Page 2 May 28, 2020 EL SEGUNDO HERALD
Your Neighborhood Therapist
Dear Neighborhood Therapist,
I have been at my job for eight years. I used
to really like it. When I first started, I was
doing the kind of work I had always hoped to
do. I still do some of that work, and I like my
clients, but there has been a lot of turnover in
these eight years, and it is an entirely different
workplace from the one I joined. Now, the atmosphere
is poisoned with backstabbing careerists,
and that’s just not me. The idea of talking to
my boss and some of my co-workers terrifies
me. I get actual nightmares. My income and
the health insurance my job provides are both
important to our family, but I don’t know if I
can take the stress anymore. It’s affecting my
physical health and our family life. It breaks
my heart that the company I used to love has
changed so much. I don’t know what to do.
– Between a Rock and
Hard Place, El Segundo
Dear Rock and a Hard Place,
Sometimes, if we are lucky in our work and
career, we hit the trifecta: a job that pays the
bills, offers work we find fulfilling, and has
co-workers whom we like and respect. We too
often undervalue this last aspect of our work
life. Work you love can be ruined by the wrong
people around you. Having the right people
around you can make hard jobs more tolerable.
You were lucky and caught lightning in a bottle,
but organizations change just like people do. It
sounds like you entered this job in good faith,
and willingly gave it a part of yourself only to
be betrayed years later. This stinks.
It is also something that happens with human
relationships, and thinking of this as a
relationship is a helpful way to consider your
dilemma. People often stay in relationships
because so much of their identity is connected
to what used to be the good parts. Eight years
ago when you joined, you were happy to associate
yourself with the job you did and the
people around you. Now it’s toxic. How can
you square that? You can’t. Nobody can, but
we all try because we have invested so much,
and it adds to the anxiety.
You hit on something important. Keep hammering
at this: the place has changed. The place
has changed. The place has changed. You are
not the organization you work for. You don’t
share values. This is not what you signed up
for. It is not who you are.
Only you will know if you should stay or
quit. You may be stuck in a situation that you
are powerless to change at least in the shortterm.
People stay in bad relationships or bad
jobs for all kinds of reasons, including survival.
You may find that in today’s uncertain work
environment, leaving is too risky, even in spite
of the damage the job is doing.
Many of us, at some point in our lives, find
ourselves in situations where none of our options
allow us to be our best selves. No matter what,
remember you said this about your situation:
“That’s just not me.” You know who you are,
and this job is not it.
It’s also not forever.
Please write to tom@tomandrecounseling.
com or text to 310.776.5299 with questions
about handling what is affecting your life,
your family, the community or the world. Tom
Andre is an Associate Marriage & Family
Therapist (AMFT96089) supervised by Chris
Thomas (MFT78020). The information in this
column is for educational purposes only and
nothing herein should be construed as professional
advice or the formation of a therapeutic
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