyable and fulfilling. Good luck!

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  • silver_dragon_girl January 4, 2012, 3:10 pm

    I’ve been there. I would advise you to take the first job you can that will pay your bills and NOT make you miserable. Seriously, even if it’s waitressing or working retail or something, just GET OUT. Life’s too short.

    In the meantime, remind yourself that you’re only working there until you find something else. Remember that every day you are one step closer to your dream. Save all the money you can, hopefully at least 2-3 months’ bills’ worth, so if things really hit the fan you can walk out.

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  • Kerrycontrary January 4, 2012, 3:16 pm

    I truly believe that stress can do insane things to our bodies, so much so that our body can tell us that we are stressed even when we don’t realize it. As someone who had a very difficult time finding a job after graduate school (I’m finally starting my first full-time gig on Monday! So excited!), I’m glad that you realize that finding a new job may not be a piece of cake. I did everything right in terms of internships, work experience, great school/grades, yet it still took me 8 months after graduating with my masters to secure a full time position and many other people in my class are still unemployed. That being said, your job seems to be affecting you in such a negative way that I would suggest quitting IF you can pay your bills. No job is worth sending yourself into a downward spiral of depression and anxiety. I know how hard it can be on ones pride to depend on ones parents after finishing college. You want to feel independent and grown up. But sometimes, we need to accept the financial and emotional support our families can provide us. If quitting your job and living with your parents is not an option while you look for a source of income, I would focus on lessening your stress level.

    Number 1, go to your doctor. You could be depressed or suffer from anxiety that you were prone to even before this job. He/she may be able to prescribe something to help while you get a hold of your stress levels. If you aren’t open to taking medicines to fix these problems, your doctor can suggest other methods of reducing stress such as counseling, breathing exercises, massages, or acupuncture. I would also suggest to start exercising immediately. Not to lose weight, but it’s the easiest way to reduce stress in your daily life. Get out of the office and take a quick 20 minute walk at lunch, do a yoga dvd after work, or take a zumba class with friends. Whatever physical activity you enjoy, do it. You will be so focused on your body that you won’t be able to think about work during those 20-60 minutes. Speaking of friends, having a close group of friends to rely on also lowers your stress level so don’t feel afraid to reach out to them about this. Many of them may have taken the first job offered out of college and are finding themselves in the same position. Best of luck LW!

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  • TheGirl January 4, 2012, 3:19 pm

    I’ve totally been there, and I can understand why you can’t just leave until you’ve found something else – which won’t be easy in the current job market. The best thing I think you can do now is to make sure your down time is well used. Start taking yoga, meditating, or volunteering somewhere to satisfy your need for meaningful work. If that doesn’t do it, just do little things for yourself. Give yourself a pedicure. Watch a terrible girly movie once a week. Remember that this is temporary and that YOU ARE NOT YOUR JOB. Your job is just some where you go for 8 hours a day and does not define who you are as a person. It’s surprisingly easy to forget that.

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    • Anna January 4, 2012, 10:04 pm

      That’s exactly what I was going to say. I am also currently stuck in a soul-sucking job because I was unemployed for 8 months after my college graduation and the student loan bills were starting to come in on top of all of my other living expenses. It’s easy to say “If you hate your job, quit.” or “Pursue your passion!” but I don’t think most peoples’ passions involve being homeless or starving. In order to deal with my soul-sucking job, I just make sure to enjoy every second of my downtime and think of my work hours as a means to an end.

      One more thing I will suggest is to try if at all possible to link your dead-end job to your passion by taking on new responsibilities there. I have done that at my current job and now list it as career experience on my resume. I have a bachelor’s in Communications and my current dead-end job is at an insurance call center, so I talked to my manager and told her about my education and skill set that I would like to use. She found quite a few Communications-related projects for me to lead in the office. SO even though I am not holding an official position in my field, I have gained some experience that I can list on my resume and discuss in future interviews. I’m just sayin’…your job is lemons, make some lemonade!

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      • Kristen January 5, 2012, 9:38 am

        That’s awesome. I love that you were able to make your job relevant to your chosen field. This is such great advice.

  • cporoski January 4, 2012, 3:22 pm

    I am going to say buck up. Life is hard get a helmet. You have a choice every day to make it a good day or a bad day. Noone loves thier job all the time, that is why they call it work. You work to fund your life. Is that enough old sayings.

    I just got back from Kenya and guess what, you need some perspective. I met a kid that was a herder (like 18 years old) who had to make sure the lions didn’t eat his cows and all he had was a stick to fight the lion. They had to walk miles to get clean water. Or go to someone who has been out of work for two years and tell them you hate your job. Guess what, you are lucky to have that job. I know you don’t like it but you have choices every day to make things better.

    Your boss is hard, start reading books on how to work with difficult people. How can your job be boring and stressful at the same time? You are in a bad mental place and that is it. Everyone has a hard transition for thier first job out of school because the responsibility is a heavy burden and the day in and day out is your life for the next 40 years. I washed cars out of college for Enterprise in the freezing cold and worked my way up. You have an office, you should feel bad for me in my cube? I don’t mean to be harsh but you need a good dose of perspective. I am not saying your shouldn’t look for a job, but keep in mind that you are in a much better place then most.

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    • silver_dragon_girl January 4, 2012, 3:31 pm

      I agree on the perspective thing, but I just want to say that it is VERY easy for a job to be both boring and stressful at the same time.

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      • SpaceySteph January 4, 2012, 4:12 pm

        Second this. I have that job. But I also agree with everything else the top comment says.

    • Kristen January 4, 2012, 3:44 pm

      I understand what you’re saying. But even though people in Kenya have an extremely hard life, that doesn’t make the LW’s job feel any less soul-sucking to HER. I don’t think she should feel guilty about not appreciating her job; if it’s impacting her mental and physical health, and she can hardly get out of bed in the morning, something needs to change. She shouldn’t stay at a job that is slowly killing her because she thinks it’s ungrateful to want a better job in this economy.

      LW, when you wake up, find one thing in the coming day that you have to look forward to, and cling to that. I sometimes do that, and it helps. Even if it’s something as small as knowing my weekly meeting with my boss got canceled, or that there’s a new episode of my favorite show on that night. At the same time, start looking for another job – ask your friends if they know of any openings and do research on these prospective companies to find out what the work environment is like. As hard as it seems to get out, once you do, you’ll be so glad you climbed up that hill and did something to make your life better.

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      • cporoski January 4, 2012, 4:34 pm

        But my point is that it “feels” soul sucking. That is her emotion to own but isn’t actually happening to her. She should look at people with two minimum wage jobs that don’t equal her salary. You have the choice to make life a little better or a little worse every day. She is so self pitying that she can’t see the forest for the trees. LW, google top ten dirtiest jobs or top most stressful jobs. Make a list of things you don’t like about your job and ways to change them. Make a gratitude list about all that you love about your job. It might just be that it lets you have a roof over your head but still. Do you like pizza thursdays? Honestly, this economy isn’t going anywhere so your search will take awhile. Remember the goals you are trying to achieve with employment. saving for a trip or a new something. Remember the life that this job gives you.

      • Kristen January 4, 2012, 4:41 pm

        I agree with a lot of this, and I am all for being grateful for what you have and appreciating the small things in life.

        I just think that instead of comparing herself to people who have it worse and thinking, ‘Well, at least I don’t collect garbage or work in a coal mine,” the LW should focus on making her own situation better. If this job is crushing her, it’s crushing her. Telling people to stay where they are and be grateful they even have a job doesn’t encourage them to better themselves or chase their dreams.

        My advice would be for the LW to appreciate what she has now, but not settle for it. She should be relentlessly pursuing a job that will make her happy instead of resigning herself to a life of misery.

    • Sarah January 4, 2012, 4:29 pm

      So, while I understand your sentiment I feel like I have to say a few things in the defense of the LW.

      a.) You just came back from Kenya? I would kill to go to Kenya. If anything, I feel like you being able to break away from the monotonous and depressing everyday life back here might give you a good perspective on how draining it can be to perform a job everyday that helps no one and gives you no feeling of satisfaction. Being able to go to Kenya is something the people like us dream about every day. Think about it, you got to go to Kenya and witness/do something good for humanity. Now, can you imagine a person wanting to do that so desperately and then realizing that at the job they’re at they never will?

      b.) A job can most certainly be boring and stressful at the same time. Mine is. Especially if the stress comes with unruly bosses who threaten your boring job whenever they have a bad day.

      c.)There’s a reason why people get a bad mind set and get depressed at their job. Its because they’ve stayed in a situation that’s made them very unhappy precisely because they keep repeating the mantra you’ve just given them/me. I can’t tell you how many times I day I would say to myself, get over it, you have a job, life is hard, wanting to leave is ungrateful and stupid. What made me finally realize how depressed I was was when I stopped repeating that mantra and said instead, hey, wait a second, why am I wasting my 20’s at a job I hate that helps no one even though my rent is low and I want to pursue something completely different?

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      • cporoski January 4, 2012, 4:48 pm

        a.) you are right. My life is so awesome, you don’t even know . However, I work hard to fund my life and I choose to spend 30% of my disposable income on travel. Suze Orman would kill me if she knew. My life and my job are very different things.
        b.) ok, I get what you are saying there.
        c.) I think jobs are like relationships. They take work. I know sometimes you need to quit but many times things can be changed with some effort. To quit in this economy with no prospects is rediculous and honestly, it is the sense that you need to be fullfilled is the reason why recent grads are called the “entitlement” generation.

      • silver_dragon_girl January 4, 2012, 5:05 pm

        I don’t think the LW feels like she “isn’t being fulfilled” by her job…she’s freaking miserable. There’s a HUGE difference between working a job that isn’t your dream but pays the bills and working one that gives you migraines and ulcers.

