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My job is pointless and I'm fed up but can't leave! What do I do?

(32 Posts)
pleaseclosethedoor Wed 07-Jan-15 18:16:21

Has anyone else been in my situation? I could really do with some empathy and advice.

I've been in my current job for about six months and it's making me so depressed. I really dread going in each day, my DH has noticed a big difference in my mood and it just seems to be getting worse and worse. I actually ended up crying in the toilets today.

The thing is (and this is the part where I start to sound like an ungrateful and entitled brat) it's really not THAT bad. The culture isn't particularly great and it's not one of those offices where everyone is really happy and dynamic, but it's not like I'm being bullied or overworked. I haven't particularly 'clicked' with my colleagues, but I don't actively dislike them. I'm just SO bored and demotivated.

My job is completely pointless and I add no value whatsoever. My manager seems to have no idea why I'm there - she changes her mind about what she actually wants me to do pretty much every week. It's not really her fault - I was recruited by someone else who seemed to have very specific ideas about what she wanted me to do, but then she left a couple of weeks after I joined! I feel a bit sorry for my manager as I think she is genuinely a lovely person but it's just a bit ridiculous - she keeps giving me projects to do but it's like I'm a kid on work experience. It really doesn't make much difference whether I do them or not, they make so little impact on the organisation.

I guess for some people it might be a dream job - I've basically got a blank slate to come up with whatever I feel like doing and get paid for it. But I'm just not that kind of person - I like being busy and I want to feel like I'm doing something which is actually worthwhile and necessary.

I know some will say I should just leave, but I feel like that would be really foolish. The salary is fairly good (not megabucks, but probably better than the amount I could get elsewhere). The work/life balance is fine. I'm not being badly treated. And DH and I are due to start TTC in the next twelve months and this organisation offers great maternity benefits and flexible working/part time options for those with families. My DH thinks I should just think long-term and stick it out.

I guess I need one of the following. Either a good talking to for being such an ungrateful twat when so many people are unemployed and looking for work and would absolutely kill to be in my ridiculously fortunate position. Or advice from those who have been in my situation and can help me with ideas on how I can make the situation a bit more bearable so that this doesn't get me down so much.

Can anyone help?

readysteady Wed 07-Jan-15 18:20:53

Lots of company's offer great maternity benefits. Why not start looking around and see what's out there and cherry pick what you apply to while you stick it out in your safety net job you are in a great position. Ttc is irrelevant at the moment.

InfinitySeven Wed 07-Jan-15 18:22:09

If there's genuinely nothing for you to do, you are probably on borrowed time anyway. Are you applying for other things?

LIZS Wed 07-Jan-15 18:29:22

Nothing to stop you applying for other positions. You only need to be employed at the time if conception to qualify for Smp etc.

pleaseclosethedoor Wed 07-Jan-15 18:29:41

No, I'm not applying for other things at the moment. Partly I'm concerned that it will look really odd that I only have six months on my CV in this job. And partly I'm just not sure that I'll find anything which is as cushy as this and then we'll have less money and less flexibility and I'll really regret it (and DH will be annoyed). The thing is, I really have landed on my feet with this one because I think I earn way more than I can get elsewhere. I also worry that I'm expecting a bit too much from work and that most jobs are actually a bit crap for one reason or another.

Excuses, excuses, maybe...

isitsnowingyet Wed 07-Jan-15 18:31:38

Don't stick it out because of long term benefits if you are that unhappy. I was in a similar situation in my mid twenties and don't regret the change of direction I made at all - even though it was into a less well paid job with less benefits. It's more important to feel worthwhile and not be bored out of your brains!

isitsnowingyet Wed 07-Jan-15 18:33:42

And your husband should support your decision as it is your life. Are you relying on your wages for anything particularly or is it nice having a bit of extra cash?

pleaseclosethedoor Wed 07-Jan-15 18:41:34

We're saving for a deposit and we're hoping to buy a house later in the year. With our current joint salary we should be ok but if I took a pay cut it might make a big difference to what we could afford. I turned 29 a couple of months ago and it just feels like I'm doing things the wrong way round if I quit now - it feels like now is the time to start being sensible and make sacrifices for the sake of our future rather than quitting a respectable job with good benefits because it's not fulfilling.

LIZS Wed 07-Jan-15 18:48:34

But even if you stick it out are you really going to be motivated to return if and when you have a baby to take advantage of their generous policies? A lot of enhanced schemes are conditional on returning for a minimum period after maternity leave. So you could be talking over 3 years of potential misery. Life is too short , look for something else and ask for your dh's support.

pleaseclosethedoor Wed 07-Jan-15 19:13:33

I can't really see myself ever being motivated in this job to be honest. But am I just expecting WAY too much from work? Is it actually possible to find a job with good benefits, pay, working hours AND for it to actually be semi interesting?

