How your crappy job can actually be helping you

There are few things more frustrating than being in a position you don’t want to be in, knowing you’re unhappy but feeling like you cannot do anything about it. No, I’m not talking about getting a wedgie in a public place and just having to deal with it. I’m talking about more serious situations, guys.

I’ve had that really horrible frustrating feeling arise a few times, three specific situations pop into my mind immediately and they were all related to my job at the time. It’s that gross feeling of being stuck, like you don’t have a choice but to wake up every day and go to work even though it’s killing you a little bit each day to do it.

I remember feeling so down and trapped by my job that I nearly cried every time I walked through the front doors of my office building. I would just be so overwhelmed with emotion and disappointment that I would nearly burst into tears when someone said good morning to me. That feeling embarrassed me a great deal and it took me a few months to work up the courage to tell one of my closest friends, Claire, about it. Claire wasn’t shocked or freaked out by how I’d been feeling, she understood because she had felt the same way before she had left too and that made me feel a lot more normal.

The funny thing about feeling confined by a situation like those, is you can’t imagine yourself staying a moment longer, but you can’t imagine yourself leaving either. You are well and truly stuck.

During those times, I had been missing a lot of signs that had been popping up in my life trying to push me in the right direction. During all three of my bad work situations, things had continued to build and become worse and worse for me and I just kept hanging in there being miserable. But why? Why did I continue to subject myself to this madness? Looking back at those situations now I just want to slap myself and tell myself to get out of there, but I know I stayed because I felt like I had to, like it was the ‘right’ thing to do.

The more I ignored the uncomfortable/bad situations around me at work, the worse they got, the louder the noise became in my life and the harder it was for me to stay. Those were tough times. I remember at one particular job I would pack my desk up at least once a week, with no intention of ever coming back. I would take everything out of my desk and leave my keys and access cards in the top drawer and walk out of there telling myself I wasn’t going back the next day. I’d go home and tell Matt, he would calm me down and put me back together and the next day I’d go back in there and pretend I’d accidentally left my keys at work… again.

Somehow going through this type of thing seems normal, like it’s all just part and parcel of growing up and living your adult life. It seems people are more understanding of you being miserable in your job then they are of you being really happy in your job and that’s really sad.

Bridge at night

As someone who lived through the shit and now lives in the field of self-employed dreams and happiness, I can tell you that you don’t have to suffer through a crappy job thinking it’s just your burden to bear or it’s just part of life. It isn’t. Life is about being happy, you were designed to be happy and you deserve to be happy. If you’re in a situation at work or in another aspect of your life that doesn’t make you happy, listen to the signs and take action. That doesn’t mean you have to quit your job immediately and change your entire life, but there are small things you can do to make a big difference and get the ball rolling.

When you’re going through the horror of day-to-day,mindless, office-worker zombie life, remember you’re doing it for a reason. That reason is probably as simple as you have to feel this miserable so you’ll finally get sick of it and do something about it. Which is exactly what happened to me. My rock bottom happened walking home after work one day, I stopped in the middle of the street, threw my hands in the air and said, “THIS CANNOT BE IT!” I said it really loudly and a few too many people heard me and I felt awkward, but hey, it happened and it was pretty great.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but in each of my bad work situations I had one person in my life who was supporting me a great deal. They weren’t there by accident, they were there on purpose to help guide me through that rough time and teach me something important. Even the people at work who are driving you NUTS, like a mean boss or a bitchy co-worker are there to teach you something and, in a weird way, help you. Their particular brand of help could be to make your life so miserable that you finally get the courage to leave (like me!)

If you’re feeling like I was, take a moment to stop and take stock of the people in your life. Who is there to help you? Who is there to teach you something? Why do you think you’re in this position? And don’t bother taking the ‘poor me’ attitude either, that won’t get you anywhere. Rather, take an analytical look at the situation you’re in, really study it and try to work out the lesson you’re supposed to be learning and get on with it.

Night time freeway

So many people have told me I’m lucky to be where I am right now, but I know how much shit I put up with for a long time in jobs I despised before I finally took a chance on myself and quit my job. If I just accepted that I am ‘lucky’ I would be detracting from all the hard work I put in and undervaluing myself. It took a lot of time for me to finally stop mincing around feeling bad for myself, showing up to work every day and nearly crying and, instead, take notice of all the signs and information around me and make some big changes. People will tell you that it isn’t easy, but really, it is. Being happy is easy and it feels so good! You can do it!

If you’re at the beginning of this journey and still in the really crappy first stages, don’t worry, you will get through this and you will feel wonderful. You should be really proud of yourself that you’re even aware you’re at the start of this journey and you should celebrate that, treat yourself and be proud you’ve got the guts to listen to yourself and start working toward doing something about it, because that’s a really great thing. You’re great!

I share these personal parts of my life hoping to inspire you, let you know someone else has gone through it, empower you and reassure you and I’m hoping if you’re reading this, you’ve found something you needed to hear today and it has made you smile and feel comforted in some way, even if it is just to make you laugh at the thought of some poor soul having a really bad wedgie in public and not being able to do a darn thing about it 🙂


Little Grey Box is a travel blog, but every Wednesday I write a personal post to share whatever has been on my mind or whatever awkward, weird situation I’ve gotten myself into. It’s also a way for me to share who I am with you and, hopefully, make you smile and feel less weird if you think about things the same way I do! 

If you liked this post, check out my other weekly posts here in Phoebe’s Column and come back next Wednesday to read my next personal post. 

2 Comments on How your crappy job can actually be helping you

  1. Phoebe! I love this post – this is exactly how I am feeling right now with my job. I have been here for 8 years. 8 years too long but I feel trapped and I have a lot of self-doubt in my head about my work skills. I have been doing the same job for the past 8 years and nothing has changed. They’ve trained me up to do certain things but I don’t do them, there is no communication here whatsoever and I feel like if I get another job I won’t be any good. I work in Admin so when I go searching for Admin jobs a lot requires a lot of experience in doing certain things – stuff I have no experience in. I have wanted to up and leave my job but haven’t got the courage to do it. This post was great to read. Thank you 🙂

    Like

    • I’m so glad you liked it, Krista 🙂 You’re definitely in the same place I’ve been. That’s pretty exciting for you though, it means you’re getting nice and agitated haha while will push you to make a change. Don’t be afraid. Trust yourself. Believe in yourself. You are smart and wonderful, strong and capable of amazing things. You are powerful and brilliant. I had no training to be a travel writer and minimal experience, just my blog. That didn’t matter, I just started writing to magazines and publications, asking them to let me write for them… and they said yes! Anything is possible. ANYTHING.

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