      • YouGoGirl January 4, 2012, 5:57 pm

        Well said. I have also read about how today’s young people are entitled because they want fulfilling work, respectful and useful feedback from their supervisor and a reasonable workload so they can balance their personal and professional lives. I think their expectations are entirely reasonable. When I graduated from college in 1980, I also wanted these things. But I did not find them,probably because at that time employers had absolutely no incentive to create a pleasant working environment. I was born in 1957 at the height of the baby boom, and in 1980 there were huge numbes of young people entering the job market. There was also a recession in 1980. Now there are fewer young people and employers must work harder to recruit and retain them by creating a good working environment.

      • Sarah January 4, 2012, 5:06 pm

        a.) See, you don’t like someone else saying your life is better than someone else’s, do you?

        c.) The thing that really tends to make me frustrated is when people say that wanting to be fulfilled in a job is the same thing as being entitled. You see, when you’re somebody who’s worked non stop since she was 16 to help pay bills, pay for school and take on loans to finish, try to juggle full time classes while working full time all while paying for rent and bills as I did, entitled isn’t exactly the word that’s the best to hear. I started out life with less money than a lot of girls I know, why do I deserve less of a fulfilling career than they do? Just because you don’t value fulfillment in a job doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t as long as we’re being responsible. Also, who here is talking about quitting? Finding a new job is kind of different, yes?

        A job is a lot like a relationship, it does take work. But hard work doesn’t make a job better, if anything, in my case, the lack of notice to my hard work has just made my job that much more depressing. Also, a bad job is like a bad relationship, would you advise anyone to stay in that?

      • Kristen January 4, 2012, 5:14 pm

        I just posted almost the same thing below. I’m glad to have someone on the same wavelength as me! I hate that “entitlement generation” term that’s being passed around.

      • cporoski January 5, 2012, 8:53 am

        What you are doing, is called paying your dues. Most people aren’t handed things. Ask any wealthy, ambitious, successful person about thier first job and they will tell you horror stories. Noone is saying stay in the job forever. But guess what, you are 10 times more likely to get a good job when you are already employed. If you decided that you are going to be the best at what you do everyday, that is how you make it in the world and get to the job of your dreams. It isn’t deserving something, it is doing what you are doing and working for it.

      • demoiselle January 5, 2012, 9:06 am

        But I bet you will hear the same horror stories about first jobs if you ask any poor, overworked, ulcerated person. It isn’t “sticking out” the horrible job that makes you wealthy and successful.

        Indeed, sometimes it is walking away from those horrible jobs that make a person find the opportunities to become successful.

      • Kristen January 5, 2012, 9:45 am

        I so much agree with this. It’s the people who are willing to go after what they really want – even when circumstances aren’t ideal – that end up rising to the top.

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        bittergaymark January 5, 2012, 2:19 pm

        Please. Everybody I know that actually went after what they REALLY wanted wound up totally broke. It’s all pollyanna bullshit to say — do what you love and the money will follow. You know what? More often than not — it simply doesn’t.

      • Kristen January 5, 2012, 2:36 pm

        I agree. I’m not necessarily referring to people who go out to pursue lofty dreams. All I’m saying is that if you’re too afraid to apply for a promotion or search for a better job, you’ll never move up. People who keep their head down and just accept where they are will stay there.

      • cporoski January 5, 2012, 2:11 pm

        But you need to have your house in order first. Most people get jobs through people they know or used to work with. If she is miserable everyday, people aren’t going to stick thier neck out for her. Her complaints are like that song, “it sounds like life to me”.

        To walk away without another opportunity is going to put her in no place to negotiate.

      • Ravage Maladie January 5, 2012, 9:30 am

        Sarah, I 100% agree with you and I also wanted to add something else:

        For years I’ve told myself to ‘buck up’ whenever I felt too hard-pressed in work related situations. For me, the stress mainly had to do with my own (high) expectations and burning desire to work towards my goals and dreams. In other words: not a sense of entitlement at all, but a sense of having to value work and ambition above all else.

        As a result I have been successfully self-employed for the last six years (right out of art school) and have finished my first novel in my spare time. I also now have a chronical disease which is commonly associated with high stress levels, anxiety and a disfunctional immune system (as a result of stress).

        Some people will ‘buck up’ to the point of self-destruction. There’s no need to tell them their feelings aren’t valid, just because someone else in the world is ‘objectively’ worse off. Stress-related diseases are very real, and basically being told you’re a sissy if you have a ‘rich people-disease’ makes you feel awful. I’m not saying the LW suffers from one or will, but we simply don’t know all the facts here or how bad she is being affected stress-wise.

        NB. I agree with you she shouldn’t just quit – especially not without some hard thinking. All I’m saying is she might include her health in her thought process.

      • Kristen January 4, 2012, 5:12 pm

        I think it’s easy to confuse entitlement with ambition. Do I deserve to have a great job just because I graduated from college and my parents told me I could do anything I set my mind to? No. But at the same time, I should be free to pursue my dreams and work hard to get where I want to be. I shouldn’t feel obligated to stay where I am just because the economy sucks, or I’m getting paid, or because other people have even worse jobs. You can be thankful to have a job and still go after a better one. Being afraid to take risks is what causes people to have regrets 10 or 20 years later.

        The LW doesn’t have a child to support, so she shouldn’t feel like she has to stay where she is just because it gives her a paycheck every week. If she was in a boring, dead-end relationship that didn’t challenge or fulfill her, we’d tell her to move on and find someone that does. We wouldn’t tell her she should suck it up and be grateful she even has a boyfriend.

        Just my thoughts.

      • Anna January 5, 2012, 4:04 am

        Exactly my sentiments, Kristen! I hate how people call Gen-Y “entitled” for daring to think it’s possible to have an enjoyable life. I currently am in a dead-end job too and planning my escape. I have no plans of continuing to work 3rd shift in a call center my entire life just because it pays (barely) enough to survive. There are people who are homeless or live in worse apartments than mine too but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong for me to strive to live in a nice house someday. Your example of an unfulfilling relationship is excellent. If it’s ok to expect happiness from your SO why not from other parts of life too?

      • cporoski January 5, 2012, 8:59 am

        I am not saying stay there forever, but I am not going to say quit before you have something else. It will probably take awhile. So buck up until then. I will tell you this for sure. I have known people who quit jobs before they had other ones and got into the cycle of unemployment where they go from one bad job to another because they are desperate. A job change should be strategic and she should be trying to be the best employee ever so she can get great references. Dreams don’t come immediately, they take time and effort and being able to get up every day and try that much harder.

      • oppositeofzen January 5, 2012, 9:41 am

        I think the LW has been thinking about what’s next. She seems to understand that she will need a job to get her thru until she starts grad school. She’s trying to figure out if she should be looking for another or trying to stick it out with this one. I fail to see why we shouldn’t be encouraging her to look for a new position while still employed at her old one instead of telling to the “buck up” and deal with it.

      • cporoski January 5, 2012, 2:13 pm

        That is what i said. Look for a strategic move and make the best of it until you do.

      • Kristen January 5, 2012, 9:42 am

        Oh, absolutely. I don’t think the LW should just quit her current job in pursuit of dreams that may or may not happen. All I’m saying is that she shouldn’t hesitate to go after those opportunities – while she’s still working – and do whatever she can to improve her current situation.

      • cporoski January 5, 2012, 2:07 pm

        Then we are saying the same thing. She wants to know what to do until she gets a new job. I am saying you have to do a great job every day until you find something better and just realize where you fall in the world until you find something better. I think people should always have an updated resume and one ear to the floor about careers. However, if you are miserable in your job and everyone who works with you knows it, then that reputation gets around. I just think there is a reason that most people aren’t in thier first job for long.

    • YouGoGirl January 4, 2012, 5:39 pm

      I have also been to Mali, Africa, one of the poorest countries in the world. I was amazed at how cheerful the people were in spite of their dire poverty, perhaps because their culture has rich social and family connections as compared to the alienation typically found in the US. Urging the LW to toughen up and scolding her for not being grateful are not going to be very helpful to her. She is already aware that she has much to be grateful for in her job and that people in other countries have worse situations. She also wishes she could be tougher but unfortunately her body is not cooperating.

      The advice of other readers will probably be more helpful to her. Seeing a doctor to make sure she does not have a physical problem, exercising, ramping up her job hunt, saving her money so she can eventually quit and finding meaningful volunteer work are all good coping strategies. I wish her the best of luck. I have been in her situation.

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    • Renee January 4, 2012, 7:49 pm

      You can’t move on, if you burn your bridge. No matter how much you hate your job personally, you MUST do your job as if you care passionately about. Think about the soft skills you have to maintain.

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    • Meredith January 5, 2012, 10:20 pm

      The starving children in Africa line! My dad used to tell me that when I was a little shit of a teenager whining about how much homework I had! Valid argument and I do understand your point but not exactly helpful. A broken foot hurts worse than a hang nail, yes, but a hang nail still hurts right? I think LW knows she needs to improve her attitude towards her job and wrote in asking for suggestions…buck up is a suggestion but not maybe not very constructive? But I totally agree with your later point that it’s a hundred times easier to find a new job while still employed. It’s not right, but the unemployed are discriminated against by potential employers, making it that much harder for them to find a job.

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    Budj January 4, 2012, 3:29 pm

    You’ve really built this up in your head – not saying you aren’t entitled to being miserable in your job…but you are way overly-frustrated with where you are….stop being frustrated… Why? You have a goal and a new direction (grad school)…decide when your last day will be…make that something to look forward to and focus on things that aren’t work until you are done. It may be 1/2 of your waking life (minimally) but your job, especially a short-term job, does not define you unless you want it to.

