Ask E. Jean - Tormented? Driven Witless? Whipsawed by confusion?

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Maybe this is a typical 'first time full job' whining post, but god, do I struggle with the 9-5 (more 9-6/6:30) routine. I 'm really at a loss here, I'm always SO Tired, and need support not criticism, or 'that's life, welcome to the workforce etc.' I guess I'm looking for coping skills..suggestions.... I don't even know. My parents have been the absolute worst in helping me 'feel better' about my current situation. My roomies aren't much help either as they have artsy jobs/ self employed so their advice is for me just quit my job. I need a full time job for bills/ life so working less or quitting isn't an option. Overall, I struggle less with my job descriptions, though it's not Awesome, and more just with the amount of time during the week I'm at work. The commute, hours at my desk every single day, come home, do it again. I know this is most full time jobs anywhere. Where is 'my' time? Where even am I in all of this?

I worked part time and lived with my parents while going to a small commuter school for the past 5 years. As non-ideal as that sounds, I liked my old low-paying job (movie theater) and was able to do fine in school without studying very much. I graduated with a bachelor's in communications and am working an administrative job at a local non-profit. The admin job is the best I could get out of school (full time, benefits).

Money's not the best, but working for a charity has always been my dream, so I was thrilled to get the job and move out into a small place with some roommates.

I've been working here for just over a year, and I have been *really* struggling with getting through the 8 hour days. No matter how early I go to bed, I'm tired and rushed in the morning. I get tired and bored throughout the day, and when I finally get home around 6, I'm too tired to do anything besides go online, watch TV, and ruminate about how I have to do it all again tomorrow. How do people work all day long and still have outside lives? How do they feel ON TOP of things, in control, and refreshed?

I know that most people will say they don't feel those things, or it took them a long time, lots of trial error. but I am struggling *now*, currently, and it's making me really depressed. I spend so much energy trying to get through one day at a time that the thought of using the future to motivate me ('this won't last forever'). I keep trying to adjust to this new lifestyle and it hasn't been as easy as I thought. I didn't think it would be a BREEZE, but here I am a year later, and still feel like I can barely keep up. just doesn't happen Thank you E. Jean




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    Lots of things to consider here...

    1) How's the actual work environment? Some companies are actually reasonably pleasurable places to work: the bosses set a positive tone and are concerned with the welfare of their employees, and the staff believes in the product/service they are offering, and enjoy the work they do. If you find a place like this that will hire you, stick with 'em! Such places are not impossible to find, but they *are* somewhat rare...

    It's possible you're in the right field, just not quite the right specific workplace yet.


    2) How long is your commute? Can you move closer to work? A really long commute can be mentally draining before you even start the work day. I don't know if it's possible for you, but a move might add an hour (or two?) a day of "you" time to your life, which might clear a lot of the issues up.


    3) Is it possible that you are looking at a situation where you are dealing with some form of clinical depression? In other words, are there factors outside of the job that are causing you to feel depressed? The job may still amplify those feelings ... but perhaps they're coming from somewhere else?


    4) Something that might help right away is to have a night or two a week where you *don't* go home and go online. Go actually do something: see a play, go to the library, join a rock-climbing club, take a class in something you've always wanted to try. It's counter-intuitive ("I'm already tired ... I don't have the energy to go do more stuff!"), but it actually can be energizing to have a completely different activity to look forward to and do. Plus, if you find something to do that's relatively near your work, your commute home later in the evening will be outside of rush hour, and less stressful.




    I hope this helps, at least a little!

    reply to Kal
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    Kal is, as usual, right on the money. There could be a number of factors involved (there usually is).

    As someone who has had to suffer through a "soul-sucking" job myself, I'd like to suggest that perhaps this job may not be the best fit for you. Some folks like routine, some like more variety/challenges, some folks like more structure, some more autonomy. This is the time to figure out what works for you. Then you can decide what you want to do about it.

    If your job is not a good fit, see if you can take on some occasional projects for your organization. One of these may be just the thing to point you in the right direction and help you figure out what it is you would like to do.

    And yeah - when you're in the middle of something like this and not actively working toward a quantifiable goal, using the "it won't always be like this" is not going to be that effective. Because right now you don't have a timeline on when that will happen. Just like when you're in the middle of a heartbreak, you feel like you're always going to feel the way you do at that time. So what you are feeling is absolutely normal.

    In the meantime, it may help to give yourself things to look forward to. Even small things, like a new book to read or a new place to buy sweet rolls or a movie or pedicure or just something you can plan and anticipate.

    reply to Jill
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