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Hard Work

by Douglas E. Welch

November 5, 1999

© 1999, Douglas E. Welch

Many of you are familiar with the following scenario. You spend hours of each day coddling, coercing and cajoling your boss in a mad effort to keep your job. You are afraid to think for yourself let alone take any sort of initiative. Despite the horror of such a situation many people work very hard at keeping a job that they despise.

Comfort zone

The act of finding and winning a job can be very stressful. None of us really like sending out resumes that are ignored or going on the seemingly endless round of interviews. When we actually get a job offer it might seem like a deliverance from the trials of job hunting. Unfortunately, even the best job can go astray. Changes in management can change more than just your boss. Belt-tightening and layoffs can leave you wondering if you will have a job tomorrow.

" Don't let yourself be trapped in a job that takes such a toll on you. "

Even with all this, though, you might still be reluctant to leave the job. No matter how intolerable the current situation you still might think it is better than looking for another job. Let me be the first to tell you that it is not worth it. How comfortable can you really be when you dread going to work every day? I have known people who were suffering through jobs that approach workplace abuse and still they continue working for these companies. They will often complain about their plight, but, for whatever reason, they aren't able to convince themselves to leave.

It gets worse

As if this wasn't bad enough, jobs such as these continue to take a larger toll every day. If you are constantly worried about keeping your job how can you hope to do that job well? If you are spending more time assuaging your bosses' ego when do you have time to do your job? In fact, the realities of the job almost assure your failure. The only way out of this situation is to realize your position and change it or wait until you are fired. You are much better leaving under your own terms.

Getting out

The trouble with a job such as this is that your own self-esteem is constantly under fire. The longer you stay, the harder it will be for you to leave. The first step is to find an outlet for your energies that give you something of which you can be proud. This might be volunteer work, mentoring or writing; anything that makes you feel as if you are making a contribution. You will find that each step in this direction will start to make your current job look worse and worse. Your dissatisfaction will grow and before you know it you will be looking for a new job with a vengeance.

I have found that nothing reinforces your self-worth than taking interviews with possible new employers. While your advice and energy may be discounted at your current job, interviewers want to hear about you and what you have accomplished. Interviews force you to remember the good work you have done. Too often we forget how much we have accomplished when we are faced with trouble at work day after day. The mere act of telling your stories will give you more energy to continue your search.

What have you done for me lately?

The most important issue to avoid is that of "office amnesia." Too often in high tech careers you are faced with bosses, clients and users who can't remember your work beyond the last service call or programming project. We can't allow this odd effect to reflect in your feelings about your work. You need to understand the good work you have done in the past cannot be diminished by the fact that others may not remember it. If you are in a situation such as this you need to make the effort to remind yourself of the good work you have done. Use whatever methods you need, notes, scrapbooks, journals, etc. to remind yourself of what you have accomplished. This can even help avoid finding yourself in a position like the one you are trying to leave. Someone who understands their own self worth avoids jobs that seek to diminish their contributions.

Don't let yourself be trapped in a job that takes such a toll on you. We all have the ability to work at many different companies in many different jobs. When we start thinking that the current job is the only one available we do a great disservice to ourselves. Thinking such as this is a clear indication that you need to look for a new job as soon as possible.

Douglas E. Welch is a freelance writer and computer consultant in Van Nuys, California. Readers can discuss career issues with other readers by joining the Career Opportunities Discussion on Douglas' web page at:

He can reached via email at

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