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July 22, 2013
What to Do if Your Job Sucks
You are into the 11th month of your new job. There is no psychological lift from your work. The boss is a serious micromanager. You are not having much fun. You are at your wits’ end and see no relief ahead. What should you do?

This scenario likely applies to more people than one might imagine. Perhaps even you. Rest assured; you are not alone. The good news is that the situation is not fatal and there are ways to manage the pain. Here are some ideas.

1. Relax. Take a deep breath. Count to ten. Take a 20-minute walk around the block and come to your senses.

2. Endure. Don't quit. The job market is still in turmoil. You have a paying gig and are still able to pay for the roof over your head and three square meals a day. Consider yourself fortunate. There are 11.8 million Americans without gainful employment. Be thankful you are not one of them.

3. Divert. Find other outlets for your creative energy and drive. Volunteer with non-profits who likely could benefit from your talents. Join your professional trade association and get involved. Head a committee, run a meeting, staff a conference, add to your network, mentor a student. The list is likely endless of activities to engage with and be engaged.

4. Enhance and improve. So the job is not what was promised. The boss is mean and never lets you run with it. You are weary of just taking orders. Well, back up and take a fresh look at your performance, your habits, and your demeanor. Are you delivering at your level or just getting by? Are you cutting the boss a break and giving her or him the benefit of the doubt?

5. Perspective. Look at the glass half full. Consider a strategy under which you try to help the boss see things your way or at least in a different light. Take her or him to dinner or lunch. Encourage them to talk about their passions and motivations. This may give you a clue about how to influence their hot buttons. It might even set the tone for improving how the boss treats you. In any case, it's worth a try. 
6. Change the scenery. Look for opportunities to move. Are there other positions in the same company that fit your professional skills and aspirations? Now that the real estate market is on the upswing, look at renting a new apartment or buying a new house, preferably one with a view that enables you extend your vision beyond four walls. A perspective with a wide vista might just open you to new possibilities.

7. Shock. For extreme therapy, visit an outplacement center, unemployment office, or job fair. See how the other 11.8 million are adjusting to life in the "slow lane" or "no lane." It likely will give you some fresh perspective on your life in the faster lane. 

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Gerry Corbett is the PRJobCoach at prjobcoach.com and CEO of Redphlag LLC, a strategy consultancy. He has served four decades in senior communications roles at Fortune 100 firms and earlier in his career in aerospace and computer engineering with NASA. He has a B.A. in public relations from San Jose State University and is a member of the International Advertising Association, National Investor Relations Institute; Arthur Page Society, National Association of Science Writers, and International Coaching Federation.

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