KnittingChristmasJumpers Wed 07-Jan-15 19:17:23

I was in a similar position with the job I'm currently in.

What really helped me was having an honest chat with my manager about it and saying "look I really want to do well here and at the moment I feel like I'm not being used to my full potential" I suggested shadowing a couple of people who get too much work so I could help out intermittently and from there I started to build a new role.

It was pretty scary to do but I was bored to tears and was just clock watching all day so I knew if things didn't change I'd have to find a new job for the sake of my sanity!

pleaseclosethedoor Wed 07-Jan-15 19:22:03

Thanks knitting - I think that's the kind of thing I should be doing but it is scary. Was your manager ok with it? The thing is I think my manager does actually know I haven't got enough to do but doesn't really know what to do about it.

pleaseclosethedoor Wed 07-Jan-15 20:25:59

Ok, I'm thinking I might arrange a meeting with my boss tomorrow to tell her how I'm feeling. But how do I frame it? I'm worried I'll either come across as a moaning minnie or talk myself into redundancy!!

LIZS Wed 07-Jan-15 20:30:30

They could let you go anyway with minimal notice as you have been there such a short time. Have you had any performance reviews or probation period?

mrsbabookaloo Wed 07-Jan-15 20:46:13

I really sympathise - I could have written your post myself, although my home situation is not the same and I've been in the job for 7 mostly unfulfilling years!!

So in some ways I would say get out while you still can before you lose all motivation and confidence, BUT I would also say that the reason I have stayed in my job for so long is because it suited me perfectly when the children were little and I was pretty tired and brain dead and didn't need a challenge and now I'm still in it because I've got the hours to suit me now the children are at school, which I wouldn't automatically find elsewhere and I earn more in this job than I would if I started again elsewhere. But I hate it and I too cried on Monday after getting home from work. I feel useless and embarrassed to get paid for doing hardly anything. I could do more and push harder and be more innovative and get things started, but as OP said, I just want a job where I am busy and people need me to do stuff all day.

So, OP, maybe you shouldn't do as I've done, because it can leave you trapped. But when I look at the big picture, and my home life is great, work life balance is OK, we have enough money, nice holidays, I think: if I could keep everything like this and the only bad thing is my job, then I'm grateful and it could be a lot worse.

Sorry, I just need to remove the fence from my arse crack.

pleaseclosethedoor Wed 07-Jan-15 20:53:49

Sorry, I should probably have said that I moved from a job in another department in the same organisation (which unfortunately doesn't exist anymore so I can't go back and work there) so I don't need to worry about probation as you only have to pass it once when you first join. I did have a performance review a couple of months ago and it was fine - my manager said I had settled in well and was doing ok confused.

The thing is, this job is a lot less challenging than some I've had in the past (and yet better paid...go figure) so when I do actually have things to do I think I do them fairly well. As I said earlier, I think my manager kind of knows I haven't really got enough to do so she likes having me around to do the odd things that she or others in the team haven't got time for. The sort of low priority projects which are nice to have but which nobody ever gets round to doing.

Actually, the reason I ended up crying in the toilets today (ridiculous I know) was because I was given a project which someone else was meant to do but never started properly because he couldn't really be bothered with it. Now something much more urgent and business critical has come up and he's going to be tied up with that for a few months, so I've been given his (boring, pointless) project to do instead. It made me so angry, but I just didn't know how to object to it without sounding really petty.

pleaseclosethedoor Wed 07-Jan-15 21:03:48

mrsbabookaloo thanks so much for your perspective. I think that really sums up how I feel my future might look and I think, well, if it means I can have everything else I want then maybe I just have to accept that I will need to make some sacrifices at work...

Hope things get better for you soon - perhaps we can try and be 'innovative' together and make the best of our respective jobs?? It's just very hard when your motivation is already quite low, isn't it....

Timetoask Wed 07-Jan-15 21:19:37

You really need to act on this, in the years to come you will really regret not making the most of your work experience now that you have relatively low commitments. It will be much more difficult once you have the mortgage and kids.

EBearhug Wed 07-Jan-15 21:37:05

it's not one of those offices where everyone is really happy and dynamic

I doubt any office is really like that, if you look under the covers. There will always be some people who aren't currently happy, who aren't doing their best or whatever, although some offices are better than others.

This project you've been given - it may well be boring, but is it really pointless? Because if so, then why should anyone be doing it?

I don't think I've ever been in a job where I haven't been able to see some things which could be organised more efficiently or just done better. I've got a list of mini-projects that I could do if I had the time, and some of them I offer up when we have discussions on what work should we be doing in the next 6 months, what could be done better. Can't you think of anything like that which you could make a project of your own where you can show some of your abilities, so you are the one who gets the more business critical work next time?

