We all have that one friend.
She hates her job and every time you see her she tells you all about her terrible boss and the toxic work culture.
She feels trapped by her salary and financial obligations.
Maybe she’s just incredibly bored or underappreciated.
Whatever the actual problem, she is constantly singing the same song but the concert never ends.
But because you are a kind, empathetic friend you listen.
You agree that her boss is a micro-manager and that Kevin from accounting is out to get her. And the food in the cafeteria is awful and expecting her to answer work messages at 10 pm is a bunch of crap.
Maybe you even try to offer solutions or ideas.
But the problem is – you’re not a career development professional. Or a therapist. Or someone who works in her industry. Or has her combination of skills, experience, and education.
Plus you have your own problems, and it isn’t fun to spend time with her anymore – but she’s your friend and you love her and you just wish she could be happier.
Does any of that sound familiar?
While I would love to tell you that I’ve only been the sounding board in this situation (and I have, many times over) I would be lying.
I have been the friend who never stops talking about how much she hates her job.
There are a number of people that I can’t believe put up with me – shout out to those ladies!
Luckily, and with lots of work and determination over time, I figured out how to love my work and find my career happiness. And now I have helped many women do the same much faster and with much less pain and detrimental effect on their personal relationships.
Your friends and family love you, but they are not equipped to help you with your career.
And even if they have the knowledge, they are too close to you and your situation to be objective.
Just like you are too close to your own “stuff” to see the exit signs and the steps you need to take to find your career happiness.
And networking in person or on social media sites can play tricks with our minds, and make us feel like everyone is happy except us.
While I fully support networking as a job-seeking/change strategy, and I teach it in my programs all day long, it’s important to keep in mind that what is presented on the Internet is a filtered version of reality.
If you hate your job right now, does your LinkedIn profile show a photo of you sticking out your tongue or smashing your computer?
Does your about section say, “Help me, I hate my job and Kevin from accounting is out to get me.”
Did you make a banner graphic that says “There is no amount of coffee to make this job tolerable?”
Of course not – your public persona is perky, professional, and pleasant.
I promise you that there are an unbelievable number of people out there who feel as you do. I talk to them every day, and they say the same things.
But the one thing they say that really hits me in the feelings is – “I know this sounds crazy, but…”
No, it doesn’t sound crazy. It sounds normal and it’s much simpler to fix than you ever dreamed possible, and there are many people out there who totally “get” you.
So how do you help each other if you don’t know how to do it?
You need a mentor, guide, cheerleader, supporter, and sometimes a little tough love.
My family does tough love.
One person who wouldn’t let me get away with my career moaning without action was my father.
Every time I complained to him about my job he would listen and then say, “Carol Ann, when the pain is great enough you’ll do something about it.”
Ouch, but so true!
The next time that friend tells you about her job woes, maybe suggest she engage the help of a professional. Yes, it’s not free – but most things that are free don’t solve our problems.
And they certainly don’t solve them quickly and with less stress.
And if it’s you who needs help, let me know.
That’s my life’s work and my greatest joy – spreading career happiness.
We remember the best and worst times of our lives most vividly.
I can tell you every moment of the day my son was born in great detail, and I still get teary-eyed 27 years later.
I can also tell you everything I hated about many of my jobs, and how I felt dejected, useless, hopeless, and in some cases, abused and mistreated.
Career happiness is available to everyone, and work CAN and SHOULD be fun.
If you’d like to start exploring some help, let’s start with some free help:
Let’s do something about your career pain so you feel as happy as you look in your pretty LinkedIn profile photo.
And your girls’ brunch time can become more fun again! Who knows – soon you could be toasting to your career happiness with mimosas and Sarah can enjoy her blueberry pancakes with whipped cream in peace. 🙂