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Ask The Good Enough Guy: My Job Is KILLING Me!

Will,

I always get a laugh out of reading your stuff, and I’ve really needed it lately. Will, I absolutely HATE my job. I make good money and I shouldn’t complain, but I just can’t take much more. I hate my boss, the people I work with, the work itself, the building I’m in. Everyday feels like I’m dying inside. When I leave, the worry comes with me, and even on Friday, my weekend is ruined knowing that I have to come back on Monday. My wife and son both think I should quit, but we really need the benefits and the money I make. I’ve been in this job for more than 20 years. I have 16 more before I can retire, but I don’t feel like I can do it for 16 more DAYS. My friends all say I’d be crazy to quit. I don’t know how to do anything else except what I’m doing. What should I do?  What would you do?

-Dan

Cleveland OH

 

Hey Dan,

The first thing I wish I could do is to buy you cold one. Not that drinking will solve your problem, but I wish I could buy a beer for every man and woman in America who drags their butt to work every day to put food on the table for their family. There’s honor in that, whether you sit in The Oval Office or pass French fries through a drive-up window. So, if no one else has said it in a while, “Thank you for doing your job.” Now, I can’t tell you exactly what to do, but I can give you some food for thought to chew on while you figure it out for yourself. Here’s what I think:

THINK YOUR WAY FREE. You know what they call three nasty meals, a hard bed, and a door that you can’t open when you want to? They call that “jail.” You know what they call three nasty meals, a hard bed, and a door that you can open and leave whenever you get ready? They call that “my mom’s house.” The only real difference, aside from prison having better food, is the ability to open that door. Maybe, part of what makes you so miserable is feeling like you can’t leave because you can’t do anything else. If you could go do any other job, what would you do? If you could start your own business, what would it be? Sure, you dream of dropping your pants, mooning your boss, and doing a funky in-zone dance on your way out the door, but where does your dream take you from there?

INVEST IN OPTIONS.  In six years if you do nothing, you’ll either be sitting in that same office or you’ll be worm food. But if you’re willing to put in some really hard work and a lot of late nights, in that same six years, you could be Dr. Dan. In less than four, you might be Dan: attorney at law. In less than two, you could be trained in any one of a hundred thousand other jobs. In less than a year, you might be able to get a small business loan, buy a van, and drive around selling ice cream and smoking glaucoma medicine. The choices are endless, but to do any of these things, you have to be willing to invest the time and energy that it will take to make the change. You won’t be able to quit your job tomorrow, but depending on the path you pick for yourself, you WILL be able to quit eventualLY,  and just knowing that you’re working toward a better life can give you an attitude adjustment and make your job seem less permanent and therefore more tolerable. Who knows; you may even decide your job isn’t all that bad and stay where you are. (HA! Yeah, I’m just joking. Your job sucks.)

JUST COMPLAINING WON’T HELP. My dad used to say, “Whenever you have a problem, you really have two choices; either shut the hell up and fix it, or just shut the hell up.” That man could have been psychiatrist. See, what my dad knew was that complaining not only won’t make it better; it can actually make it worse. If you start every day expecting crap, then crap is all you’ll see. You’ll spend your rainy days sulking and you’ll spend your sunny days waiting for rain. So, decide for yourself, right now, that you want a better job, decide what you’re prepared to do about it, and then START DOING IT. Start taking classes. Rework your resume. Go on a job interview. Talk to people who do the jobs that you think you might like. Just start doing something. I’m not telling you that it will be quick or easy. I’m not saying that there won’t be any more bad days. What I’m saying is, don’t sit in a burning house and cry because it’s on fire. Find a door, a window, or a thin wall, and break out of there.

The road might be hard, but if things are as bad as they sound, then your choice should be easy. I’m praying for you and the MILLIONS of other folks out there that are in the same boat. Keep your head up.

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Will Jones

William Jones is originally from the tiny town of Alton, Illinois, and now lives in the tinier town of Reisterstown, Maryland. He is a happy husband and a proud father of three, and writes as a hobby, in those few moments he finds between husbanding and daddy-ing. Follow him on Twitter @goodenoughguy1.

9 Comments

  1. Lashell

    June 16, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Thanks for the encouragement, too. It takes a real move of faith to transition from working at a job to investing in my dream. I’m tired of working two jobs (been 10 yrs in fact)…living paycheck to paycheck…BARELY making it with no kids! What you wrote, Will, really encouraged me today because I was in one of those faithless ruts.

