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I Hate My Job


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#31 qwerty

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 10:06 AM

Complaining accomplishes nothing.

Complaining can accomplish a few things. Complaining here has gotten DL7 (sorry for the abbreviation... and sorry for wasting time apologizing for the abbreviation when it would have taken less time to just type out Dragonlady7 :applause: ) a lot of advice. Complaining to her boss (if done in just the right way, preferably after some serious studying of psychology) might just accomplish something.

She needs to find her own way of getting what she can out of this job instead of allowing it to continue to drive her down, and she's got plenty to think about.

#32 Ron Carnell

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 10:57 AM

To paraphrase Will Rogers, "I never met a job I didn't like."

That's likely more relevant than many realize. When Rogers made his now famous statement, he was referencing Leon Trotsky, the second-in-command to Lenin and someone generally thought to be not a very nice man. "I bet you if I had met him [Trotsky] and had a chat with him," said Rogers, "I would have found him a very interesting and human fellow, for I never yet met a man that I didn't like." (Saturday Evening Post, 1926)

Roger's point, of course, was that every human being has something in them which we can find to like. We just have to be willing to look. I think that's equally true of jobs.

Sometimes, I'll admit, we have to look pretty hard.

I dropped out of high school in 1967 when an opportunity arose to get into the local construction union. I had to lie about my age, and it was just a general laborer position, but the $3.73 an hour I made seemed like a fortune to me back then. I worked mostly with the masons, mixing mud (mortar) and hauling bricks or cinder blocks, and very quickly discovered I was going to earn every single penny I took home. It was truly back-breaking labor, whether it was during an abysmally hot and humid summer or a Michigan winter with winds off the Lake that would give a polar bear reason to pause. But I learned the value of sweat, the importance of pride, and the immense satisfaction of building something that would endure. Six years ago, when I moved back to Michigan, I drove by a three-story home where myself and two bricklayers had worked for two months. And I realized that every single red brick that surrounded the family now living there had, at one time, passed through my hands. My stint in construction lasted less than a year, just until my eighteenth birthday, but all the good things I found in the job far outweighed the bad ones.

My next job was much the same, only worse. I was still very much low man on the totem pole, the work was even more physically exhausting, but this time the pay was almost nonexistent. And, uh, people shot at me? The Marine Corps offered me the most degrading and demanding job of my life, but it also taught me the need for preparation and training, the value of camaraderie, and ultimately gave me my first taste of responsibility for the welfare of others. Never before or since have I hated a job more or appreciated a lesson as much.

Back to Michigan, a quick GED to replace that missing high school diploma, then two years as a Commercial Art student in our local community college. During the second year, myself and a friend opened a photography studio in a strip mall, a dream job that quickly devolved into a nightmare. Commercially, it was successful. We shot two or three weddings a week most weeks, and donated "free" 8 by 10's as call-in prizes on the local radio station, knowing almost everyone would buy additional prints if we managed to make them look good. It was decent money, great hours, and almost killed my love of photography. I discovered there was a lot more Commercial in Commercial Art than there was Art. When I graduated with my Associates degree, I sold my half of the business to my partner, moved a few hundred miles away, and changed the major in my new four-year University to Business. Thanks to that job, I was little bit richer and a whole lot wiser.

Took a job as a fry cook next. Six months later they made me a store manager. In retrospect, the sixty-hour work weeks cut into my education badly, but I considered it a real-world adjunct to the business courses I was taking. I ended up staying in food service even after graduation, for over seven years, working for five different companies. After moving back to California,, I ran a restaurant in downtown LA, where we were robbed at least every other month, my car was broken into if I left it on the street, and once a homeless man had his throat cut while sitting on our back stoop. For eight months, I worked on Harbor Blvd. in Anaheim, directly across from the Disneyland entrance, in what was at the time the busiest restaurant in the world (the Denny's across from Disney World in Orlando now holds that honor). I gravitated into training, and ended as Director of Operations for a nine-unit chain in San Diego.