    I would say your situation isn’t far-fetched for most people…most people aren’t doing anything close to their dream job. Be happy you are changing that…you aren’t in an abusive environment…you just don’t feel fulfilled (join the club?) and don’t like (not hate) the people you are working with….you are young…your first job isn’t your last…I danced around 3 jobs before settling on one that gave me a tiny bit of fulfillment (sometimes) and I look outside of work for things to fulfill me because I can’t beat the pay at my current job if I want to stay where I am geographically.

    That said…if you really can’t stand it…and if working somewhere casual can still pay your bills and allow you to get a nest egg for grad school…then just quit and do something like that till you start school. Even better… if you don’t need money then seek an internship or “shadow” someone in the field of your graduate studies.. That would look good on a resume for the future.

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    • Ktfran January 4, 2012, 4:04 pm


      After reading cporoski’s comment, which I somewhat agree with, I wanted to say almost the same thing as Budj. LW – you’re extremly worked up about this job. Calm down. Breath. Do something to relieve the stress.

      If you can’t get out of this job now, look at is as a stepping stone towards the future. You’re getting paid, and have great benefits. You’ve said yourself you plan to get out, so for right now, this job is a means to an end.

      I don’t always like my job. I don’t always feel respected. Some days I dread going. Heck, sometimes I hate it. But I get paid well and I’m pretty darn good at it. Knowing those two things keep me going. That, and the economy sucks.

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    • oldie January 4, 2012, 4:09 pm

      I think this is an excellent perspective. The first thing LW should realize is that the transition between college and work is a really big deal. I landed the job that I wanted, tied right into my major. I had worked hard as a student, studied diligently, gotten good grades, and not taken the party approach to school. Still, being at work a minimum of 40 hours a week, most of that time confined to the institutional 96 square feet, which was my workspace, was a huge shock. In school, all the information to solve problems was provided or could be found in the library. You worked until the task was finished and when it was finished, you either had another assigned task, or you could goof off and do as you pleased. You went from class to class, studied where you chose, gabbed with friends, whenever. Work was really different. You completed a task and needed to wait hours for the result, finding something useful to do in between. Gabbing with fellow workers, most significantly older, was frowned upon outside of lunch, breaks, and to discuss specific job related things. Bosses were a lot more rigid than professors and a lot less delighted to here ideas that contradicted there own. Parts of an 8+ hour day were frankly boring. I found my attention span really didn’t run to 2 to 4 hours in a block. This is a big mind change that will exist with whatever your first job is.

      The second thing to realize is that the new hire isn’t fully conversant with the systems of the employer and not fully trusted. Therefore, you are not going to get the most challenging, interesting, or exciting work. You won’t get on any cool committees or projects, because the experience people can do those jobs better and seek them out. Part of what you do will be training yourself to the new environment, part will be scut work, part will be tests to see just how much you actually can do well. Some bosses are really slow in handing out the candy, whether it be praise (doesn’t come easily to some males and some technical types), interesting work, or truly meaningful work. Your professors sell you a load of crap in what to expect as a newly hired professional in your field.

      Third, you should just tell yourself that there is no reason to be stressed. What is the worst that can happen? Your boss could fire you, but you want to leave anyway, so that’s no biggy. Having decided that you don’t care whether you stay or go can be a very liberating thing. Now you can focus upon learning as much as you can, networking, saving some $.

      Don’t just assume that a new field of study will make everything better. Presumably you liked your current field at some time. There is a reason that work is called work and your boss pays you to do it. Few would choose to do it for free. All work has both drudgery and candy moments. Meaningful is what you are willing to consider as meaningful. Did you do the work well? Have you investigated what the end value of this work is to your colleagues or customers? Somebody must think it’s pretty valuable or they wouldn’t be giving you a good salary with great bennnies to do it. Before chucking your job, consider:
      — talk to fellow employees with more seniority to learn what your job can become if you stick with it

      — talk to employees in other departments to see if your employer has more suitable jobs that you can transfer to.

      The economy is tough. Tons of people, especially women in their twenties, according to recent statistics are flocking back to schools to get additional degrees to get better jobs. This means the competition will be really intense when you get your new degree and you’ll be a newby in your new field.

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      • Christy January 4, 2012, 11:21 pm

        Just want to second that grad school can give you extra credentials but not necessarily get you a job. It’s a problem at the master’s level and even at the PhD level, especially if you’re going into a humanities field (read the forums at the Chronicle of Higher Education sometime, it’s an eye-opener!).

        My advice on how to survive is like someone else’s above. Build the skills you can to get you to the next level, and find things outside of work to focus on. You might also look into transferring to another office/division if that’s possible. Maybe a change in office-mates can help.

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    theattack January 4, 2012, 3:30 pm

    Treat the symptoms of the stress. Take Prevacid or something for your acid reflux. Maybe do some yoga or something to relax and get out negative energy. You need to pound negative energy into something. For me, that’s baking. Nothing like a big blob of unkneaded bread dough to take out some anger. Do that stuff, look for a new job, and be thankful you have a job to pay your bills right now.

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      theattack January 4, 2012, 3:36 pm

      Also, try to make games out of your work. ie: “How many forms can I get done before the weird dude goes to pee for the tenth time?” “How long would it take me to clean up this entire box of staples if I spilled it on the floor?”

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        Budj January 4, 2012, 4:14 pm

        that weird dude probably has a kidney stone. haha

      • ForeverYoung January 4, 2012, 8:21 pm

        Or he’s crying in the bathroom stall because he hates the soul sucking job too.

  • CottonTheCuteDog January 4, 2012, 3:33 pm

    Put to use the sick time and take many mental health days! Spend those days sending resumes and going on interviews.

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    • mf January 4, 2012, 4:11 pm

      Agreed. Sometimes my job really gets me down, but I’ve noticed I always feel more upbeat after some time off, even if it’s just one day.

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    caitie_didn't January 4, 2012, 3:41 pm

    Oh man, I’ve been there. As much as people like to be all “stop acting whiny, spoiled and entitled and just be glad you have a job”- seriously, those people? Has the world crushed your spirit so much that you feel that no one should be entitled to have dreams? Look, people who are tempted to say “just stop whining”; I’m not saying that we don’t have to pay our dues. But if you hate it, what the hell is the point?

    A job you hate is soul crushing, and now is the perfect time for the LW to go after what she wants- she’s young and is not responsible for anyone other than herself, doesn’t have a mortgage and has concrete plans to go back to school. I read a blog called Yes and Yes- shameless plug, this blog is great! (www.yesandyes.org) regularly and she had a guest post on this very subject:


    This is really good, practical and realistic advice and I would encourage the LW to check it out!

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    • Kristen January 4, 2012, 3:45 pm

      “Has the world crushed your spirit so much that you feel that no one should be entitled to have dreams?”

      Love this.

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        caitie_didn't January 4, 2012, 4:05 pm

        Seriously, I am so goddamn tired of all this “you should just be lucky you even HAVE a job”. We all know that. And trust me, my peers and I know that we’re lucky to have any job in this economy. But please leave the smug superiority at home-being thankful for having a job while simultaneously feeling like your soul is being crushed by said job are not mutually exclusive.

      • Kristen January 4, 2012, 4:08 pm

        I completely agree. I think you can be thankful for having a job while at the same time looking for something better. You don’t have to stay where you are just because everyone tells you not to wish for more.

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        theattack January 4, 2012, 4:21 pm

        I vote for “be thankful you have a job” because I figure it helps with how horrible the job is, not because I have a superiority complex. When she thinks about what the other alternative is at the moment (meaning before she finds another job), having a job she hates is probably not as bad in comparison. The “be thankful” attitude is not just based in jealousy or superiority. It is actually good advice.

      • Painted_lady January 4, 2012, 5:08 pm

        I’ve started comparing the “Be thankful you have a job” mantra to the abusive boyfriend who tells his girlfriend she should be grateful he didn’t hit her harder. Seriously, seriously tired of it. I hear it at least weekly. I love my job, and I hear it weekly, and I still want to hit someone.

      • ForeverYoung January 4, 2012, 8:26 pm

        Easily said by someone who has a job. Wait until you don’t have one and then see how soul crushingly depressing your life is. The problem with that argument is that yes, I get it bad jobs suck, but the reason people say, “at least you have a job” is because even if you aren’t in your dream job, even if it sucks the life out of you – it really is still better than the person who has student loans and is in debt.

        So I just talked myself into a circle…and I guess i’m not offended by your analogy. It’s like when my dog has diahrea all over the tile floor by the door because he was at home alone all day and my husband says, “at least he was nice enough to do it on the tile and not the carpet” and it makes me want to take all my ambien at the same time and chase it with a bottle of scotch.

      • Painted_lady January 5, 2012, 10:14 am

        Haha, my dog does that too, and my boyfriend says the same thing. I’m not saying I’m not grateful for my job, and I’ve for sure had worse and was desperate to get the one I have. It just feels like such a silencing tactic – it’s almost always said by someone asking me to do more than I did previously. I am grateful to have a job, but that doesn’t mean you get to abuse that.

    • SpaceySteph January 4, 2012, 4:17 pm

      “Has the world crushed your spirit so much that you feel that no one should be entitled to have dreams?”
      Yes. The only dream job is one you haven’t had yet. And all those people who say “find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” are liars. I fly the space station. I should know.

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      • SpaceySteph January 4, 2012, 4:51 pm

        Sorry, I wrote that response feeling bitter, in the worst meeting ever (and it happens every week). I stand by it but I want to elaborate: your dream job is awesome and fun and interesting and exciting and men want to be you and women want to have sex with you (or, you know, the other way around, if you’re not an engineer).
        But in reality even the coolest job (which, lets face it, I’m close) has alot of crap. It has soul-crushing meetings, or bad hours, or terrible bosses, or stress and deadlines, or vacations you miss out on because its your “busy time” or… whatever it is that makes the situation less than ideal.
        The thing that worries me is this part of the letter: “I plan to go back to grad school in another year and a half in order to study what I truly AM passionate about”
        What will she do when she finds out that jobs in that field suck too? Your enjoyment of a situation is largely dependent on your attitude, and learning to make the best of this crappy job is a good skill for life.

