The dream job has become a nightmare
November 29, 2012 6:48 AM Subscribe
I have a fantastical dream career. I am something kids say they want to be when they grow up. It's amazing, and I love it. I'm one of the top twenty or so people in my area of my field in the world. On a daily basis, I pinch myself, I cannot believe my luck. Here's the thing: I hate my actual job
so much that I think I'm going to spontaneously combust. Would I be stupid to leave? Is there any way I can figure out how to stay and be happy?
posted by anonymous to work & money (21 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
This is a classic case of getting sucked up into management and everything going to shit. The amazing balance of creative/quantitative that used to make me thrilled to get out of bed in the morning is gone, in favor of navigating a weird and Kafkaesque bureaucracy in order to get even the tiniest things accomplished. I could go on for paragraphs about my misery and the Peter Principle reasons for it, but the short version is: I've been slowly getting more and more unhappy over the last few months as it's become clear that my employer is not interested in meaningfully supporting my department, and I am resolved that something has to change.
Unfortunately, because I'm so (relatively) accomplished in my profession, jobs like mine aren't exactly lying around on the ground—in fact, any jobs in my industry aren't exactly lying around on the ground. I have no idea what to do: I'm terrified of leaving without a safety net, and I'm scared that if I leave now, I'll realize in a year or ten that it was a terrible decision. Still, I feel an almost physical compulsion to quit my job almost every time I get off a conference call about shrinking budgets or get out of an email chain where someone blatantly lies about their asset requirements or whatever.
I love what my job is supposed to be. But I can't handle what appears to be my gradual conversion into a cog in this ineffective system. I have savings to cover a few months of (frugal) soul-searching, but I don't want to search my soul. I want to be doing my job as it was six months ago, before I saw inside the sausage factory.
I know my question is vague, but I'm hoping you smart MeFites can figure out what the real core question is, because I keep going in circles within my misery and ambivalence and love and hate, and can't seem to get my thoughts straight. (Yes, I'm in therapy.) Is this the time to take the deep breath and re-center and stay where I am and try to make it better? Is it time to take the deep breath and leap into the unknown? I don't want to give up a great, great thing, but I don't know how to handle it now that this great thing isn't actually great anymore.