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I Hate My Job
Posted 05 August 2003 - 09:12 PM
I read the links to FastCompany Magazine-- there was a lot of really interesting stuff in there! Thanks, Haystack!-- and ranted and raved in my own personal journal ( a better place by far to get things off one's chest, for sure ).
I also wrote and validated my very first XHTML 1.0 Strict document, which was quite rewarding (I haven't made the CSS to go along with it, so it's entirely uninspired-looking, and the content is quite boring. But, it validates!). And, I made a very nice dinner out of almost nothing, which was greatly enjoyed by both of us and cost us no extra money as it was more or less a meal of found objects. Wow, art. I do have quite a nice life, I just don't post about it much because that's seldom what's on my mind when I'm preparing for a hard day at work. So, at the moment I have a little better perspective.
This is indeed a fine repository of good advice. ^.^ I am inspired. Qwerty, you are a veritable font of inspiration.
I'm finding this all quite difficult mostly because I'm so new to the Real Working World. I have no frame of reference, having never held a totally-full-time job before. (Worked 39 hours a week for months on end in retail, but it didn't "count".) So it's easy to get really defensive about whether it's you or your situation. Am I just not employable? Am I not "grown-up" enough to handle a difficult job?
I'm pretty sure that's not it-- it's really that the company is in such terrible shape. (Older, more experienced co-workers assure me that this is not normal, for jobs in general or even for this company.) So, when I have a little time to clear my head, I can be more confident in that knowledge.
These are definitely important things to consider. You can't just say, "I hate my job, so it must be that no job will be right for me, so I'd better either win the lottery or start my own company." You have to think about your particular weaknesses and why they make your particular job so miserable for you. You have to think about your strengths and whether they're being utilized, and how you could utilize them either for yourself or in any new situation. And you have to think about your skills, and how you can apply them to either the current or a new situation.
There are certain things I'm good at-- I can work long hours, I need relatively little supervision when a task is clear, and I have certain things I'm very good at, skill-wise. But other things, I'm not so good at-- I need long breaks after long hours, I do require clearly-defined tasks and must receive clear and fairly-frequent feedback to ensure I'm on the right track.
The job I have now isn't using many of my skills, isn't synching with my optimal hours, and ceertainly isn't giving me adequate feedback, as well as providing pretty much everything wrong in the things-I-need-to-motivate-me department. (As a side note, I used to tend to work about an hour extra every day. I received no praise, thanks, or even notice about this, and watched my supervisor work about an hour under the norm every day and receive the same treatment. So i gave up. I now work precisely to the clock because otherwise I'd go mad. If I had clearly defined tasks and deadlines, there'd be motivation to beat the deadlines and finish the tasks. But I don't. There's an infinite amount of mud to be shoveled and how much you shovel isn't counted. So why try hard to shovel more? Nobody at my company has been given a raise or a promotion in three years, and I'm the most junior employee. I'll shovel mud, but I won't shovel extra if it just doesn't matter.)
So, I haven't got much time right this moment (things will be better by the end of the month) but when I do have time I've been considering all these things and thinking about what to do. While I was unemployed I considered these things as well. I did develop new skillsets, I sought out much different jobs than what I'd thought I'd want, and yes, i applied to jobs that were well below me and didn't get them. I've been trying to think what I need in a job, what I can possibly accomplish in a job, and have decided that I'm going to start small. At the moment I don't have an hour to devote every day because I don't have a goal and I'll need more time than I have this week to come up with the goal-- and timeline to go with it.
I have reduced many expenses and I'm thinking I might write an article (i have a whole list, btw, of articles I'm going to write when I have time. They will be incorporated to the most awesomest website ever, which I'm working with a certain programmer on designing. It's well beyond the planning stages, but I need some more skills before I can really get going on it. The XHTML I did today was a big start, and the "This page is VALID XHTML 1.0 STRICT" message I got at the W3C was a HUGE confidence-booster!) on how to reduce expenses. (See how smart I am? I was able to figure out what I was talking about before I opened those parentheses. Wow. That's talent, folks.)
So, there are plans. I just need time when I'm not worrying about anything to work it all out. Time like that is hard to come by, but I remain confident I'll find it soon. And then all the wonderful suggestions here will be implemented, and you'll probably be the first to hear about it.
Posted 05 August 2003 - 10:27 PM
Posted 06 August 2003 - 12:11 AM
I think you are just low on motivation, sorry.
But I don't see how a young person like yourself could be so tired at the end of the day. Working on a computor?
I'm 43 years old work in the sun all day from 6am to 4pm and then sit at my putor untill 10 or 11 at night. Stop your wining about your job and do something about it. At 24 you should have more energy than any 3 people on this forum over 35.
