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I Hate My Job!

Maybe the job is the prime candidate, particularly if overall circumstances have changed. As years go by, people grow older, slower, less able to handle the heavier physical load that was a breeze when they were younger and fitter. Those in more sedentary occupations are just as vulnerable to fatigue, a worse kind in a way because the aches and pains can't be cured with liniment or a back-brace. Then there's the cost of living - always on the rise. When the requirements of the job are causing health concerns, or the salary is no longer sufficient to pay the bills, switching to something more compatible and profitable is simply a matter of self-preservation. But quite often this isn't the case. By comparing the current detestable tasks and exhausting work-load with the pleasant and far easier ones of the past, it may have to be admitted that the job is pretty much the same as it always was. If it isn't necessarily the work that's different, what else is there?

Nearly everyone takes work home with them, not always in the form of a laptop or a briefcase full of papers. Frequently, it is simply a verbal report of memorable events prompted by a casual: "How was your day, dear?" The tone of the response will be tell-tale, and if the returning worker is in a bad mood, the one asking the question could find themselves the surrogate recipient of angst and complaints that should have been dealt with at work. Unfortunately, there is no bin outside the factory gate where bad vibes can be dropped off, but to dump them on the family is unfair and rarely the answer. Still, talking over problems with a partner may succeed in putting them in perspective. Being too closely involved makes objectivity difficult, whereas someone further removed tends to be more rational, certainly less emotional; but we should avoid subjecting them to an aggressive barrage as if they are to blame. Treating people we care for as whipping-posts will do little to relieve work-related stress, but will definitely add to it by straining essential personal relationships. Their encouragement and advice can be invaluable, as long as it is listened to. We should also remember that they too have a life and we are a part of it. So, if they are telling us something we don't really want to hear, we ought to think again; because they are only trying to hold the relationship together, the same one we seem determined to sabotage.

Also worth consideration are those cases where the home-wrecker really is the job. Often, the one doing it can't see beyond the basics it provides, or the damage it is inflicting on life in general. Police officers, fly-in-fly-out workers and others who keep long, irregular hours are classic examples. They are dedicated to their occupation and will continue to defend it passionately, sometimes obstinately, to the bitter end. When that day eventually arrives, as it probably will, they are likely to turn around only to discover the things they used to value have gone - friends, partners, families. Then the job had better be all they'll ever need, because they won't have much else left to derive comfort from!

Anyone coming to this conclusion, and wishing to do something about it, might feel inclined, there and then, to rush in and tell the boss where to get off; but it would be wise to look at the other side of the coin first and learn from it. If we seriously think about that - family, relationships, socialising and doing our own thing - it is rarely trouble-free, and a few problems do crop up from time to time. When they occur, most of us might feel like packing a bag and walking away, but we rarely do. Instead, we try to resolve them amicably in ways that allow us to repair, then preserve the status quo which we can continue to enjoy. Often this means compromise and trade-offs, accepting that we can't have everything our own way and have to make concessions. We do that because we value what we have and don't want to lose it. Presumably our job isn't as important, not if we are seriously contemplating chucking it in; at least, this may be how we regard it based on current attitude. The actual truth, unfortunately, can be hard to swallow. Despite the job seeming to make every day spent doing it thoroughly miserable, and we have a tendency to carry the aggravation home after work, without the financial security it provides, life beyond the workplace would be a lot less bearable. Business and pleasure may be unlikely partners, but we can't have one without the other. Maybe it's time to reassess priorities in this marriage of convenience.

So, what am I saying - quit the job you now hate? It may come to that; but remember the financial consequences and the fact that you will eventually have to find employment of some kind. That's never easy when you are already out of work. Think seriously about resigning, certainly, but go on the hunt for another job before handing in your notice. Prospective employers will always look more favourably on an applicant who has a job and is seeking to better themselves. Deciding to take this route will mean putting up with the hassles for a while longer, although this may not be quite as bad as it sounds. Once the choice to quit has been made, even though it won't be implemented immediately, you'll be happier in yourself, far less stressed and everyone will benefit. You could even discover that the job isn't as hateful as you made it out to be, this simply because your attitude towards it will inevitably change. By thinking about it, talking about it and checking out alternatives, all in a calm, rational way could prevent the knee-jerk reaction that might end in tragedy. And who knows, you may decide to stick with a job that is, in the main, pretty okay after all - as jobs go, that is.

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