I am an engineer, and my wife is a business major. She is more miserable with her job and entire career than she has ever been, and I do not know how to help her. It's easy for me to search for jobs - I look for "mechanical engineer" or "robotics" and find positions matching my specialist skills. My wife is a generalist, and seems to hate the people that are attracted to the jobs she is qualified for. Her career unhappiness is taking a serious toll on her personal life and our marriage. Please help us figure out what to do!
It's been 3 years since I posted this question
trying to help my wife find a non-miserable career. Having just re-read it, I described the situation and my feeling of helplessness well. All of that still applies. Since then, she quit the old project management job and was recruited by an old friend to work at a small consultancy firm.
She's more miserable than ever now. As one of the commenters in the old thread pointed out, her tendency to pick up the slack for everyone has turned her into the office nag. She's in charge of managing document workflows and some project management roles. Hearing her describe it, the real project managers don't do their jobs, and she is the only one keeping people on track. Her team constantly ignores deadlines without repercussions, and since she is the last person to review documents, this results in extremely frequent late nights and weekend work for her. The people ignoring the deadlines cannot be fired because they are the "subject matter experts". Management higher-ups keep saying, "I know things have to change", but have not done anything about it. Many of them are overworked themselves and don't like hearing complainers. My wife is constantly put in positions with high responsibility and no authority. She is a perfectionist, which is why upper-level management likes her; she will not let substandard work be delivered, so she suffers for the incompetency and lateness of her coworkers.
She has now worked at several similar companies, and from my discussions with her, it seems that the type of people who she hates working with are attracted to this kind of work. They tend to be dominant, loud, and cliquey, and she is introverted with low self-esteem. She is constantly correcting their mistakes at the expense of her own time and happiness.
I don't even know where to start in helping her correct the situation. I've suggested three tracks:
1) Change her perspective by focusing on the good. She gets to work from home a large percentage of the time, and the job pays very well, for starters.
2) Change her situation. I've suggested she stand up for herself more and try to force management to do something about the embarrassingly bad performance of the other employees. She has started to do this, but they seem rather impotent at making any changes.
3) Look for new jobs in the meantime, if only to feel more empowered. She is overwhelmed by this task and after a series of jobs with similar results, feels that it may be this way forever.
As I said in the intro, I have no idea how to search for positions for a generalist. She is a person who "gets things done". She likes planning and checklists and spreadsheets. However, she loathes being in situations where she is the only one who cares about these things. She has an amazing work ethic. She works in Office software all day. These are the skills listed on nearly every job that has ever existed.
She's read all the books and done all the exercises. Nothing seems to help. Can you, AskMeFi?