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I hate my job and feel hopelessly trapped. WWYD?

(16 Posts)
HootOnTheBeach Sun 24-Jan-16 13:25:47

Sorry in advance that this is so long.

I feel so stuck. I hate my job. I am an EA. It is stressful and demanding and not very rewarding. There is little hope for career progression - not because my boss is unsupportive, in fact he encourages me to 'do more' - but because there just isn't enough time in the day. I am often late in the office or working at the weekend. If I don't, my workload builds up even more and I am more stressed than ever.

When I raised this unreasonable workload I was told to manage my time better and HR suggested time management courses. I don't think I need time management courses, I need to be given a reasonable amount of work. I keep a record of everything I do but some senior execs are of the opinion that a 'good PA should be able to keep on top of this amount of work' - I am now questioning myself an having a crisis of confidence and my abilities and skills. I feel stupid and stressed and unhappy and feel sick on Sundays because I don't want to go back in on Monday.

So I have been applying for other roles since Christmas. I applied for 23 jobs over the Christmas period but to no avail. I tried to keep this up as I went back to work but I am exhausted at the end of the day and struggle to write cover letters. I'm tired and just want to sleep, so the volume has trickled down to c. 4 jobs per week, and again, not even an interview. I live in London so it's unbelievable that I can't find anything. I start to wonder whether I am just unemployable.

I am exhausted by everything and have stupid thoughts as to how to cope - I sometimes think that if I get hit by a bus on my way to work then I'll get time off. I am even considering, in fits of madness, having baby so that I could go on maternity leave and gather my scattered self.

I just feel so depressed and demotivated, like I'll never find another job and I will be trapped here forever. I met with recruiters, but that didn't go anywhere really. They had a few jobs I was put forward for but I wasn't selected to interview.

I don't want to resign without a job lined up because I'm scared that it will take me ages to find a job and I'll eat into my savings too much.

WWYD in my situation? I would love some perspective because I feel like I am going mad.

OneEpisode Sun 24-Jan-16 13:29:51

What would happen if you said no? If you were asked to do something and you said "no, sorry, I can't do that?".

HootOnTheBeach Sun 24-Jan-16 13:35:17

I would be asked why not. There would be a Spanish Inquisition into what I do every day and why I can't take on this 'small task'. In fact this is why I keep a record of everything I do now. I once said I didn't have the capacity to work on a project and everyone kind of came down on me and asked me endless questions about how I work and what I do.

QuiteLikely5 Sun 24-Jan-16 13:37:15

Are you an estate agent or a PA?

Either way googling tips on managing your work load better until you can get another job

MayFayner Sun 24-Jan-16 13:38:59

Are you an EA or a PA, OP? Sorry- it just isn't clear from your OP.

I was an EA (lettings) for years, absolutely hated it, I have totally the wrong temperament for the job and found it really stressful always being between the client and the tenant and rarely being able to please both.

I subsequently moved into property management which I still hated and at that point I realised I had to get out of the industry. I actually did go and have a baby grin but it was more because I had had an epiphany that I had been putting my career first for years and it just wasn't getting me anywhere in terms of personal fulfilment.

I had that baby 17 months ago (I also have a 14yo) and I'm just about to have baby no.3. I'm doing a degree from home with a view to possibly looking at secondary teaching in the future. I also used to be a Montessori teacher so I may go back to that.

Whatever happens I am not going back to being an EA. i thought for years that I was depressed but now I realise it was the job.

HootOnTheBeach Sun 24-Jan-16 13:58:20

MayFayner I am an EA based on job title and JD, I am paid a PA's salary, expected to behave at an exec level in terms of confidentiality, dealing with Board members and writing papers. It's a bit of an inconsistent mess to be honest.

I think they call me a PA to try to emotionally knock me down a few pegs when I complain.

Do you mind if I ask what your degree is in?

QuiteLikely5 It's not my time management that's the problem. I know how to manage time. I have watched endless videos and read blogs and books and they all say the same thing which I do my best to implement in my day to day work.

Hobbes8 Sun 24-Jan-16 14:04:19

I think EA here stands for Executive Assistant rather than Estate Agent.

