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Planning Retirement Online



Relationships - April 2019

I hate my job

Maggi Stamp is a highly qualified relationship counsellor and trainer who writes each month about emotional and practical concerns and challenges that many of us meet in later life. For 20 years, as well as running a private practise, Maggi worked with the organisation Relate to help married and single people, cohabiting couples, same sex couples, families, young and old people and the bereaved to develop, foster and enjoy healthy and fulfilling relationships. No less important, as she is herself a wife, mother and grandmother, she brings a lifetime of varied and eventful experience to enhance her empathy and understanding.  

Many of her examples are based on concerns that clients, family and friends have presented over the years. In the monthly articles where she responds to issues raised by readers, she strictly respects confidentiality and never identifies those who write to her. But the individual worries they raise are invariably felt by others, so her responses can help many.

You can write to Maggi at 
for her to respond in the column.

I hate my job

I work in corporate accounting. I hate my job and hate the direction of the company.
I cry when I go there.
I smile when I reach Friday night.
This is no way to live.

I want to do something different; something out of the finance field.  

Why? Well, why start in a new place at this age (59), doing the same will just come full circle. Legers, monthly close, balance sheets...  
My job has hurt my health and my mental state.

How can I find something using my skills that pays? Yes a little less, but benefits and vacation and most of all, not worrying that I have to cancel my life to be at work month in, month out, year in year out, and lose all my USA holidays as I work for a foreign country.

I don't mean to complain, but I need to make a change. I want to leave “on time” and not be made to feel guilty because I did not sign on back at night and continue where I left when I departed the office.  

Oh Boy, what an unhappy worker! 

You sound so hemmed in by the corporate conveyor belt.
You are possibly hemmed in by your own attitude too. So many years in the same interminable round of tasks might have blunted your imagination, or courage and these are both needed to escape the kind of workplace you describe. So when you say the job has hurt your health and mental state it doesn't surprise me. Though there are people who suit that reliable circular set of annual tasks, it is stultifying for others, and at last you have identified as one of them.
Are you good at what you do? If you are confident about your abilities but you hate the company and its direction, then how about finding the same job elsewhere?
How right you are. You do need to make some kind of change. You sound as though you fight that pointless and counter-productive work ethic that has prevailed over the past few decades, where it is deemed good, honourable even, to work many more hours than are on your contract. I am pleased you do. A worn out, bored worker won't increase their production or increase the quality of what they do. They'll just take longer to do slightly more, less effectively. It takes determination to resist such pious acts of self-annihilation..."I pledge myself to the company and my family will get by as a secondary consideration" is not the way to go.
You will need that determination...along with the courage and imagination.

At your age I too embarked on an extra job which ran alongside my counselling work, that of writing. I retired from counselling work a few years ago but have continued to write and have also taken on some arts centre management and design work. None of this will pay my bills but they have shifted my creativity full circle to the arts, where I began my career. Others I know have left work in an office, teaching, or nursing, to retrain in their downtime and then once qualified have re-launched, later in life, as dog-trainers, truck drivers, tree surgeons, healthcare assistants, reflexologists, hypnotherapists, gardeners...even a shepherd too. Some have migrated the other way, into offices, schools or colleges.

All took a risk. They were unhappy in their work and after years of grinding their teeth, took responsibility for making huge changes in their lives and financial circumstances. Most are less 'well paid' than before, but all to a man, to a woman, are happier, healthier people.

I wonder if you are feeling so trapped because you cannot imagine what to try as an alternative occupation. You don't mention family or a partner who might be happy to talk it through with you. If you have, they need to know, their lives will be affected by whatever you decide...and they might be invaluable in supporting you emotionally as you make the changes. And they could have ideas or concerns you have not thought of simply by knowing a different aspect of you that can be built upon. Seeing how others see us is important in these situations. It might not always be easy to hear but more often than not you will be pleasantly surprised!

If there are no family close to you, talk to trusted friends, and if you can, consulting a careers counsellor - if you find one who specialises in mature job changes so much the better. Take a look around. They can be part of the answer.

Most important is your attitude to change. Be honest with yourself about interests, capabilities, energy levels (these might change of course). If you are not willing to take the risk then have a long think about how you can make your daily work into something viewed as useful to achieve the means to more enjoyable periods of your week, and therefore more bearable. If you want to take the leap of faith, then build up that faith by a lot of planning and research so that it sustains you when you finally bid farewell to the office and take up whatever you have spent months training/planning/saving-up for. Expect plenty of moments of panic. The longer you've been doing you hated job, the more of these you'll have. It is part of making the break. Whether you change your job or stay in it for the money/security/pension, you will have given it all a great deal of consideration and got to know yourself a bit more into the bargain.

Be kind to yourself and be proud of whatever decision you make.

You can write to Maggi at for her to respond in the column.

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