"Find something you love, and go for it."
DIY Dollars header image 2

Soul-Sucking Jobs & What You Can Do About Them

June 15th, 2007 by rosie · 3 Comments

“Do I gotta go back to work?”

sad crying baby
TGIF is a familiar and heart-felt sentiment for most people. (Not to mention a very corny acronym.) And not solely because the weekend is their “off time,” but because a majority of people hate their soul-sucking jobs. Sunday night comes and they start to feel the dread. Monday mornings bring the blues. And then they are back in their rut: another mundane week working at a place they are unhappy and uninspired.If you saw Office Space and could relate to it on any sort of personal level, then you’re with me so far.But more current than Office Space is this anonymous post from craigslist that pretty much sums up how many people feel about their job:

That is what work is all about for most of us. The company pays you for it’s ability to crush your soul and your personal identity for 8 hours a day while trying to extract as much work as possible from you. You try to get through each day with as much of your soul and identity intact as possible, while doing the minimum amount of work necessary to keep your job and stay out of trouble.

If you are seriously unhappy with your work, you are not alone. About 1 million people call in sick to work each day, and not with a case of the flu. (And that figure doesn’t even begin to consider all the sad, sad emo and goth kids out there.) Job unsatisfaction causes problems for both the employees and employers. Businesses are faced with reduced productivity, absenteeism, and higher employee turnovers. The unhappy employees develop stress-related problems, including depression, TMJ, or desire to shoot up the office with a high-powered automatic firearm. But the fact is that most people will stay miserable with their work situation, even though they actually don’t have to.

Do You Ever Feel Like Doing This? Office Space

It’s important for people (like you, perhaps) to regularly evaluate who they are and what they want out of life and then actively take steps to reach their goals. Most people get busy with the day-to-day of everyday life and their own dreams get put on the back burner indefinitely.

If you hate your job, sit down and figure out why. Is it the type of work that you are unhappy about? Is your supervisor a borderline retard? Are you immersed in meaningless rules that seem to have no purpose? Was the company handbook written by a fascist? If you are unsatisfied with your job or your workplace, then sit down and think about what you can do about it.

There really are only two options for you if you have a soul-sucking job: quit or deal with it.

1. Analyze what your goals are and work towards those. This may mean staying at your job if you just want to move up or transfer to a different department. Or it could mean staying at what you know is a dead-end job while looking for something better. Or it could just mean quitting and going out and creating something better for yourself.

What would happen if you did quit? Do you have an idea for a business you’ve always wanted to do or a freelance gig you’ve wanted to do full-time? If you (unlike me) are not getting any older and you can waste your life at a meaningless job, then just sit around and stick with the dead-end job until you magically get enough money to support yourself indefinitely – then launch out on your own. [Yes that last sentence was engorged with sarcasm.]

Listen, the truth is if you have any guts at all and you have a dream, you need to set a time to just quit and pursue your dream. If it means scrimping and saving for a year or three months or maybe just quitting tomorrow and living on faith – whatever plan you formulate, you have to commit and DO it. But your dream life sure isn’t gonna come as a result of a dead-end soul-sucking job.


2. If for some reason you have to stay long-term at a job you hate, then learn to cope and just deal with it – and don’t let your soul shrivel up and die if you can help it. Focus on gaining skills; try to improve and develop positive relationships; encourage teamwork; have a diversion for you in your workspace (a hilarious Dilbert calendar, a wacky little poster of a kitten that’s hangin’ on til’ Friday, rockin’ tunes on your iPod, vodka in your Thermos™, etc.); recognize what you can fix and what you can’t (like how you can’t fix other people and their lazy/psychotic/whiny behavior); reward yourself periodically by doing something for yourself (something special like a trip to Baskin-Robbins or maybe an actual trip on LSD); realize the mantra “this too shall pass;” or (novel idea) get a life outside of work. I hear Ultimate Frisbee is fun.

Whichever path you take, realize that you can’t be passive when it comes to your happiness and career. You can take charge and improve your work situation.

Just don’t do it with a high-powered automatic.

Related Posts:

    Tags: Advice & Inspiration · Uncategorized

    RSS feed


    Comment by almost ther
    2007-06-26 05:51:35

    nice advice…but I don’t want to do it with a high-powered automatic, but with a big shiny machete…
    I like my killing rough…

    (Comments wont nest below this level)
    Comment by Jenni
    2008-04-06 23:42:59

    I am stuck in a horrifying, soul-sucking job. My supervisor has this sticky, sugary-sweet voice she always uses when she wants me to either (a) do something degrading or (b) wants to let me know I’m in trouble for unfathomable reasons. And my *other* supervisor doesn’t like me at all, and works me like a dog (no offense meant to dogs, of course) whenever I even start to *think* about sitting down for a break.

    So yeah. I spend a lot of time hiding in the back room. And sneaking chocolate.

    I desperately want to quit, but I can’t deal with that sugary-sweet candy voice like Shirley Temple on steroids one more time. . .I suppose I need courage.

    I’m 18 years old. My God.

    (Comments wont nest below this level)
    Comment by Kay
    2008-11-25 21:11:01

    Jenni, I think I’ve worked there! At 18 I had no backbone at all and no clue about office politics. Actually, I still don’t understand office politics. You’re young but you obviously already know the value of having choices. If you’ve any career aspirations whatsoever, go get the education you need. Don’t whine about not having the money – there are ways, including working at a job you HATE – and PUHLEEZE don’t tell me you don’t have the time – you’re 18 – all you’ve GOT is time. It may not be healthy, but revenge and anger are good motivational tools – and soon enough you can tell your helium-voiced boss to jump off a tall building, perhaps while you’re replacing her nameplate on the door with your own. It’s funny how much better some companies look when you’re not the scapegoat/punching bag of all of those who are above you in the heirarchy. I wish I’d had someone kick my tail into high gear at 18, because I’d be earning about twice as much now and probably loving my job, not surfing “soul-sucking jobs” boards. Sigh ;P

    (Comments wont nest below this level)

    Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.