      • Jane January 4, 2012, 10:22 pm

        THIS times a billion. I know exactly how you feel – I worked since I was a kid to achieve my dream of working in the space industry. I graduated, was blessed to find a job in this industry, and then they canceled Constellation right after I got there. At this point I still don’t really want to work anywhere else (stubbornness, maybe?), but there are days when I wonder if it’s going to ever be the way I imagined it, and it makes me sad.

      • Rachel January 4, 2012, 10:54 pm

        This is a really good point. I freaking love my job, and I’m lucky to work in a field I’m excited about, but really, I don’t love doing it every day. I have days where I just don’t want to do the things I need to, days where I’m pulling my hair out trying to schedule a meeting or meet a deadline.

  • amber January 4, 2012, 3:43 pm

    I had a job where my co-workers made me miserable and I dreaded seeing them and working with them (I would cheer inside when they called in sick, I would rather just have done everything on my own than interacted with them). I started making things better by taking an online class, I was lucky in the respect that I was doing what I wanted to, just the people I worked with sucked. I also made my lunch hour my time. I started leaving the office when I could for lunch and getting out of that atmosphere. I also pushed myself to apply to 3 new jobs every week. I sat down with my (now) husband and discussed what we wanted and if we were willing to move. I broadened my job application radius. And I also gave work less time than I was. I would get to work early, leave late, etc because my coworkers did and they would pull the woe is me crap about how they stayed late to get it done and were alone, when in reality they were staying late because it had to be done the ‘right’ way or ‘their’ way. Eventually I decided I would rather work a little harder during the day and hear that than BE at work more, so if I couldn’t get it done within normal business hours it didn’t get done. I also made myself and my husband promise that I could only vent about work for a specific amount of time. I wasn’t allowed to grovel about how terrible it was all the time, I had to learn to leave work AT work. It made my time away from the office so much better. And I realize that many people have it far worse than I did and I was lucky to have a job in this economy, but it doesn’t make a really crappy job environment any better.

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    • ForeverYoung January 4, 2012, 8:28 pm

      These are great suggestions!!

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  • Turtledove January 4, 2012, 3:44 pm

    I know where you are, I was in that position fairly recently. It’s good that you’re looking for another job. Now is a very good time to take a hard look at your finances and figure out if there are any areas that you could trim– take a cheaper apartment, a cheaper cell plan, etc. That way you can see if you could manage with a lower paying job that is better suited to your interests and talents.

    You should also consider if it’s life in general that has gotten you down and if it’s just that you’re blaming the job. A lot of people don’t love their jobs– they just use them to fund the things that they love. What have you got in your life that you truly love, that you’re passionate about? If it seems that you’re in a holding pattern with this job and grad school, etc, then now is a good time to take up a hobby or a class or anything else that will give you something to look forward to.

    And lastly, examine what you can do to make your current job more bearable until you find something else. If it’s boring, can you listen to music or a book on an Ipod? Is there a project going on at work that you could get involved in that would let you use your strengths? What can you do to mitigate your stress levels? What steps can you take to make dealing with your boss easier? I would really sit down and list out the specific reasons for each gripe about your work and come up with at least one solution for each. Don’t fall back on generalities– get as specific as possible, i.e. My boss is not clear in her expectations, typing reports all day is boring to me, I’m having trouble getting Excel to work for me, etc. Then (and this is the important part) implement your solutions one at a time and see if it helps. Work is work and you’re not always going to like it and you’re going to have to work with horrid bosses and bad co-workers. Now is a good time to go ahead and start looking for coping mechanisms to deal with it.

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    • Ktfran January 4, 2012, 4:08 pm

      Awesome advice Turtledove. I somewhat think that it’s more than this job and your second paragraph is spot on. Also, your advice is really helpful.

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  • Addie Pray January 4, 2012, 3:44 pm

    How do I make it through a job I really dislike, you ask? Easy, spend all day reading and commenting on Dear Wendy, you silly goose!

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      Budj January 4, 2012, 4:15 pm

      That was going to be my advice on the update if she didn’t like the advice we gave her…haha…it’s what I do on gross work days!

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        Budj January 4, 2012, 4:15 pm

        That and refresh facebook 1200 times….

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        TaraMonster January 4, 2012, 5:03 pm

        Eeek. That one would make a bad day worse for me. Looking at it when I’m in a bad mood makes me wonder why I have it at all. I’ll start getting judgmental in my head about people who whine too much (oh my God Target was out of my favorite white socks AGAIN! FML.), constantly update about how in love they are after 3 months (<3 you baby! xoxo love of my life), name their kids stupid shit (Kindle!! I can't make this up.), etc. I believe this is what psychologists call 'cycling.' Lol.

        When I'm in a nasty mood I forget that some of my friends post awesome links and that my cousins' pictures of her baby girl are so farking cute rainbows might pop out of the screen. On bad days, FB is the enemy. But that's just my weird tick. Haha.

      • Something More January 5, 2012, 9:48 am


        Try these. You are not alone in your annoyance! 🙂

      • oppositeofzen January 5, 2012, 9:49 am

        I’ve started hiding those people on FB. It makes things easier.

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      JK January 4, 2012, 5:51 pm

      When I saw the title of the post I thought you might be the LW. 🙂

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  • Sarah January 4, 2012, 3:50 pm

    Christ, I feel like I wrote this letter. I am utterly miserable at my job. It is an awful job where absolutely no one appreciates or even notices the work you do and a good day is a day that you aren’t being yelled at or condescended to. I get headaches, stomach aches and I have gained weight and lost my motivation to take care of myself. I have gone on job interviews but there are literally hundreds people applying for the same spot every time and unless you can speak three different dialects and have a master’s degree in the very specific criteria, you’re pretty much just wasting your lunch break.

    The thing that keeps me here is the money is better than a lot of them and the hours work well with my boyfriend’s, but honestly I’ve had enough and I’ll be looking for a job, any job, after I take a trip next month. Luckily I have a plan to get back to school and pursue a much different career, but I understand so much that depressed feeling of going to a job when you’d rather be working anywhere else. I can only tell you the things I’m doing that are helping me now. I’ve signed up for counseling, I have devoted my day to making sure I eat right and get to the gym, and I spend at least some time a day pursing creative projects, even if it would be way more convenient to watch tv. It hasn’t helped me hate my job less, but its been giving me more confidence, and I’m starting to realize that a lack of confidence is what kept me at a job I hated in the first place.

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  • sarita_f January 4, 2012, 3:54 pm

    I’m on the fence between the Suck It Up camp and the Get Out Immediately camp.

    It seems like this job is happening TO you. I don’t read that you’re actively trying to improve your current situation (a bird in the hand… devil you know… grass is always greener… need I go on?). I don’t read that you’re working to mitigate your stress symptoms. I don’t read any other issues in your life besides the job. I don’t read that you’re stuck at work for 80 hours per week and aren’t able to have a life outside work.

    You’ve got a lot of room to make some changes, beyond just focusing on your job.

    Start taking some CONTROL – take it from me, once you start looking at your current situation with an “I think I can fix this” attitude you gain power in the situation. You’ll be able to see your sucky job with the good pay and benefits as a means to an end – it gets you down the road to where you want to be. You’re biding time. And that is fiiiine.

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    • sarita_f January 4, 2012, 4:04 pm

      Also, do you have any interests that you could parlay into some kind of side job for now? One that may lead to self-employment?

      I hated a job before this one too (the way Addi Pray seems to :)), pretty much flamed out from a fairly high-profile position at a huge global company. I made pit stops in both recruiting (within my old industry) and now sales in a completely unrelated field. Both those pit stops had/have their own minuses (really low pay while I build up a book of business being the most stressful) but the greater good is that these are all skills I need to some day open up my own business. Of some kind.

      Anyways, self-employment ain’t for everyone, but it’s not something I’ve seen addressed yet so wanted to put it out there.

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  • Sonia January 4, 2012, 4:08 pm

    I’m in a similar position right now too, and I’ve been here for going into 4 years. At first it was good, great money, commute is cake (15 minutes door to door) and the people were nice. But the industry (accounting) is nowhere I’d like to be.
    Just this morning I laid in bed looking at the ceiling wishing I had won the lottery so I could just tell them all to bite me (or something like that). And that actually helps. While it might sound negative, funny fantasies about how I would quit have helped lighten the situation (like the one my friend and I thought up about throwing a Flava Flav size clock at my boss while yelling “Yea Boy!”) If nothing else, it breaks the heaviness in my head and reminds me that it is temporary. I also make it a point to not let my job define me, which is huge. Remember you are NOT your job and that way you can release the stress allowing yourself time for the things you love. I started having to see a therapist during tax season due to this job’s stressful and busiest time, and my therapist gave me a tool that also helped me alot: treat the job like an acting job. It’s something you have to do just for a certain amount of time and when you leave the office (aka stage) you become who you really are. That has definitely helped me on some rough days. Maybe it helps I have a huge imagination too.
    Sometimes, you also have to think of the goal of the job too. Generally, I like office work because I’m good at it and I like the structure that my creative life lacks, but over time it has gotten to be tougher in this crappy economy because I can’t just easily “jump” to another job – or run the risk it could be worse. Plus, I took this job to transition from my personal assistant job to an office manager because I started a long distance relationship and figured if I move, I can then have a better choice of work. So I remind myself that this job has helped me significantly cut my debt and also get me on the path to saving so I can move to BF and take the financial hit if need be, cause I will be ina better place fiancially.
    Essentially, you have to work on changing your perspective. Easier said than done, I know. What I used to do as a teenager (when I was convinced I was ugly) is force myself to say nice things about my looks. Over time, it was easier to do because it forced me to really look at what was nice looking about me. So I’ve applied that exercise into lots of things, like crap work. I look in the proverbial mirror and remember what is the “nice” thing about it.
    Good luck…

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  • Elle Marie January 4, 2012, 4:11 pm

    A few tips: start actively applying to other jobs, as many as possible as often as possible, ASAP. Viewing your current employment as a temporary situation may help a bit, all on its own. While it may not be easy to get another job in this economy, working towards getting away from a stressful and unpleasant situation may help shift your viewpoint and make you feel a bit better about drudging through the day-to-day.