Managing restaurants wasn't an easy job. The politics were always rampant, the hours were always long, and as I grew older, it seemed as if all the employees just kept getting younger and more irresponsible. Gratification, where it was to be found, was often very long term, the result of taking someone still in high school, grooming them for a few years, and eventually handing them the keys to their own store. That industry taught me that people, what we can give to them, what we can find in them, is the only real resource with any meaning.

Somewhere in the midst of my restaurant career, I returned to writing. It became the creative outlet I had lost when I moved away from my art interests, the spice that made my more mundane business life palatable. A trade magazine called Training. The regional Michigan Motor News. Had a piece published in Parent's Magazine in 1976. In 1980, after retyping the same article for the third or fourth time, I decided it was high time to invest in one of these new-fangled word processing computers. This was before the IBM PC made its debut, so I ended up buying a Commodore 64. I still remember bringing it home, hooking it up to a black and white TV, and then starting to enter my article. About two lines into the article, the little bugger popped up and told me I had "Syntax Error." Took me almost two days to figure out I needed software to go with the computer. :P

Being na´ve, I decided to write my own. Couldn't be that hard, right? My first attempt at a word processor was written in interpreted Basic. I can hit about 120 wpm when I get going, and Basic could handle (at best) about 20 wpm. Not exactly a match made in heaven. So I taught myself 6502 machine language, wrote a fairly viable word processor, and used it over the course of the next two years to publish over thirty articles on, what else, the Commodore 64.

In 1982, completely hooked to the point of dreaming in 6502 assembler, I made a rather dramatic move, quitting my high-level management job in food service to once again return to school. That was a hard transition to make. A bit over a year later, I entered the computer industry as an entry-level programmer. That was a REALLY hard transition to make. I was 33 years old, making about twenty percent what I had made a year earlier, and even the 19-year-old receptionist was giving me orders. But I honestly didn't care, because I very quickly realized that everything I thought I knew, from the 8-bit computers I taught myself, to the Hollerith cards they were still teaching in college, was all completely useless. I was in the office before the sun rose and usually still in the office when the sun set. Three months into the job, I was sent to a client's site to load a tape. While I was there I fixed three or four other minor problems he had, his appreciation got back to the owner of my company, and I found myself in the field at least a few times a week. Three months after that, I was leading my own project team. Two years later, I was head of IT for a large insurance agency, rewriting all their applications from scratch. When one of the principals at the agency left and formed his own agency, he became my first client. A second client, recommended by the first, became a business. Twelve years later, in 1997, I sold the business and retired.

At no time in my life have I ever had a "great job." Construction was metaphorically a killer, and the Marines could easily have been literally a killer. My own photography studio was a dream that led only to disillusionment. Every single job I had in the restaurant industry was simultaneously boring and stressful. My return to school cost me a marriage and my life-savings, only to lead to a job where I was chronologically ten years older than anyone else and technologically five years behind them. Even my own software house was less than ideal, as I quickly found myself spending much more time "making deals" than writing the code to create something new and useful.

I've had really, really bad bosses. I've probably been that bad boss, too. I've very often felt I was over my head, with no clear direction, drowning in a technological ocean where what I knew was always, inevitably, yesterday's news. I've had to work double- and even triple-shifts because others were irresponsible. I've experienced stress levels that actually made me ill. I've been afraid for my own physical safety. Every job I ever had sucked.

But I never met one I didn't like.

In the end, I think personal satisfaction can never be realized externally. That's true not just in the job market, but in any kind of person-to-person relationship. Whether you need praise from your boss or a certain kind of love from your lover, child, or family member, sooner or later you are going to have a problem when you can't get what you think you need. Satisfaction, if you are ever going to have any control over it, must come from within yourself. That means taking pride in what you do, even if all you do is lug bricks from the bottom of the scaffold to the top of the scaffold. It means going the extra mile, working the extra hours, not because someone else is ever going to say thanks, but because it's the only way to become better at what you do. It means reaching for the next rung on the ladder, not because the pay is better or the perks more appealing, but just because the view from up there is one you haven't seen yet. Satisfaction can't be something someone gives us for what we do. It has to be something we generate ourselves, for ourselves, from doing what we do.

