Trapped in a toxic job

I hate my job! I’m treated like an outsider and my colleagues are no help.

Our elder has some strategies for an IT worker looking for a way out.

Dear EWC

I have been working for this IT firm for the past year and three months, my first real job after graduating. It started out great but now all I feel like doing is leaving. I work in a company of four people; we provide IT services. We are currently based on-site at one of our biggest clients, which does event management, so we mainly provide them with support, which I do, and we have to set up internet at events in different venues. On this site, as a contractor, you are treated as an outsider and you cannot openly stand up for yourself because it could be considered as rude and could see yourself being banned or kicked off-site, which has happened to my other two colleagues.

It’s a toxic environment but an environment that could be easily managed, but it’s made worse by the people I work with. My boss is a very carefree guy. He is like a friend — very open and one of the funniest guys you will meet but lacks seriousness when it comes to work and clients. He trusts me and likes me mostly because I work hard, which I appreciate, but it gets too much for me at times because two of my colleagues are lazy. They basically do nothing but when given a task it either takes a long time to complete or it’s not done at all. They come to work when they want to and whatever time, and this has been the case for a long time. My boss knows but being a soft guy does nothing, and ultimately it affects me because all their tasks which they were supposed to handle get given to me. I get to handle support for 60+ staff members who are not all in the same building but all over the estate plus handle events where you can get as a many as 3,000 people, and still have to take care of their queries and solve them all whilst people are seated in the office watching YouTube videos, and I still take insults from clients in meetings which aren’t meant for me because things were supposed to be ordered or done by my boss, which he only has the power to do.

I haven’t been paid overtime in over a year and my boss knows about it. I feel I have had enough and feel it’s too much for me because every day all I ever think about is leaving, be it at work or home. I’m ready to move on but my girlfriend kinda makes it hard. She left a different state just to be with me, and me leaving just feels unfair and inhuman because I would have to move back to my parents who are in another country. Mentally I’m just drained and don’t know what to do.

Mama-Joan replies

First jobs in any career are difficult. You are learning what you do/don’t enjoy, the kinds of people you respect and like working with and a myriad of other important insights. With that said, it sounds like it’s time to start looking for a new position. Do not quit your job. Rather, take time to make a list of your accomplishments and skills and begin researching what you want your next job to look like. There are many opportunities in the IT field.

Envision 1) What do I want my day to look like? 2) What do I want my week to look like? 3) What do I want my month to look like? 4) What do I want my year to look like? 5) Where will I be in five years? Envision as much detail as you can… including what time of day you want to go to work, come home, who you’d like to work with, etc. Write it all down (someday you will want to look back on your early dreams). Once you have an idea of what kind of life/career you want, then you can begin looking for the ideal job. As they say, “How will you know you’ve arrived if you don’t know where you’re going?”

Once you have some idea of the type of organization/company/work situation that interests you, begin telling friends, colleagues and other professionals that you are looking for a new position. Outline for them the type of position that you’d like and ask them, 1) Do they know of any jobs? 2) If so, do they know who you should talk with about the job; and 3) If so, will they introduce you, make a phone call on your behalf or allow you to use their name when you do make your contact? If you contact a business about a new job and it doesn’t work out, be sure to ask your contact at that business the three questions outlined above.

Know thyself. If a job simply isn’t suited to you, then make a plan for change. Change happens one step at a time. With each step toward your new goals, you will feel more in control of your life. Since you are someone who works hard and is willing to go the extra mile, give yourself and your career plans some of that energy and diligence. You’ll be glad you did! Best of luck. Please write again anytime.

Letter #: 442414
Category: Career

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