A few words and thoughts for those stuck in a job that’s making them miserable, in our regular mental health and wellbeing spot.

Hello and a very warm welcome to the bit on the site we reserve to chat about things that may be affected us, or those around us. A little time out to talk about mental health and wellbeing, with hopefully a few useful pieces of advice in there too. Not every piece is going to be of use, totally get that, but hopefully over the course of this series of weekly pieces, something helpful pops up.

This week, we’re chatting about being in a difficult job. At the point this is being written, job vacancies are on the up, and in some industries, companies are struggling to fill roles. Naturally enough, for those stuck in jobs they’re trying their best to get out of, there never seems to be the right door at the right time. It’s a difficult situation.

I’ve certainly been there, and had to make a choice between paying the bills, or jumping into the unknown. The security of a monthly paycheque for a long time was enough for me to put up with a very punch-down working environment (this was a long time ago, there’s no hidden dig or subtext here). I was in my second job, had just got a mortgage, and couldn’t afford to leave. Conversely, it was making me miserable and doubt my self-worth.

The easy answers of course are rarely that. A friend of mine worked for one company where everybody knew the culture, and the head of HR’s office was a regular queue of people in tears because of the way the MD screamed at them. All the head of HR could do was talk to the MD, but you can guess how that went. In the end, the employees went to services like Glassdoor, but mainly left. There was no other option for them.

Now, companies have to – in theory – be a little more conscious of how staff are treated and if there’s a sliver of hope that you’ll be listened to, it’s worth registering how you feel about how you’re treated. To get something on record and in writing. At the very least, it’s useful to start a paper trail.

The problem I also found with wanting to leave is that my job was making me so miserable at one point, it affected my applications, and how I came across in interviews. It was a difficult circle, and the only way I got out of it was to carve out a specific period of time in a week to do applications, where I forced myself into a different mindset. Easier said than done, sure, but hopefully not impossible.

The worse moment is when you have to make that choice: security or sanity. I’ve hit that point twice in my career, and made a different choice each time. Both come with notable, guessable pros and cons. But one thing I learned – and again, it took me a while – is that there are actually lots of jobs. There may not be ideal jobs, but with some of the scenarios in this article, things aren’t likely ideal anyway.

No easy answers here, and usually just two options: stick or twist, for want of a better way of putting it. But talk to those around you outside of work. Find a smile, anything, away from a workplace that’s driving you down. And find space somewhere for self-care. It’s an almost-impossible conundrum when finances are tight, but there is more to life than work.

All suggestions welcomed as always in the comments, and the very best to you all.

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