    Do you have any really exciting hobbies? Finding something that you can do after work and on breaks (personally, I knit and read a lot – having a book or a small knitting project to get my mind focused off of work for 10 minutes really saves my sanity on the crummy days). Additionally, having more positive things to focus on outside of the work day can potentially make the work day more bearable.

    Another thing might be to think about and document your boss’s behavior, to see if it is crossing the line between distant but reasonable to truly terrible. I thought my boss was just demanding and a bit dismissive, but through a very horrible situation learned that her behavior was actually against HR policy and not only passive-aggressive, but abusive of her position and unfair toward me. She’s retiring partway through this year, which has helped me hold onto the shreds of my self-worth, but I live in a perpetual state of anxiety and dread surrounding work. I thought maybe I was hating my job completely, but after taking some anxiety medication and talking to an HR representative, I realized that I actually do really enjoy parts of my job but the issue lies in constantly being made to feel as though I am about to be fired over situations that are largely beyond my control. Having a sanity check from a coworker or someone who doesn’t work directly with your boss might help you put your treatment and feelings about your job in perspective.

    Another thing that has helped me is a technique I was forced to do my senior year of high school (and hated the entire time): cognitive restructuring journalling. Take 5 minutes every day (or a few set days a week) to write down a negative situation that you experienced, but to find something (however small) that is positive about it. Example: Your cat destroyed a favorite piece of clothing by clawing it to pieces (sadly this is my life!) but you are grateful to have enough disposable income to replace said ruined piece of clothing, and happy to have an adorable furball who only rarely ruins your things. While it can seem a bit silly, getting your mind into the habit of focusing on the positive within a negative can be really helpful in putting your situation into perspective and coping with anxiety and stress.

    At any rate, I certainly hope that you find a way to get into a happier place, and hopefully sooner rather than later.

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  • Fabelle January 4, 2012, 4:14 pm

    I think you do need to manage your stress symptoms, but the reason you’re not “choosing to be happy” or “making the job work for you” is because you are miserable. And since it’s not an industry you’re passionate about, there’s no logical reason for you to even try. If it’s so bad that you’ve developed physical ailments, then my advice would be to get out now. Yes– you’re giving up steady pay & health insurance until you get another job (which is hard to find right now) but you’re getting your health & peace-of-mind back.

    That is, unless being unemployed for a period of time would also cause a spiral of anxiousness on this scale?

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    FireStar January 4, 2012, 4:22 pm

    For some people work is their calling – it is fulfilling and it is something they can happily dedicate their lives to, for others, it is a pay cheque. Having a sense of fulfillment at work isn’t an entitlement – hell in this economy having a job isn’t an entitlement. You ask what you can do to have less anxiety and stress over your existing job – you can choose to change your outlook from one of entitlement to one of gratitude. Your issues don’t seem to be related to others – evil bosses or hostile co-workers. The problems you have seem to be in your head – and that is exactly where the solution rests. I appreciate it is easy to get overwhelmed at a stressful job – it happens to me too – but the fix is scheduling priorities, understanding that you can only do what you can do, and at the end of the day work should stay at work and not follow you home.

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    Tracey January 4, 2012, 4:32 pm

    Does your company offer an EAP (Employee Assistance Program)? If they do, give their hotline a call and get yourself an appointment with a counselor as quickly as you can. EAPs provide free, short term counseling to help get your through stressful situations, and they cannot report anything discussed or even who uses their service back to your employer. The only thing they can report is the number of people who used the service, and then that info is only for billing purposes. I’ve used an EAP in the past and it was a lifeline I truly appreciated.

    If your company does not have an EAP, talk to your doctor about your current work environment. S/he can help recommend some sort of treatment plan to help get you through the physical stress you’re experiencing, and recommend a counseling option for the mental stress. You mentioned returning to grad school. You may want to check in with your undergrad school’s alumni affairs office or the enrollment office of the school you’ll be attending for grad studies. They may be able to provide access to career counselors, personal counseling (similar to the EAP), and both locations should have an employment center that can assist you in finding a job to replace the one you have.

    Talk to your trusted friends about what’s going on, if for anything just to have an outlet to vent off some of your pressure. If they can’t help you find a way out, they can help you just by being able to relate or let you know they’re there for you in any way they can be. Don’t neglect your health – eat right, try to exercise when you can, avoid the temptation to self medicate, and get as much sleep as you can. You can’t afford to let your health deteriorate. Put aside as much money as you possibly can in case things get to the point where you have to leave your job for whatever reason, and to give yourself a cushion so that perhaps you can leave in the near future if you absolutely can’t take it anymore or you land another position elsewhere that doesn’t pay as much as your current job.

    Good luck, and know that things will get better soon.

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    • Jubietta January 4, 2012, 11:05 pm

      I like Tracey’s advice. And while you’re there, you might look into the possibility of a short-term AND/OR part-time disability. I had a similar situation but mine included a boss who was incredibly compassionate and recognized what I was doing to myself…even when I didn’t. My company gave me two scheduled days off every three weeks, and that time allowed me the space to do the kinds of things that other commentors are suggesting. After a few months I was able to get my head in a good place and contribute they way I needed to. It did hurt my standing at the company, I was no longer the top of the heap, but it doesn’t sound like this job is your forever…so that’s a small price to pay if it happens that way for you.

      In the end I’m going to tell you what I wish I could say to my younger self…get out as soon as you can, and make it happen sooner by asking for help and minimizing where you can. You only get one body and if you ruin it now it won’t be there for you later.

      Best of luck in protecting your soul!

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  • Dave Yognaught January 4, 2012, 4:39 pm

    Here is what I suggest as a practical action plan. I think if you do these you will see results:

    1) GO TO WORK FOR YOURSELF. Start getting up early every morning well before you have to go to work. Train yourself to rise at 6am or whatever time is best. Then, go to work FOR YOURSELF for at least an hour until you have to get ready to go in to the office. During this time: check job posting sites every day. Update your resume. Look at education options. Investigate extracurricular activities. Take positive action in discovering your purpose in life by taking career quizzes and reading books about finding your passion. Your job in life is to find out what you are good at, develop your powers, and then use them to create “the good”. DO NOT watch TV, lay in bed or waste this time. Do this every day and make it a habit. Doing this once or twice a week WILL NOT cut it. You will still be depressed and make no progress if you don’t get in the habit of helping yourself EVERY DAY. This is your sacred time – don’t let anything rob you of your focus during this time. You are worth it.

    2) During your habitual “working for myself” time each morning, make it a goal to find at least two extracurricular activities to start, ASAP. Why? Because exposure is key to getting yourself out of where you are now. Do something other than work during the week – anything, I don’t care if it’s tennis lessons, volunteering, whatever. Get up and go to something even if you’re only 50% interested and quit later. Exposure to the world and what’s out there will help you 1) figure out what your passion is and 2) introduce you to people who can help you find a job (yes, even if you volunteer or meet people on a kickball team, these people can help you find a job). Most of the time, finding a job is a chance thing … someone mentions an open position, someone talks about their cousin who’s looking for a resource. Your job is to maximize your exposure so those chance opportunities come by you more often. You won’t get those chance opportunities lying in bed at home. Also, I don’t care if you go to something once and then decide to quit. It’s not about finding and committing to something, it’s more like you need to be out there experiencing the world and meeting people for a good 6-8 hours every week. If you can do something before or after work at least twice a week, and either meet new people or develop the relationships of people you’ve met during these outings, you’re on a positive path. Are you a shy person? I was too. I’m introverted but learned how to handle social situations by watching others and practicing. Learn to be sociable enough by reading books about small talk. Bond with people about the reason for whatever you’re meeting for. And follow through on leads. Someone mentions that they know another person who’s studying at the school you want to go to? Ask for their number – you’d be surprised at how much people like to help other people. Talk to that 2nd connection and see if they have more leads you can follow. It’s all about exposure.

    This is my advice. The only person who can change your situation is YOU!

    DO both of these things

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  • EricaLnyy January 4, 2012, 4:56 pm

    i’m in the same exact situation. i was just offered a part time job — which would be literally cutting my pay in HALF — and i hate my current job so much i’m actually considering it! it’s horrible to feel this way, and you have to remind yourself constantly that this isn’t forever.

    make it a point to apply for one job each night when you get home from work. it will keep you motivated to look for new opportunities. if you’re willing, look outside your area. pick a town an hour from where you are, and job search there. then try two hours. there’s a lot of things you can do to keep your spirits up, like fine tuning your resume and looking for a new bag for going on interviews. life really is too short to be so miserable.

    i’ve set an end goal for my current job — march 31. it’s definitely helping me focus on leaving. you should do the same. and take advantage of your sick/vacation time. if you plan on leaving by summer, make sure you’ve used up your time so you don’t lose it when you leave. use the days to relax, job search, whatever. but make sure you set aside a few vacation hours in case you need to leave work early to go on an interview!

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    L January 4, 2012, 5:20 pm

    Life is too short to hate your job. Think about it: basically you are wishing 5/7 of your life away. Who wants that?

