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Feeling Trapped in a Job You Hate?

Updated: Oct 4, 2019

It takes me three hours every day to commute to and from work. It works better if you have an option of working flexible hours, where you can start after the traffic rush or before, and if you really like the job you do - which I do.

With this in mind, you really cannot afford to stay at a job you hate. I have never been one to stay if I wasn’t happy at a job, so I have worked a period of two years and moved on, it is exciting especially when you are young, you learn a lot about the different companies and you grow as well, and it is not really bad to explore other avenues. You hone your negotiation skills as well because you get to negotiate your salary over and over as well as polish on your interview skills and you meet new people all the time.

When I decided to stay longer at a company it was because it was closer to home and I was really happy there for the first four years. Since companies grow, so did this one. We moved to a new building and all branches moved together into this one big beautiful open plan building. The environment had changed as well from the normal casual one we were accustomed to, to a more formal and professional one, from having your own office to not having one and sharing space with 50 other people. One had to be courteous and considerate of colleagues, you would have to go outside to answer a personal call, for instance, because it would really be rude to be fighting with your ex over unpaid maintenance for all to hear or negotiating a loan payment plan with your bank.

I had a colleague in this amazing company whose mum worked in the Finance department and her sister in the HR department. Her 7 year old son was always in trouble at school. Her ex-boyfriend, the father of the 7 year old boy was unemployed and living with a new girlfriend so he was not able to help financially, but he picked up the boy twice a month on a Friday and brought him back dirty, late, and hungry, with missing socks or shoes. Her car was always giving her problems and her neighbours were mean and did not like her or her child. She loved Michael Jackson so much that she had a tattoo of him on her tummy and rear.

I sat for two years listening to all these in graphic detail, and in technicolour sometimes - every single day. She would call her mum in Finance and her sister in HR and as soon as she was done venting her frustrations to them, I was next in line. I cried so many nights working here in this amazing company with such great benefits, but where I truly hated to be. I was not productive at all, I couldn’t be, even if I tried. I have bought so many pillows in that time because I would have cried so much and because they won’t be as comfortable after a wash anyway so you have no choice but to throw them away. I am sure there were times when I forgot to bath and yet went to work to be miserable for eight hours.

One day I changed my mind, without warning I resigned with immediate effect. I did not want to spend another day in that environment, I didn’t have another job lined up, but I wanted to be free - and it was worth it. I stayed home for six months without a job before I felt ready to job-hunt again. I needed a palate cleanser between that job and a new one, I mean it, I needed that sorbet course they serve before, during or after the main course. When I was ready I registered with employment agencies and I was placed at a job very quickly.

So why do we stay really? I think it is for the same reason people stay in toxic relationships. Think about it, they stay because of fear; because to them the prospect of putting themselves out there so they can find the right person can be overwhelming, so, they hold onto the one they have now, no matter how bad they are. Another reason is very low-self-esteem, you know that you are not being treated well, but you stay because you begin to believe that you are unworthy and you lose confidence and many more reasons.

It is not healthy to stay in a job you hate because you keep telling yourself that it is secure, unless you are absolutely certain that you will be able to work here until you retire, but if you are not sure, you could be liable for retrenchment if things change in the company. You cannot be productive if you are demotivated, and hate what you do.

I encourage you to start imagining how much better your life could be in a healthier workplace. Start updating your CV and send it out to employment agencies, there are many everywhere, be discreet about it, you don’t want everyone to know about your job search project, except for those people that you would like to include as your referees of course. You deserve better, your health depends on it. Act now!

Thought: “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10