The idea of shadowing others is good - also, are there any training opportunities? We have access to various online courses, so you could improve your Excel skills, or negotiating skills, or project management or something. Or maybe consider a mooc course - there's loads of things available through Coursera, EdX and so on these days. This means you can do something to stretch yourself a bit, and also boost your CV if you do move on.

Do talk to your manager, as well - at this time of year, I'd probably have a conversation along the lines of saying I felt I'd settled in well, and was now ready for more - it will help if you have some ideas of things you might be able to do, or areas you want to develop or gain some experience in. Focus on how it will help the department (rather than just you), even if it's really preparing yourself for your next position after this.

HerRoyalNotness Wed 07-Jan-15 21:45:26

Oh gosh, I feel for you. I've been feeling like that for YEARS now. I'm totally underutilised and capable of so much more. I'm at the point now where I'm scared to apply for jobs just above what I do, in case I don't have the motivation to learn/do them. So I just remain bored and unmotivated and wanting to quit.

At my current company they only have small projects they can give me and I know fine well they'll only take maximum 10hrs a week to complete. They seem to think I am so wonderful at my job, and I waiting for them to work out that I'm running at about 20% of my capabilities but have no desire to get myself out of the rut. And then I wonder how useless the rest of the people in my department must be if they have decided to keep me on and have me sitting mostly on overhead for whoever knows how long.

Every time I approach a manager or a mentorish type person about it, nothing goes anywhere and nothing changes. So I kind of just gave up. It's so unfulfilling, and the only thing keeping me here is the frankly, based on what I do, obscene paycheck.

Youvegotthelove Thu 08-Jan-15 15:11:26

Nothing helpful to add I'm afraid, but I am in the same boat. On paper, my job title is v. impressive and I earn a six figure salary. My friends and family think I'm really successful and motivated and ambitious. Even DH talks about being a SAHD in the future as my career is 'so successful and so important to me' and we could afford to live off just my salary. In reality, I am bored to tears and spend most of the day reading the Mail online, browsing net-a-porter and drinking coffee. And on the off chance I do have anything remotely important to do or have an opportunity to use my initiative and do something off my own bat, I feel so stuck in a rut and lethargic, I can't be arsed.

I'm scared that if try and find another job, I will either have to take a massive pay cut and a demotion, or I will be working at a much higher intensity, with far more stress and responsibility and I won't actually be able to hack it.

Uphigh Thu 08-Jan-15 16:27:51

Wow, i am so glad I found this thread! I am in this situation too! I thought I was the only one out there. My job has no point and no purpose! It was created to satisfy the ego of an incompetent idiot who had no idea what to do with me. In hindsight I should have left within a year, but it had always wanted to work in this dept. so I kept hoping I could improve things. Finally I gave up on my manager and approached two other managers and worked with them. Things were much better for a year and I came up with and saw through a couple of really useful projects. But then there was a restructuring, I got a new boss and things went back to nothing to do, I have been kicking my heels doing almost completely nothing for seven months. I have no confidence, feel completely deskilled. And utterly humiliated. I know I can't leave as I don't think I have enough to sell to a new employer. I have a meeting on Monday with my manager that I asked for. I am going to lay it on the line and say that there needs to be clarity about my role. I am going to say what my skills are, what skills or areas I think I could have an aptitude for if given a chance to develop and I am going to ask her what skills she needs me to develop to be able to assist her. Basically I have been miserable for years. I can't sit there until I retire, hoping to be so inconsequential that I get forgotten about at each restructuring. And if I did lose my job I would be seriously fucked as I have nothing to sell to get another.
OP, don't end up like all the people on here. If you can't see a way to make the job work get out.

HerRoyalNotness Thu 08-Jan-15 16:30:23

youvegot it's like looking in the mirror reading your post!!

Uphigh Thu 08-Jan-15 16:33:05

OP just wanted to add something. You know the Christmas Carol and how Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his future? You should regard all of us as your ghosts of the future! Do you really want to be depressed, no confidence, no self esteem and feeling trapped in a non job for 40 years until you retire? It may be too late us but you can still save yourself........

mrsbabookaloo Thu 08-Jan-15 20:01:12

Wow, so interesting to see us all echoing each other on this thread. The worst thing about mine is that I work in education, in the public sector in a failing college, where, if someone would utilise me, I could make a real difference. I'm a waste of public money, and as other posters have said, I have worked much harder in much less well paid jobs. But if I went above my manager to point out my skills to someone who might do something about it, it would be seen as really inappropriate. God, I think I might just ask for redundancy and give myself a real kick up the arse.

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