    In reality, this economy sucks, blah blah. We all know it. My suggestion for you is to set a deadline for yourself to find something new. Whether that means find a new job that is better suited for you and that you might actually enjoy doing or whether you want to go back to school. Set a deadline. 3 months, 6 months, a year, whatever. Actively job search. And NETWORK LIKE CRAAAAZZZZZY. It’s seriously who you know, not what you know. I’m a substitute teacher hoping to find a real teaching job next year, but I recently added an additional part time tutoring job on top of subbing because I’ve gotten to know the secretaries and some of the administration at the schools I work at. They called me because they know who I am and they like what I do. That’s the type of network you want. Find your dream job field, set a goal for yourself in that field, and get cracking. Talk to people who do similar work. Talk to their bosses. Attend conferences if there are any for that field. Schmooze a bit. Get your name out there. Heck, if possible find some way to volunteer in a similar field. Those people that meet you and like what you stand for and the work that you do.

    I’m not saying get out now. I’m saying start saving up as much money as possible, set your timeline for when you will be done with your current job, and get your butt in gear. It is terrifying to pursue what you truly want to do, especially if it is a selective field (like mine…frustrating beyond belief), but your happiness is worth more than any paycheck. There will be good and bad days at work no matter what career you are in, but if there is something that you truly want to do as a career, GO FOR IT.

    Good luck, LW!!

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  • Michelle January 4, 2012, 6:06 pm

    I honestly can’t work at a job that I hate. I can’t. In fact, when I was getting ready to leave a particular employer, I was contemplating fast food. Hey, I used to work it, and would do it again in a minute if the need was there until I got to another job – knowing full well I am a skilled worker, and make quite a bit more than what I would there. I left because I knew I had a backup plan if I didn’t land another good one soon. Think of something, anything you could do while looking for a new job. You do what you need to do to survive imho.

    Keep looking for jobs, go on interviews on your lunch break etc. Don’t turn away ‘entry level’ positions if it’s a company that you could see yourself working for. In my experience, if you’re a smart upward moving person, it doesn’t matter how low you start, you can make your way up in a company. Another opportunity will come. Don’t give up.

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    katie January 4, 2012, 8:56 pm

    I could have written this letter a year ago, except for i was doing something I loved, and it still sucked. i wont even bore you with all the details of migraines and drinking at the end of the night, but it was absolutely terrible. i spent every minute of my free time trying to find a new job. and that was what kept me going. going out on interviews, knowing that this wasnt the only job i would ever have, knowing that it could be all over if i got this next job… that kept me going.

    i dont know what advice i can really give you, but just dont give up trying to find another job. it took me probably 7 or 8 months to find one, but you just gotta keep looking and keep looking. know that something has to happen sometime- its like the lottery, somebody has to win.

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  • Meredith January 4, 2012, 9:41 pm

    I can so relate LW. My first job out of college was TERRIBLE. I was an executive assistant for a team of 4 executives and 20 consultants. The workload itself was tremendous, but the work boring. Most treated me like garbage and my head executive was a egotistical maniac who relentlessly sexually harassed me. I cried everyday in my car on my lunch breaks and all the way home. I thought I had to stay bc there was no way I’d find something else with very little experience. The stress was spreading to every part of my life. I finally said enough was enough when my boss took his pants off in front of me. I did what you, LW, need to do. Take action to get your butt out of this job that’s sucking the life out of you.
    I went home, got on line and found a recruiter. A couple days later I met with the recruiter, she got an interview set up for me quickly but told me I had to ace the interview bc I didn’t have a lot of experience. I went home and prepared for hours. Aced the interview, got the job. Five years later I’ve been promoted four times and am in an industry I love. You are spinning your wheels every day you waste at this job. Going through a recruiter is a great way to go, I’ve had great experiences with them. Don’t let the fear of a bad economy keep you at this place. With determination, confidence in yourself, and really working on honing your interview skills, you can land a great job! The only thing that’s holding you back is you! Good luck.

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      mandalee January 5, 2012, 12:09 am

      OMG, I thought I had the world’s most ridiculous boss, but taking his pants off in front of you?!?! Wow. I’m so glad you were able to get out of there and move on to a job and industry you love. I had a similar experience. My shitty job and insane (actually insane too, I think he went to a mental facility for awhile) spurred me out of that field, back to school, and getting ready to start my own business.

      LW, I would use this opportunity to push you to do what it is you love in a place you want to work. Remember this feeling (I’m sure it will be hard to ever forget) and use that to push yourself to apply to jobs, network, expand your skills, etc. My shitty job was the best thing that ever happened to me, even after the stress and the weight loss, I came out on the other side more determined than ever.

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      • Meredith January 5, 2012, 10:09 pm

        He did lots of insane stuff. Tried to kiss me on the lips at the company Christmas party in front of his wife, called me from the bathtub… I have tried to forget the rest, it was slightly traumatizing lol. Guy was crazy and HR let him get away with being a terror bc he was “too big too touch”. But yes, my thing is life is too short to stay in a crap job out of fear you won’t find anything else.

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    Liz January 4, 2012, 9:44 pm

    I feel like in some ways, this could have been written by me. But recently, I had kind of an epiphany that maybe I should just be a little more grateful about my situation. (I’m an office assistant in a field miles away from what I studied in college.) Some of my friends ARE working and have better jobs, but I do know a bunch of people that are hanging around pursuing multiple advanced degrees to bide their time, and are really, truly miserable.

    While I do denounce my job (almost daily) at the end of the day it’s really not so bad. I have money in my pocket, have health insurance, and have a 5-minute commute. (And you seem to be in a similar boat.) My co-workers are luckily a bunch of funny, awesome people who I can vent to about my racist boss.

    While I envision a glamorous career in the city, I’m actually fairly comfortable at my shitty job. Maybe a bit of perspective is what you need, like everyone is saying. Or maybe it’s time to get out. Either way, good luck to you in your endeavors.

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  • pamplemousse January 4, 2012, 10:55 pm

    My first job after I moved out of my parent’s house was like this. It was the summer after my freshman year of high school, and living at home was not an option, even in dire circumstances. Like yours, the job was okay at first, but I soon found that the whole business was run by members of the same family, and my supervisors were verbally abusive in their management of employees (I found out after I quit that they had a very high turnover rate). Anyhow, I compartmentalized and tried to tell myself I only had to make it through the summer. But when the stress got to the point that it was causing a physical reaction, that was the point where I knew I had to quit. Normally I would never advise someone to quit a job before getting a new one, but that is what I did in this instance, and surprisingly I did not regret it at all. And with the free time of being unemployed, it allowed me to go on every job interview offered to me, and spend all day job-searching.

    My advice: Save up enough money (if you haven’t already) for 2 months worth of living expenses (again, I’d suggest more, but due to the physical stress this is causing, I’m suggesting bare minimum), and get the hell out. It’s not worth it. No job is worth compromising your physical and mental health. Just remember, it’s not a free pass and searching for jobs will be your new full-time job, and new stress will come with that.

    Also, tip for finding a new job: Get in touch with the Career Services and/or Alumni Relations department at your alma mater. Most schools have counselors/contacts who work with alumni looking for jobs, and can help you with your resume, job search, networking, etc.

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    • pamplemousse January 4, 2012, 10:56 pm

      *Freshman year of college, not high school

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  • SpyGlassez January 4, 2012, 10:59 pm

    One job I hated, I stayed in for longer than I should have because I felt obligated. It was a family business (not my family, but still a smaller business). I stayed until they began looking to cut back, and then voluntarily left to go back to school. I kept myself motivated by treating myself sometimes to little things (like coffee out or a new pair of cute shoes) and bitching A LOT to my mother and a close friend. I was miserable there, but the people were OK and while the boss was distant, I had very little to do with him.

    I did however have one job that I had to leave because of stress. I couldn’t sleep at night, and I would sob all the way to work (it was a 45 min commute) and all the way home, and I would sit in my car and cry on my lunch. I got paid pretty well there, but aside from a few, the people were horrible. I ended up leaving that job for a part-time position working retail in a bookstore for half as much per hour. Yes, it entailed a LOT of planning, but knowing that I had an out and saving up my money along the way helped make it easier.

    I can’t say which is the right road for you. As others have said, talk to your doctor about how to treat depression. See about giving yourself a “gift” every once in a while, whether that’s a new CD or a spa day or whatever floats your boat. And if you absolutely cannot stand it, then don’t feel ashamed. Ultimately, a job that breaks you wasn’t worth having. Set aside and save up, and keep networking. Good luck!

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  • Jenny January 5, 2012, 4:23 am

    I had a burnout a few years ago, and the physical aspect of that was the same as yours. I would vomit 8-10 times a day, and I couldn’t sleep from thinking about how I couldn’t find a way out of my crap job. Perspective? We both know part of what makes you sick to your stomach everyday is how you know you should be grateful for the big helping of shit you have to eat everyday, so forget about that for now- you know that already. First thing I would do is go to your HR package from when you got this job and see if you company offers free, anonymous counseling; many large companies have a contract with providers for a 24hr hotline employees can call to talk about whatever concerns them. Your employer will never know you called, and they’ll be an objective 3rd party you can bounce ideas on. If they don’t have that, use some of those health benefits to see a therapist. When I had my burn out, I crashed so low I needed medication to help me boost out of that hole, and it was very helpful to stop the spiraling thoughts and help me get back in control of my own mind. So don’t dismiss temporary anti-depressants as it could really help.
    One thing to keep in mind is that you want to start grad school in 18 months, and you will fall flat on your face there, where it matters to you, if you don’t fix this for yourself. Don’t underestimate the effort needed in a grad program- its way more stressful than undergrad, and right now, that stress would be hard to handle, so I think your goal should be to get ready for grad school which is coming up very fast. One easy thing that helps with stress is physical exercise. I hate every minute of it, but going out for a long walk, every single day, is so simple that it’s hard to believe it would make a difference, but it really, really does. Exercising those large muscles releases chemicals that fight the other chemicals your brain pumps out while under stress. If anything, this is the one thing you can do that will have an effect on how you feel. Really: put on good shoes, and go for a brisk walk or run for 30-45 minutes. Download a podcast and just go!