HootOnTheBeach Sun 24-Jan-16 14:06:25

Yes sorry I'm an Executive Assistant, not an Estate Agent! Apologies for the confusion.

Heatherbell1978 Sun 24-Jan-16 14:15:01

I work in banking and I've had a few tough jobs in my time. So my first piece of advice would be to move roles, you know you need to but just to reaffirm that you're doing the right thing. If you've applied for so many jobs and had nothing back then I would be asking you to take a look at a) whether you're applying for the right jobs and b) whether your CV is up to scratch.

It's important when you're applying for jobs not to just fire your CV off everywhere. Read what the role is asking and flex your CV accordingly. I'm not suggesting lie, but if you're applying for a project manager role I'd be putting more emphasis on projects you've done, a PA role and I'd be emphasising your organisational skills and networking with colleagues. Take time over it rather than panic applying for everything you see.

MayFayner Sun 24-Jan-16 18:44:47

Oh, sorry for my rambling irrelevant post then! grin

I am studying English Lit and History at the moment (I have two other undergrad qualifications and a postgrad too- I'm one of those eternal students).

Perhaps it would help you to have a few sessions with a life coach or similar to try to crystallise what your career goals are. I had some counselling a few years ago which I think changed my mindset- although it took me another couple of years to actually act on it.

Rainshowers Sun 24-Jan-16 20:29:12

I'd try to find jobs to apply to directly. I'm also a PA and have more luck directly than through an agency-I think some recruiters just get overwhelmed so only pay attention to the first batch of applicants and just search for a handful of key words. They might not even have any knowledge of any special skills you have (e.g industry specific). Definitely have a good look at your cv (or ask a friend too) to make sure you're selling yourself as well as you can.

I hated my last PA job and felt similar to you-there just weren't enough hours in the day to get on top of things and Sunday
evenings were miserable. Ive just started a job in a completely different sector after mat leave. It's a much smaller company and expectations seem different (so far, but k realise I'm only a couple of weeks in!) I've just checked my emails and have had hardly any over the weekend, whereas in my previous job I would have had a full inbox on a Monday morning.

Good luck finding something new.

JemimaMuddleDuck Sun 24-Jan-16 20:44:58

How long have you been a PA? Do you work for one person or several?

I'm a PA. Have been for a very long time. It's a totally unappreciated and misunderstood role IME. It's also got much harder as most companies have so very few admin staff these days. Working for more than one person can be an absolute headache and very stressful. I've also found it to be the road to nowhere! Everyone thinks they know what you do but, in reality, the only people who truly understand are other PAs.

What's your financial situation? Can you contract? I've always found this a very good way of finding new jobs. At least it would get you out of your current situation and give you some thinking time.

I've worked ridiculously long hours in the past and weekends. I don't any more because I wouldn't stay in a job which required me to sweat blood. It's just not worth it.

I might add I am also looking to get out.

DragonsCanHop Sun 24-Jan-16 20:57:24

How long have you been a PA for?

I agree with jemima it's a job that all think they can do without knowing exactly what it is we do.

OneEpisode Mon 25-Jan-16 08:02:44

If you are depressed your GP could help. I wouldn't ask to be signed off, however tempting as sick leave is one of the few things employers still mention on references.
If you have too much work, or your boss(es) are bullying, could your Union help?

OneEpisode Mon 25-Jan-16 12:11:09

I don't think my last post was very helpful!
I don't know why you are stressed. I know stress is important and an employer should care about it and do something about intolerable stress.
I don't know if you have depression but I know depression is important.

I have a new boss (exec) and she is lovely and very respected. She said her pa could help me and my team. I asked the pa and the pa was lovely and said no. She had too much work already. I said thank you. I believed the pa. I didn't think less of the pa, nor did I think less of my boss. Not everyone knows everything...

feathers Mon 01-Feb-16 21:49:58

Have you tried signing up to linkedin, you get the first week for free and then get a basic pack after that. I've been using it to find a job, not found any to reply to, but I have found loads of businesses and managers etc of companies I'd like to work for.
I have loads of cover letters set up on my computer, so I don't have to come up with loads of bla bla bla for each job. I also have alerts set up for recruitment agencies, indeed and big companies.
I hope you find a new job soon xx

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