  2. Will Jones

    June 16, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Lashell- I agree 100%. It is a move of faith. Oprah has what she called “aha momments,” where something finally dawns on you, but for most folks, even after that, when we know we’re not where we should be, that’s still not enough to make us leave. My personal opinion is that you have to get to another place. I call it the “screw-it momment” (the word I actually use starts with an “F”, but let’s keep this PG for this site.) That’s the momment when, for what ever reason, you’re finally uncomfortable enough to to make the your move. When you can’t take one more day, when you realize that you either have to change or give up, when your standing at the edge, staring into the water and you know it’s now or never… whether you’re at the edge of a swimming pool or on the railing of a sinking ship… just before we jump… we all think, “SCREW-IT!!!” LOL

  3. m.e. johnson

    June 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Excellent words, Will. And when you start working toward something you really want, be it a leather coat, whatever is your heart’s desire, it doesn’t seem like work at all (until you look back).

    Dan, did you always feel this way? If not, when did it start? Why? I have to say, I don’t think I would voluntarily stay in such a situation for 20 long years or even 10. As the song says: “I’d rather drink muddy water, sleep in a hollow log.” But that’s just me.
    I wish you a happy solution… soon.

  4. Will Jones

    June 18, 2012 at 8:06 am

    M.E.- Thank you for the compliment. I agree about chasing your heart’s desire; you don’t notice yourself stumbling over the hurdles if you’re concentrating on your goal. I’m betting Dan fell into the trap of letting things get worse and worse and not doing anything about it. I played that game myself, making excuses for why I had to stay in a job I didn’t like. Luckily, I realized that the reason I was staying was just fear of the unknown. Finally I said “screw it” and I quit. I’m happier today than I EVER was there, and my only regret is that I didn’t quit sooner.

  5. Rene Syler

    June 18, 2012 at 8:15 am

    @Will: This was GREAT advice! I remember years ago, back when I was in TV and back when TV used videotape, I worked in some pretty bad shops. As a weekend anchor I would PRAY that one of the 4 shows would be clean about to get a resume tape out of. But as horrible as things were (and they weren’t THAT bad..looking back on it now) I always felt better when I was planning or taking some step toward the future. Whether that meant editing (bad) videotape, sprucing up my resume, making calls, going to professional meetings, it all made me feel as if I were more in charge of my destiny, rather than being batted about by the waves of life. I know how Dan feels; I also think he’ll fell better if he makes a plan and takes incremental steps toward making it happen.
    Awesome advice Will!

  6. Josette Chambers

    June 18, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Awesome advice and comments! I’m one of those folk who’s used my skills, experience to help everybody else realize their dream while backburnering my own. Not that I mind. A friend I met when she first started lawyering called last week to announce her taking on a general counsel position with Cox Broadcasting. She credited me with helping her step beyond her imaginary limitations and “think huge.” I smiled and cried at once. See, when it comes to ME, I stay “practical.” I believe in the Higher Power, tho, and Joi’s phone call had me calling on Him. He answered by shaping coincidence. I’m kindasorta bedridden with a shattered foot so I’ve no choice but to watch TV. Seems every show on was about risk-taking, branding, destiny-designing and the like. I followed up on a dream. Funny how all of the elements (contacts, my part finished and ready-to-go) were already in place! Well, I got my own call…my dream wasn’t so far-fetched after all; the person who can make it happen is as excited as am I. Preparation meets opportunity; yep, that’s a factor for sure, for as each of you has said in your various ways, it will work out so long as you take steps toward your destiny, however, small even while whining about your current situation. Ya’ll are spot on…thank you!!!

  7. Whitney Eiland

    June 18, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Great advice, I believe if you work towards something that you will enjoy, it will make it easier to go to that job you hate because you can see that light and imagine yourself doing what you love or at least like.

  8. Will Jones

    June 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Rene- Thank you! A good friend of mine use to say “either you’re growing or you’re dying… aint no in-between.” I didn’t really understand that until I got stuck in a dead in-job and started feeling it. There’s no other way to describe it: it felt like my dreams were slowly dying inside of me. But then, any little thing I did, whether it was taking a workshop, finishing my degree, or writing for some wonderwoman-esque blogger who was building her own GEMpire… every step, even the tiny ones, made me feel like I was growing again. (BTW I can’t thank that woman enough for making room for me on her path.)

    Jossette- How did you break your foot?! Have I been out of the loop for that long? You words are encouraging as always and I love the idea of a higher power that is capable of “shaping coincidence”. I’ve no doubt you end up exactly where you want to be, and that’s a story I can’t wait to read! Thank you for so much commenting… and take it easy on that foot!

    Whitney- You’re spot on! Anything we do that moves us forward gives us options, and sometimes just creating the option to move makes our situation seem better. As I said, you’re not locked up if you know that you have the ability to leave when you want.

  9. Will Jones

    June 21, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Sorry about all the typos and bad grammer in my last comment. Blame it on the beer! 🙂

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