    Whatever you do, don’t quit that job on a whim because you need the money. I agree that if you can pay your bills on a lower salary, just go for it. Frankly, after grad school, it won’t really matter why you left this job, so long you didn’t get fired.

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    • oppositeofzen January 5, 2012, 11:53 am

      I second what you said about grad school. When I started my MS, I thought everything was going to be wonderful, the faculty would love to help, and that all would be right with the world. Oh wow, was that wrong. That whole ordeal put a few gray hairs on my head and caused lots of migraines.Then, after starting my PhD with what I thought were good coping and stress relieving skills and feel to a dark, dark place that I never want to go to again. There are a lot of things you can’t predict in grad school. You are going to have problems like people on your committee telling you that they are “concerned” about your lack of progress, a major professor quit while you are mid-way through your project and the ever popular running out of funding. You can also run into problems with your projects, like lack of reagents or participants (depending on your field), lack of funding, and techs/senior students who view you as their personal slave to do their work for them.

      And I have ulcers now. And migraines. And those days where I find myself thinking “I have an MS, I can get a real job and quit living off crappy pay and 0 respect.” Grad school will not be a magic cure-all. You need to work on relaxing and stress relieving skills now as well as how to turn off work.

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  • MiMi January 5, 2012, 8:46 am

    Can you move up your grad school timetable? Whether you can or not, this job has a clear and known expiration date, so why are you driving yourself crazy over it? I’m not saying it isn’t shitty, but why are you making it shittier by winding yourself up over things that are unlikely to change? You’re there to earn and save money for a finite period of time. Every time someone gives you the evil eye, just say in your head, “Sucka, you have only 257 more days to look at me like you’re an idiot!” and continue your happy countdown to departure from the gulag..

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  • Clee January 5, 2012, 10:23 am

    I get this. So, so, so much do I get this. I quit a job I hated–cried almost everyday on the train ride home hated–a couple of years ago. It was my least favorite kind of work and in my least favorite industry. So I walked out one day and never looked back. Unfortunately I didn’t have another job lined up when I left, and I spent a good year scraping by doing things like selling plasma and cleaning houses. I had my ideals, sort of, but I was even more anxious than I was before.

    I think there are a number of things you can do to improve your situation. First, make your work day better any way you can. Try building little incentives into your day, like “If I finish this pile of reports by two, I’ll stop for five minutes and eat a piece of chocolate” or “I’ll answer three calls and then walk briskly down the hall for two minutes.” If you’re permitted, bring in a plant or pictures to dress up your workspace. Make your desktop’s wallpaper a picture that soothes you and makes you happy. Bring in a soft, pretty throw to dress up your office chair. Wear a dab of lavender oil on your wrists. Make the day the best you can.

    Second, make your life outside of work something you love. Try establishing a daily de-stressing ritual. Listen to your favorite music on your commute, say. Or, as you leave the office each day, visualize yourself taking all your worries from the day and piling them on your desk and then turning the light off and locking the door on them. Come home and work out for half an hour, take a shower, stretch, and then cook a tasty dinner. Get into yoga. Or, if you’re like me and way too hyper for yoga, kickboxing. Take care of yourself generally. Get sleep. Eat well. Take vitamins. Stay hydrated. Make your weekends awesome. Volunteer somewhere. Write a thank you note to all the people who have been kind to you in your life. Spend time with your friends and family. Get a new haircut. Go to church or temple. Whatever works for you.

    Don’t let people–dear Wendy readers or anyone else–make you feel guilty for hating your job. There are starving people who would joyfully eat a plateful of brussels sprouts. But that doesn’t make brussels sprouts something you want to eat every night for supper, right? You feel how you feel. People can jump in a lake.

    Finally, create an exit strategy. Seriously, this is so, so important. Make a list of all the jobs you’d consider. Make a list of all the steps you need to pursue them. Prioritize that list. Then schedule time each week to pursue a better job. And remember that so very, very many jobs are found through people you already know. Have a friend who works at a place that sounds not so bad and has a cappuccino machine in the breakroom? Swallow a little pride and ask her if they’re looking for temps.

    You can and will survive this. You’re going to be okay eventually, I swear. Good luck.

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    bittergaymark January 5, 2012, 1:39 pm

    Letters like this are why I said a while back that college was a fucking breeze. Welcome to the real world. I have horrible advice for you, I fear… In that I have simply said FUCK YOU to the handful of jobs that I’ve had like yours and somehow always landed on my feet just fine.

    But that was long, long ago. When this country had a viable economy and everybody wasn’t so hopelessly fucked.

    Hell, my last three jobs went belly up — through no fault of mine, I might add. (Just saying they were pretty big companies and I was but a tiny cog in the machine…) Anyway, now I can’t seem to get a decent job to save my life. Oh, everybody wants to work with me. Lately, everybody is dying for me to production design their silly movies — but suddenly nobody has any money. It’s all: “Oh, the actors are working for free…”

    My best advice is to just grin and bear this job you hate. Just keep cashing that check.

    I know it sucks, but hey, one great thing about being your age in this economy — is that, look, things can ONLY get better. For me and everybody my age, things started off great and abruptly went to shit… So now, a decade later, we are all bitter and over it. Honestly, it truly amazes me that more people in my generation’s rapidly sinking boat simply don’t kill themselves. Or maybe most of Generation X is — like me — simply too damn nice to do that to everybody in their lives… We won’t leave others wracked with guilt so we quietly exist just waiting to die naturally… Praying for quick cancer — or better yet — an aneurism.

    I dunno. Go on anti anxiety medicine and hope for the best. Again, this is why I said college was such a fucking breeze.

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  • WatersEdge January 5, 2012, 8:00 pm

    The things I do that help are 1) do fun things at night/on weekends, even if I’m tired. 2) leave work on time unless something is due the next day. 3) practice relaxed breathing every few hours to relieve stress.
    Ps- I think I know who this is!

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  • Not a Bankrobber January 7, 2012, 5:35 pm

    You’d be amazed at how easy it is to rob a bank.

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  • JT January 7, 2012, 6:09 pm

    Quit the rat race, get a vasectomy, apply for food stamps, medicaid, public housing, etc. Paint houses for cash. Have enough $ for weed, beer/vodka, & you’ll be happy.

    Whatever you do don’t get stuck with a mortgage, kids, & all that bullshit. You think you got stress now.

    Given the economy, this is the only option for most people. Pretty effing sad.

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  • RandomGuy January 7, 2012, 6:20 pm

    I’ve been in your shoes too, on more than one occasion. One thing I’d like to add that I haven’t seen in the other responses, at least not explicitly, is that it is possible to “quit your job without quitting your job”. You’ve already decided that your current job isn’t part of your long-term future, so in a way, you have quit already. You just continue to care enough about the job that it affects your mood. Stop caring, and I think you’ll soon discover that it won’t affect your work performance or standing with your bosses so much that your job is at risk. You’ll be much happier personally, though.

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  • Terry January 7, 2012, 6:34 pm

    I have read through all of the comments and am probably on the WAY OLD side of the people giving you advice. And I guess I fall somewhere in between the quit now and suck it up crowds.

    The one piece of advice that I would really like to re-emphasize, and it was touched on above, is to quit making your work = your life. The more that you can understand that it is great and wonderful to have a job that you love going to, and it is something to aspire to and work toward, your job is not ALL of who you are. When you let it be your definition, you are giving it too much power over you.

    I see so many young people who are so consumed by what they do for work that they never focus on the other things that can make life enjoyable. While you are looking for a better job, take advantage of the museums, the concerts, the volunteer opportunities that make a LIFE a LIFE. Paint if you like to paint. Build birdhouses if you like to build. Tie fishing flies if you like. It matters not what it is. A job does not a life make. It can help, and it’s always better to have work you like than work you don’t, but in the grand scheme of things even the BEST job shouldn’t be all there is.

    Even good jobs go belly up. Having other things that define who you are is a lifesaver.

    The answer to the question “What do you do?” needn’t solely be what your job is.

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  • Kim January 7, 2012, 6:38 pm

    If you are miserable in your job, take every spare moment to figure out what your strengths are, and what makes you absolutely sing when you are doing it. Once you’ve got that, buckle down and figure out how to get to that place from here. There is a way out, there is hope, you do not have to go through life hating your job. It will take some time and some real effort on your part, and you will have to decide whether or not your satisfaction with life is worth the work. Good luck!

    Some reading suggestions:
    Strengthsfinder 2.0
    48 Days to the Work you love by Dan Miller (www.48days.com)
    The website “I will teach you to be rich” by Ramit Sethi
    Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado

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  • toadold January 7, 2012, 7:11 pm

    I’ve known a couple of guys and girls who put up with bad jobs because they were involved in activities out side of their jobs that relived stress. One was a dedicated weight lifter, two others were into martial arts, Aikido and Karate, and one was into Pistol shooting competitions, IDPA and IPSEC. Their lives were outside their jobs and the jobs just fueled their hobbies while they looked and waited for better jobs. The employers liked them because they usually in better moods and obvious better health than most of the other employees. Your mileage may vary.

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  • erp January 7, 2012, 7:30 pm

    Life is what you make it. Was there any time in her life when she wasn’t miserable and unhappy? Probably not because like most of the entitlement generation, she thinks happiness come from outside her self. Here’s a clue, it doesn’t.

    Volunteer her free time to those in need and she’ll soon see that she’s really very well off in comparisan.