Im sorry but all you do is whine, although I really like the way you write and I know you have a brain, put it to use!
Oh yeah, I run two miles before work with the dog too. Good thing I own the business so I can go in a couple minutes late every once in a while.
Posted 06 August 2003 - 05:50 AM
All the education in the world can't prepare you for working with different personality types and handling the pressures that come from full-time employment.
A couple of suggestions that may help with your current position...
If I had clearly defined tasks and deadlines, there'd be motivation to beat the deadlines and finish the tasks. But I don't. There's an infinite amount of mud to be shoveled and how much you shovel isn't counted. So why try hard to shovel more? Nobody at my company has been given a raise or a promotion in three years, and I'm the most junior employee. I'll shovel mud, but I won't shovel extra if it just doesn't matter.)
In a small company like you've described in the past there are rarely defined tasks. I know... I've worked for three of them in my time. There aren't enough funds to hire a person for every task. And - like it or not - being the "most junior employee" puts you in the "I report to everybody" category.
What do you do? I've found that talking with my past bosses helped. In a constructive and friendly way, explain the triangle you get caught in quite often. He says do it this way and she says not to... and both he and she outrank you. You're stuck... what does the company want you to do?
As for the deadlines? If they won't give them to you, set your own. When you talk with everyone (and it would be best to have all the managers you report to in on this meeting at one time) tell them that defined deadlines would help you work smarter and faster. No good manager would ignore that.
What NOT to do? Don't get bogged down in this. It may be too late from what you've written. Don't do the "I'll shovel mud just to get through the day" thingee. You're better than that! The attitude you have now will most likely set the tone for the rest of your career. You don't want to be known - everywhere you go - as the lady with a chip on her shoulder.
If you can't change them, change yourself.
Posted 06 August 2003 - 06:52 AM
I'm sure your life is very hard, MarketSeeker, and I'm unworthy to even post on the same board. We're in different leagues. I humbly apologize. If it troubles you, don't read my posts.
It is very draining to work without recognition of any kind. I do work harder than the "shoveling mud" mentality, but I'm having a great deal of difficulty in maintaining motivation. i researched CSS on my own time so I could make bulleted lists appear properly formatted; the supervisor who asked for that had no idea how long it would take me, and the boss yelled at me not to spend any more time on it. So, I worked on it after work, and gave them both what they wanted. Of course nobody recognized how difficult it was. I understand that's how things are. But it makes me not really want to take on anything else. I'm not going to go back and make sure the pages is WAI accessible because I'd have to do it on my own time because there isn't time in the work day for something that the boss doesn't really care about, even if it would be a good idea.
I'm not seeing much point in pouring so much of myself into a job that doesn't appreciate it. I'm not giving them sub-par work, I'm just not giving them all I'm capable of either. I'm saving that for myself because in the long run that looks like a better idea.
Posted 06 August 2003 - 07:50 AM
I dont think Dragon is ready to change. She may want a change, but is not ready to take on the responsibility of making it happen.
Dragon is still blaming others for the ills of the world. Until she realizes that changes come from within, her life will remain the same.
Dragon, maybe this is what you really want? Maybe you are most comfortable when you have something to complain about. Who knows.
You have 2 choices. Either you want to make things better or not.
If not, stop complaining!
Sorry to be so mean!, but I am the "boss"!
Posted 06 August 2003 - 07:57 AM
This is her first full-time job, at a time when people have a lot less options than they have had for a decade or so. It can be very scary and disheartening to find yourself in a bad situation when everything you see around you tells you that you're lucky to have anything, especially when you've got nothing to compare it to.
When I was fresh out of school, in my first real job (which I despised), I didn't do any of the proactive things she's doing -- learning new skills, planning a business, etc. She's clearly off to a better start than I was.
Posted 06 August 2003 - 08:07 AM
You are right, people have a lot more options now available.
When I was in college, I wrote all my papers using a word processor.
We didnt have the NET at our disposal. Now, folks can research all sorts of different stuff.
Posted 06 August 2003 - 08:10 AM
It takes a little assessment. You have to be honest with yourself. You also have to learn some behavioral styles in order to survive. Dragon, your boss sounds like he might be very "D" in the DISC profile. D = dominance.
They love personal challenges and their biggest fear is being taken advantage of. They have a need to control others, they have high egos and are very task-oriented. They also tend to be very impatient.
How to communicate/survive around them?
Be direct, brief and to the point.
Focus on the task. Stick to business.
Take a results-oriented approach... i.e., if we do it this way, you'll get ___ result.
Indentify opportunities or challenges.
Provide win/win solutions.
Use a logical approach - drop all fluff.
Take it to the bottom line - again, drop all fluff.
Do NOT overuse data or reasons or excuses.