'Least wise, that's what I think. :)

Epilog (like this post isn't already long enough):

In late 1998, a little bored with retirement, I put up a small web site as a subdirectory off a domain I was using to teach at a local community college. It was just thirty or so poems I had written, and it's only purpose was to see if I could figure out this thing I had read about called SEO. Almost as an after-thought, I added a form and invited others to send me their poems to post with mine. Ironically, I hadn't yet heard of viral marketing.

Two months later, with a few hundred uniques a day, I moved it to its own domain. A year and one month later, the site broke one million uniques a month, and a year after that it broke two million (both records were hit in February, a really good month for poetry sites). I developed a friendship with several talented writers, and started a forum, which eventually led to 1.5 million posts being accumulated. We put together a newsletter, written by the community and eventually hosted at its own domain. Another poetry site was the result of wanting to highlight the 100 most popular poems at the main site every month. Using my own free-lancing experience, I've encouraged our writers to submit their work and many have now been published in magazines and journals, with about six of our most talented people being invited into well known anthologies, including the Chicken Soup series. We've published two of our own books in the past two years, with a third 387-page manuscript currently sitting at the printers. I've never worked harder in my life than since I retired. With the expectations that have been raised, and literally several thousand people depending on me not to make too many mistakes, I've never faced quite so much stress. And, most certainly, I've never made so very little money from my efforts. This job, like every other I've had in my life, totally sucks.

And, of course, I'm loving every blessed moment of it. :)

Edited by Ron Carnell, 06 August 2003 - 11:02 AM.


#33 dragonlady7

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 11:17 AM

Excellent post, Ron Carnell! Thanks for sharing that. It helps me a lot to get more perspective on these things. (That's what complaining gets me-- other people answer with their stories and I can figure out if I'm crazy or not. Usually, I am. :P) :) That's quite a work history. Bet your resume's a doozy.

#34 stoli

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 12:16 PM

This thread is interesting in the fact that it parrallels typical office politics in a real world scenario.

You have an employee who is has issues with job/coworkers. I am sure in Dragons job that there are people who commiserate with her struggle. There are probably others who don't.

The same goes for this forum in response to Dragons issues. Some support her while others don't agree.


Not to say any view is wrong or right. Opinions differ but it is hard to get a firm grasp because only Dragon has a true insight into her own situation.

#35 deborah2002

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 12:25 PM

Ron, that has to be the most wonderful, inspiring (and very well written post) I have seen. Seeing the glass as half full as opposed to half empty certainly works for you...and you have a great point---all jobs suck but you shouldn't lose sight of the intrinsic value of doing a job well. That alone is a huge accomplishment.


Oddly, Ron, this post has made my day. Thank you for that. :P


deb

#36 dragonlady7

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 12:32 PM

I most certainly didn't mean to make any of this about me. I had rather expected others to respond with their own stories and how they were coping and indeed, that happened to an extent-- mostly good stories, of people making the best of their situations, which I'm trying to take as positive examples to inspire me in my struggle to quit whining and go do something, which is what I was looking for in this thread anyway despite my babbling.
I'm not trying to make a crazy semi-offtopic saga-discussion about me! I don't really want to talk about me anymore-- don't you all agree I've done that enough? :)
So if we could discuss someone else, I'd be happy. Really! Your insights have been invaluable, Stoli, and have given us a good alternate viewpoint of the situation. But what's *your* situation? Did you hate your job and embark upon a program of self-improvement that led to your current success? I'd love to hear it. :P

#37 deborah2002

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 12:51 PM

Dragonlady, I didn't quit me *paying* job, I quit my marriage. It had all the elements you described....inconsistancy, micro-management (and lack thereof), plus a lot of shouting (hence, my ex is now affectionately known to my friends as "Satan").

For the personal growth part, I quit a lifestyle that was unhealthy for me. I no longer feel badly about myself. I don't dread getting up in the morning. I fear no severe repercussions should I "mess" something up (i.e. the screaming you referred to).

Yeah, this post started by you asking if anyone had "taken the plunge" and made good out of it. I am here to say there are many ways to plunge, but the results are all the same. Getting out of ANY bad situation is always better than staying in one, be it a bad marriage, bad job, or even a bad investment (redundant?).