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  • been in the work world a long time January 7, 2012, 8:25 pm

    Dear Sick of the Office,

    So, I read this thread and the majority of the comments, starting with original email, are about Feelings.

    I’m going to give you some straight, bad news. But I’ll end with some good and hopeful encouragement as well, based on my nearly 45 years of work experience.

    Jobs exist because the work is of value to some organization for some reason. People get and stay hired in part because they have the necessary skills to do that work. Organizations and jobs can be crappy or good but in all cases that’s the bottom line for their existence. If you want to be employed, that is the environment you will need either to adjust to or to find an alternative to.

    You are quite free to become self-employed, or to seek another job or a different career or grad school. No one’s stopping you. Just keep in mind that it’s not my responsibility or your that of your boss to fulfill your passion or repay your school loans or otherwise enable you to be Fulfilled. It’s lovely if you can be, but that’s up to you, not to us.

    All the other advice: keep a list of things that you are grateful for in your life/job right now, figure out how to excel at the job if only in order to network and get references to what you truly want, etc. etc. is apropos. But it’s useless without you first taking responsibility for your life, accepting what is that can’t be changed (loan obligations, what is on your resume at the moment, what you chose to major in etc.) and setting clear goals for the near future (this day/week/month/year) as well as the vaguer future (grad school).

    Now the good news – and it IS good news. You are much more in charge of your life than you probably recognize and certainly than you are feeling. You choose every morning how you will view the day, your job, your life. Trite, but true and incredibly impactful when internalized as true. You have it within your power to wake up, write down your goals and what you will do that day to advance towards them. It may be that this day your primary contribution to those goals is to remain employed and to be seen by those around you as a positive contributor. That’s a good place to start – ESPECIALLY in a crappy job. I’ve been in those jobs, and I’ve had to supervise those jobs. The people who *choose* to make the best of such jobs were often surprised to find that I actively helped them move on to better jobs when I could.

    Best of luck to you. Keep in mind that ‘luck’ is to a fair degree what you make, not what comes to you from the outside.

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  • Cassandra January 7, 2012, 9:38 pm

    Suck it up till you get to grad school. Be effin’ glad you have a job, a roof, food on the table, no family to support, and presumably a growing amount of cash in the bank to pay for grad school. Other than that, grow up.

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  • Greg January 8, 2012, 7:40 am

    Anyone who says that comparing yourself with the less fortunate and saying “there but for the grace of god go I” doesn’t work is doing it wrong.

    The point of that exercise is not to look at yourself in the mirror and say “BE HAPPY DAMMIT!” The point is to get over yourself and figure out what’s really making you unhappy.

    Happiness is a choice, but that doesn’t mean it’s a light switch in your brain that releases endorphins. Choosing to be happy is hard work, especially since you’re likely to be surrounded by miserable people who don’t want you to be happy (because it makes them feel worse) and will turn a firehose of negativity on you. Don’t believe me? Count how many interactions you have in a given day that have at least one complaint embedded in them.

    As for feeling fulfilled at work, well unless you’re a person who is fulfilled by work then work isn’t supposed to fulfill you. It’s supposed to feed you. You’re in your 20s and you’re a woman, which means your guidance counselors and mentors fed you a pack of lies about what the world was like. They probably told you that if you just went to college, majored in any old thing, and graduated then you could be anything you wanted to be and be happy and fulfilled. That’s baloney, or succotash, or whatever food you choose to represent incredulity. Life fulfills you. If yours isn’t, then find out what will. But if you think that if only you had a different job then all this would go away, you’re fooling yourself. It’s an internet joke, but it’s true; The one common factor in all your dysfunctional relationships is you.

    That being said, if you absolutely must quit this job, then under no circumstances should you A) leave the job before you get a job somewhere else B) Tell anyone you work with that you’re looking.

    The reason for A is that HR departments use automated algorithms to screen resumes, and most of them just throw away any resume that indicates the submitter is currently unemployed. The rational is that anyone who is unemployed is rejectamente, and they’d rather hire someone that they know was wanted at their previous job. Fair? No, but when the real unemployment rate is somewhere between 15 and 20 percent, you have what is called a buyers’ market. And you’re a seller, so you don’t get to worry about fair.

    The reason for B is that it will hasten your departure from the job, thus putting you in the position described in A.

    You go ahead and shop around for new horizons. Just don’t be surprised if they don’t fulfill you at your new job either.

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  • Hobbitt von Tripp January 8, 2012, 8:44 am

    Thinking about the wrong things makes life a drag. Concentrate on the things you do not like about your job and you will hate it. Us apes are like that. Think about what makes you happy? Still wrong slant. Think about the things we are thankful for, express gratitude, and find in due time that things are looking better. Why? Dunnow, but it works. Do what works. Some of us aint happy lessen we be grouching. If like that, accept who is doing it.

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  • AFFA January 8, 2012, 12:47 pm

    I had a similar job once. From the outside it looked like a dream job, but it was extremely stressful, and a couple people at the company were unusually difficult to work with. I had similar physical symptoms, and it was one of the worst periods of my life.

    One advantage of the experience is that I’ve been pleased with every job I’ve had since then, even menial jobs. I just have to remember what that one employer was like and my current job-related complaints seem as small as they really are.

    I quit the job with no notice after one particularly bad day even though I had no immediate prospects. I’m not sure I’d offer the same advice in the present economy, but I definitely recommend spending as much free time as possible looking for another job or preparing to start your own business doing something you enjoy.

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  • Number Six January 8, 2012, 1:23 pm

    I’m in a similar situation except I’m twice your age. Please consider:
    – The economy might turn around in another year, after the next election. There might be more jobs then.
    – Grad School doesn’t guarantee a job but it does guarantee a lot more debt. And it’s debt you can’t get shed of with bankruptcy. Advanced degrees might get a lot cheaper after the Education Bubble is done bursting.
    – Don’t be in a hurry to quit the job. I’ve been there and done that. I’m considering doing it again. But I keep telling myself there is no reason to hurry.
    – It’s much easier to GET a job if you still have one. It’s much harder to GET another one after getting fired or quitting.
    – Some of your issues sound a lot like depression.
    – It may be Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) that will fade away come Spring or it may be a more general depression from finding out that life and work will never be as much fun as being a full time student.
    – Take advantage of the good health insurance to get a referral that can help you deal with the depression.
    – I have issues with chronic, mild depression and I’ve found some OTC supplements that help a lot.
    – I also use light therapy to help with the SAD. It wasn’t a problem when I had a desk near a window but the lack of sunlight really hurts after I got moved deep in the building interior. Fluorescent light is no substitute for sunlight.

    I actually liked this job for the first five years. It was sort of interesting, sometimes challenging and I had a great supervisor. Then she died from cancer. Two years ago we got a new department head who is all show and no substance. He’s insecure, mediocre at best and he’s constantly trying shift blame and manage appearances and control who says what to whom. He throws screaming tantrums that are among the most unprofessional things I’ve ever seen. He’s even cheated hourly employees out of overtime they’d earned. He can’t do any of the things we do, all he can do is run around bullying people until one of us solves the problems he can’t. I’ve considered filing grievance for hostile work environment and I’m collecting evidence, documenting the incidences. Some of our best people have quit and they weren’t shy about saying why they quit. Now he’s walking on thin ice and I look forward to seeing if he falls through.

    At this time, work is just the crap I do to make money. It pays the bills, nothing more. I’ll be professional, I’ll give them fair value for the money. But come 5 PM, my time is my own, not theirs. Find some tools to help manage the depression. And then spend your time outside of work with things you love: friends, family, pets, hobbies.

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  • been in the work world a long time January 8, 2012, 5:22 pm

    ” Choosing to be happy is hard work” No. It’s a habit that one develops with practice. Others are negative? So what – you can’t control that or the weather, for that matter. What does that have to do with YOUR choices?

    Take responsibility for what you can do and do it.

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  • John Fast January 9, 2012, 9:15 pm

    I recommend the book _How Would Confucius Ask For A Raise: Enlightened Answers to Tough Business Questions_ (available for $3 on Amazon, including Prime shipping). It even has one chapters specifically devoted to this very question.

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  • BeenThereDoneThat January 10, 2012, 9:38 pm

    It amazes me the number of people who just assume that you can move back home with your parents. It would be one thing to ask for them to allow you to move back to their home if you were unemployed due to a layoff but to impose on their privacy and right to a life because you don’t like your job is extremely selfish.

    Who pays your car expenses and medical insurance, cell phone bill, grooming expenses, clothing, etc. etc. etc. while you are unemployed and mooching off of mommy and daddy? Oh yeah, key word… mooching.

    We all have had to work at jobs that we didn’t like. You should start looking for something else that will allow you to continue to be the adult you are and to support yourself. In the meantime, continue to go to work everyday and try to find things in your life that are positive. Do some soul searching and seek to discover if there is anything you can do to make this job more tolerable.

    Take the focus off of yourself and see if you can do one thing every single day to help someone else. Could be something as simple as a smile.

    What would you do if you had a child and decided it was too stressful? Would you call your parents to bail you out? Think about being a grown up.

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  • Tortuga January 12, 2012, 5:12 pm

    Welcome to the world of work. There is no answer to your question. Sanity is not a benefit of today’s work environment. Good job, where you are appreciated and complimented for your contribution to the team, paid enough to show their acknowledgment of your work ethic and contribution to the bottom line, co-workers that are bffl that do not borrow money, eat your lunch from the refer, stab you in the back and/or use all their sick days so that more often than not you are doing 2 jobs for 1 pay.
    Not gonna happen except in lala land.
    Get used to it. Keep looking for that great job and if the next one you get is not unlike the one you currently hold, then one that pays you enough to totally enjoy each and every minute of each day and night off so as to dispel the stress, while you are looking for another job, to start the process all over, again.

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