Are You Overworked? Underpaid? Unappreciated? Belittled?

If going to work each day involves dragging yourself out of bed, swallowing an antacid, and gritting your teeth as you head to work–you have a problem! You might be overworked, underpaid, unappreciated, or belittled.

This kind of unhappy work situation impacts many people and can make unemployment look almost attractive by comparison. Note that I said “almost.” Unemployment–particularly involuntary unemployment–carries its own difficulties, but “employed misery” will definitely give you a major challenge.

Demoralizing & Demotivating Work Situations

You could face one of these demoralizing and demotivating work situations:

  • Overworked: Your boss piles on the work, and you’re doing the job of three people. Your pleas for help are ignored or flatly rejected. (“Quit complaining. You should be glad you’ve got a job.”)Tired business woman with documents in her workplace
  • Underpaid: What you were hired for and what the company expects you to do are miles apart, and you’re working well above your pay scale. However, your raise requests are rejected, sometimes for reasons that make little sense. (“You haven’t been in the job long enough.” OR “Paying you that much would insult others who’ve been doing the work longer.”)
  • Unappreciated: You’re making a valuable contribution to the work of your department, but it’s taken for granted or dismissed as less valuable than it is. (“You shouldn’t expect to be congratulated for doing your job. It’s what you get paid for.”)
  • Belittled and/or intimidated: When your immediate boss or others put you down and suggest that you’re basically a warm body filling a chair, that’s belittling. If they exhibit aggressive or domineering behavior, that’s actively hostile. (“Can’t you do anything right? What do we pay you for, anyway?” OR “You should remember no one is irreplaceable!”)worker under magnifying glass his boss

One of my bosses years ago used to say, “Life is too short to….” (Fill in your own ending.) He  would never have indulged in any of the above behaviors with the people who reported to him. However, I have seen and heard of too many situations where that was not the case.

Is Workplace Freedom a Pipe Dream?

Breaking away from the kind of miserable work situation I’ve described can clearly represent a daunting challenge. For instance, economic and/or time factors can pose major concerns. If your salary supports you and your family, you probably can’t undergo long-term unemployment without running into financial hardship. Also, it’s still true that finding a new job is easier when you’re already working than when you’re unemployed.

Power generatorOn the other hand, if your work schedule itself is a “killer,” carving out the time and opportunity to conduct an active job search (including job interviews) can seem like an insurmountable obstacle. For example, I’ve had clients who worked long hours each day and couldn’t get time off for personal matters without having to work at least part of the weekend to “make up” for their absence. If they’re exempt employees, they don’t even have the satisfaction of receiving overtime for the extra hours they put in.

How Do You Overcome These Situations?

Unfortunately, the short answer is, “not easily”! Somehow you need to carve out time, even if it’s in short bursts and at odd hours, to begin making a move in a more positive and health-preserving direction. You might need to get creative and come up with unusual approaches. As an example, can you enlist the support of friends or trusted colleagues (who, ideally, don’t currently work at your employer and therefore are less likely to let something slip inadvertently)?Career Checklist Priorities Goals Objectives in Work Profession

Making the change is at least possible–just not quickly, smoothly and without risks. But the alternative is clearly not desirable. You deserve a healthy, satisfying work environment where your contribution is appropriately valued.

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