I consider myself one hell of a success story.

I did it again...rambled and got a major hand cramp :P

thanks for lending the ear, folks

deb

#38 Jill

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 01:02 PM

The hardest part of getting out of a bad situation is often recognizing that it's bad.

It's very easy to fool yourself into thinking "it's not that bad" and to stick with it hoping that things will change.

Often times something will happen that will simply be the last straw, and that will wake you up into realizing that things really won't change. But getting to that realization can take a long, long time. It's just too easy to deny it.

Most people hate change also. We get comfortable with the people we hang out with, and the lifestyle we lead. It takes real guts and a tremendous effort to make a real change, such as the one Deb made. Many times people will go on forever in a bad situation because it's too hard to do otherwise.

The two times in my life when I made big changes, it was very, very hard at first. But when you finally get that "bing" in your head that you have to make the change and you know that it's the right thing to do, everything suddenly falls into place. It's quite miraculous, actually.

Then making the changes becomes pretty easy because you suddenly have all this knowledge and energy because you know it's right and it's good.

Once the change has been made and is complete, you feel so totally clean and good and wonder how you couldn't have realized before what a bad situation you were in.

But each person really has to come to their own realizations in order for real changes to occur. It takes a lot of thought and self-reflection, and maturity.

Hopefully this is a little food for thought for others in situations that aren't really best for them.

:P

Jill

#39 deborah2002

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 02:03 PM

Like Ron said, it (in this case, my marriage) sucked, but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. Because of it, I have 2 beautiful little boys and ulimately landed this job. I wouldn't trade any of it for the world.

Like Jill said, making change is really hard (ANY change), but as long as you do it for the right reasons, believe me---the payoffs are far more reaching than just $$. Happiness is more valuable.

deb

#40 meta

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 02:15 PM

...I have 2 beautiful little boys and ulimately landed this job.

Is your job cool? Tell us about it. How did you find it?

#41 deborah2002

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 02:41 PM

Hey Meta!
Frankly, I do SEO like most folks here. I work for a very small, family like company who are also my closest friends as a result.
My job, I suppose, is no "cooler" than anyone else's here, I just love it for the feeling of accomplishment it gives me.
My newly (almost) single status and having a paying job for the first time in close to a decade---well, what can I say.


I have posted my "fallen A$$ backwards into this job" story somewhere else on this forum but in a nutshell, I came to this company in a low low low level job not even related to computers! My boss took me aside one day and said (paraphrasing here but generally correct) "deb, you are smarter than this....try this and see what you can do".

That's how I jumped onto the internet and started figuring things out. And we are talking BASIC stuff here. I didn't know the difference between directories and engines. Spiders? I didn't know much about 'em 'cept when I would sqaush one on my back porch--now they are my best friend (who knew?).

I am not knocking stay at home moms--it's WAY hard work--but that coupled with a bad marital situation (don't even get me started) gave me no self esteem and lower confidence.

This is getting frightengly long so I'll cut it short. I feel incredibly lucky to be where I am today. My life started over in 2002--see my screen name? Again, wouldn't trade it for anything. Thanks for listening.

deb

#42 stoli

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 05:22 PM

Thank you for asking Dragonlady7. I would be happy to share my story.

I graduated college in 1990 with a double major in History and Political Science. I had absolutely no clue about what I wanted to do for a living; the job outlook was pretty bad at that time. While in college I worked for a clothing store and upon graduation I took a position in the same company as a Dept. Manager. I eventually wound up as a Corporate Buyer in the home office.

I was utterly miserable. I was not at all happy with my job. I did not thrive in the corporate world. My personality suffered, I had very little self esteem. My attitude showed to others and I knew I would not rise up any further. But the money was good and it was a steady job so I stuck around.

I knew I had to change for my sake. I had to do a lot of soul searching about who I was and what I wanted. I knew I had to start with a clean sheet of paper and take a chance. I knew I had to start over.