Do not touch. Keep your distance when communicating.
Their key emotion when stressed is anger.
If this is the case, he doesn't want to give you direction on every little task. He wants you to take the initiative and go out on your own. He's not going to want to hold your hand. Don't confuse "control" with "babysitting."
If I'm right about the high dominance factor, he'll want to tell you what needs to be done then have you come back with "here's how we do it. A, B, C... end result." He'll probably just say, "fine" but that's all the approval you need.
To be honest, he may not notice your hard work... ever. Dominance types move too fast and are too self-centered to pay attention to anybody else. What he will notice is if you aren't doing what he expects. Will he tell you? Most likely not.
That's life in the big city.
Posted 06 August 2003 - 08:20 AM
Fortunately, I was in a situation where I could go indefinitely without an income. I was lucky. My wife has a good job, and we also earn income from rental property.
Becoming an independent consultant has dramatically improved our quality of life. I work fewer hours, so I can handle all the household essentials, like taxi service for the kid, managing the contractors who are fixing our old house, doing the shopping, etc. Our evenings and weekends are free. (Okay, I do work some evenings and weekends, but it's largely that it's convenient to do so, not essential.)
But the greatest gift of all is the improved relationship with my "employers." It's a dramatic improvement to the business relationship. A consultant who is being paid for their expertise is taken much more seriously than an employee. Moreover, I can fire a client who wants to engage in death-wish marketing. It's wonderful to be able to tell a client, "I can tell you that this isn't going to work. If you insist on doing it, you'll need to find someone else to do it, because I don't wish to be involved in projects that I know are doomed to failure."
Posted 06 August 2003 - 08:28 AM
Sorry, all. This was a long post on management in a thread about management. It was deemed off-topic there, and was moved here. But it has nothing to do with this thread. So, I've removed its contents. I'll try to keep my posts shorter and to the point; people had seemed to be enjoying them but apparently there were complaints.
Edited by dragonlady7, 07 August 2003 - 06:36 AM.
Posted 06 August 2003 - 08:52 AM
He is actually quite disturbingly fond of physical contact. He stands far too close to me and touches me far too often for my own comfort, so I've erected a makeshift "barrier"-- just in the way I arrange my desk-- to keep him a little bit farther away.
He also really enjoys micromanaging. It calms him. I think that's because he's, well, unbalanced-- he's under a lot of stress in the long term, and it calms him down to, say, reorganize the icons on his employees' desktops. One night after work he went around to everyone's computer and reset their wallpaper to plain white because he was afraid of screen burnout. (White *causes* burnout, if you're going to get it at all with a modern monitor-- unlikely.)
I've been vocal in my complaints lately because he's been on top of me all day with this project, which is a pet project for him and he wants minute control over every aspect. Tiring!
It's not that I don't respect my boss. He works hard and has been in business for 26 years now. I just don't like him as a person and find that many of his actions are destructive to the company because he's too focused on his own ideas to understand what's actually to the company's benefit. I truly believe he needs a sabbatical, and some sessions with a psychologist or psychiatrist to get some of the problems he's having under control, and I think he's hurting himself and the company (and me) at the moment.
In more serene moments I am thankful to have a job at all, that doesn't involve dealing with drunks or counting change like my last one. I have *many* friends who are still unemployed-- including a chemical engineer with a spotless internship record and extremely high GPA-- and don't relish my prospects as an English major with only six months' work experience in any kind of relevant field. I'm not leaving this job until I have another one to go to, and I'm thinking it's far more likely to be a positive switch if it's a business I've built myself. To that end I'm trying to use my spare time (ha!) to learn new skills and implement the (still sketchy) plan I have. Which was the original subject of the whole thread, which I still think we're on topic about to some extent.
It comes down to your strengths, your skills, and your weaknesses, and I honestly do think that my own strengths and skills would be best served (and my weaknesses minimized) by freelance work. But that's my own self-analysis. I need more skills first, and I need to build up a number of resources. I need a net before I jump! One can much more easily endure misery if there's an end in sight.
Posted 06 August 2003 - 09:25 AM
If that's your style, you're not a boss who gets the best from his people.
I dont think Dragon is ready to change.
[blah, blah...]Sorry to be so mean!, but I am the "boss"!
The best managers coach - they see the positive in their people and provide constructive help for their professional development. Dragonlady is an educated woman, she gets up and goes to work everyday, she does her job. She has the discipline to do her work although the environment is stressful to her. She also is able to articulate some of her own limitations. These are all good qualities. A good manager could make the most of them.
Posted 06 August 2003 - 09:57 AM
I love the raspberry smilie! I didn't see that one in my extensive smilie-perusing.
Posted 06 August 2003 - 09:58 AM
Do something, or don't. It's really that simple.