I knew I hated being in an office all day. I went back to school and obtained a 2 yr degree in Horticulture with emphasis on landscape design. I eventually left my corporate job and took a job as an assistant foreman with a commercial landscape installation company. I dug holes all day. I learned how to plant giant trees using back hoes and big equipment. My whole outlook on life changed. I had more confidence. My personal life benefited as a result. I made very little money but I felt better at the end of the day. Tired, but like I had accomplished something.

I rose through the company and started getting into job estimating and sales. After some company buy-outs and mergers I lost my job but found others in the same field.

I eventually realized that I was the type person who needed to run my own business. I started a hydroseeding business. I also drew landscape plans for customers. It was lot of work to start and I was scared stiff. A lot of "what if's".

It is a still growing business (ha ha) and I am still working hard to promote it. No matter if you work for someone else or yourself, you always have to be planning where you want to be and working towards that goal. Always thinking of the next step.

I'm not a mean person- actually I'm very laid back. But my business is very important to me and I can't afford to be laid back about it. I might come across as abrubt, but I hear a lot of excuses. I need the people I hire to be dedicated and to tell me what they need instead of sitting around waiting for me to read their mind. I give as good communicaton as I can, but it's a 2-way road. Too many people would rather tell you all the reasons they can't work instead of figuring it out. Some days I am afraid they are going to stop breathing because I didn't tell them to keep breathing while I was gone. :drunk:

I could still be working in corporate retail and be making more money with benefits, no doubt about that. But I'd rather do something I can be proud of.
:huh:

I'm not trying to pick on you. Just telling things the way I see them. Doesn't mean I'm right. :whip: Hope I didn't offend anyone.

#43 meta

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 08:07 PM

My boss took me aside one day and said (paraphrasing here but generally correct) "deb, you are smarter than this....try this and see what you can do".

Hey, that's a good boss. He was perceptive and saw your potential, and he knew what to say to bring it out. His reward was the benefit of your good work.

I once had a student in a software training class who had been a secretary - her boss did much the same thing. Their data analyst left, and the boss looked at her and said "you can do this." And she did, quite well. I told the story over and over to people who came to class afraid they could not handle the work.

#44 market seeker

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 08:55 PM

I'm not a mean person- actually I'm very laid back.  But my business is very important to me and I can't afford to be laid back about it. I might come across as abrubt, but I hear a lot of excuses. I need the people I hire to be dedicated and to tell me what they need instead of sitting around waiting for me to read their mind. I give as good communicaton as I can, but it's a 2-way road.  Too many people would rather tell you all the reasons they can't work instead of figuring it out. Some days I am afraid they are going to stop breathing because I didn't tell them to keep breathing while I was gone.  :D

I know what you mean about that, I go though so many people each year that I have to fire for the stupidest reasons. I have found that for the most part I don't like to associate with the employee mindset. I seek out owners of companys just for the conversation. Owners seem to have different problems then employees. You very rearly hear a good idea from an employee except how to get out of work.

I know that's generalizing but I find it to be the truth.

I'm always looking for a way to make money. If I had to work for someone else I would try to show that I'm worth more than what I'm getting paid. Try to work a deal so the company makes more money and make sure I get a cut of the action.

Dragon Lady I didn't mean to offend and then I did a little. No hard feelings I hope and I will continue to read your posts you can't stop me. :tooth:

If you don't mind a word of advice. Try not to complain about anything and I mean anything. Make business your first priority over all, even your boyfriend. Then when you are 20 years down the line you will know what true happiness is. When you're free and can buy what ever you want.

As I said before, you have the brains, use them.

Al

#45 Ron Carnell

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Posted 06 August 2003 - 09:48 PM

Deb, thank you for the kind words. You don't suck, either. :D

You know, it sounds to me like there's a few here who might want to read the thread about how to hire good people? Any complaint that an owner or manager has about someone they hired, is always their own fault. No one, of course, ever manages to bat a thousand in their hiring practices. But anyone who sees strike out after strike out really needs to examine their own role in the process. Whether in business or life, we usually get exactly what we requested.

Then when you are 20 years down the line you will know what true happiness is. When you're free and can buy what ever you want.


I honestly can't believe you meant that the way it sounds? Happiness is defined by the freedom to buy what ever you want?




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