Thursday 10 March 2011

Stuck in a Massive Rut

Claire writes:

Hi there,

I feel like I’m stuck in a massive major rut at the moment and on and off I’ve been experiencing bouts of depression.

I’m unhappy in my job it’s not stimulating enough and the environment is wrong for me. I work in engineering and I am not the tiniest bit interested in this company or what it does. After an incident of sexual harassment that I reported last year this has just made things worse as the perpetrator still works here although I got him moved up the office away from me. I’ve had support from many colleagues as the incident was quite bad but none of the management seemed very sympathetic much to everyone’s disgust. Now this has happened I dread coming in to work every day. I’ve been at this company for just over two years because I can’t find anything else that matches the money and I’ve looked for other jobs but nothing’s come up. I find it hard to cope coming here every day and try to think positive thoughts to keep myself going but I keep thinking ‘what’s going to happen in the next weeks, few months, years – what if I’m still

What I have done is taken a positive step and started to study for my NVQ2 in beauty therapy, part time evening and I’m doing really well at this. My only concern is that I won’t be able to study for the next level up NVQ3 as the course doesn’t run part time anywhere. It’s my only hope of getting myself out of this unhappy situation.

Since we had half term from college I’ve started to feel deflated and de-motivated although I’ve done all of my homework and am always prepared for classes. I keep thinking – what if it doesn’t work out?

I feel like I’m sitting in an office job I can’t bear and something new is just around the corner but I don’t know how to get it? I don’t know whether to just go to beauty salons and ask advise as my course isn’t finished yet or what to do. Our tutor isn’t particularly helpful in giving advice either as the course is intense and she’s always rushed off her feet.

Can you please help give me some balance, motivation and hope?

Kind regards,

Hello Claire.

I'm sorry to hear about your difficulties.

Although the harassment incident was traumatic it seems to be in the past and that your main issue is the work rut, so I'll focus on that.

I'll start with your comment about not being able to find anything else that matches the money.

As I very often say, you can probably have anything you want, but you probably can't have everything you want. A cut in salary (perhaps only temporarily) may well be the price of unlocking the trap you're in.

Most of us manage our lives in such a way as to fully allocate all of our money at all times - no matter how much of it we have. This is the most common trap I see. "I can't leave work because I have a huge mortgage and three kids in private school". These people refuse to accept they're wealthy because they can't afford a Chinese take-out on a Friday night. Understandable, but it's not about being poor, it's about not liking the priorities you've set for your money.

I don't know if you're in that camp or not, but chance are you have the same symptoms, if not on that scale. The average income in the UK is £24,000 p.a. What I'm saying is that in order to make changes, some things have to change, and sometimes, you have to pay something to get something. Often in coaching, I am able to show clients their choices more clearly. There are always choices, but we reflex-reject most before seriously considering them because they involve some kind of a loss.

So I invite you to think about things on the scale of a lifetime, and then to ask yourself how much you need to earn to be OK, and to balance being OK financially in a job you despise against being less well-off but still OK in a job you love.

Another possibility is that - faced with little certainty about what you really want for your future, you're reluctant to invest the time and energy necessary to find some really great opportunities to meet your needs. Perhaps you feel deep-down it's all doomed. Irrational thinking like this is entirely normal - but it's entirely unhelpful too, so I often help clients to see straighter by asking central questions, and cross-checking with other things they've said. It's not about being unkind to them, it's about helping them to see things more clearly. With clearer vision, they can find a clearer vision (!) which can help a hell of a lot with motivation - which drives energy, creativity and stamina.

Another blockage I often see in clients is a reluctance to think big enough to "find the edges" of their situation. A possible example is your NVQ3 course. You say you can't find one part-time, and I wonder if you've considered either travelling further afield, or studying fulltime. Perhaps there are grants or loans available, or some other means of making this work. Maybe not - I don't know enough about you - but don't kick this into touch too hastily. See if you can bend it to fit your objectives.

The deflation you speak about is probably a combination of (a) not liking where you are (b) not really believing you're going to be able to dig yourself out. Did I mention I'm a life coach? :o)

Claire, I can't give you motivation directly, but I can work with you to remove the obstacles which prevent you form giving it to yourself. I hope these ideas are helpful, but if not, do feel free to come back for another bite. This is your life we're talking about - the only one you'll ever have - so it's worth taking some time to sort out.

Take care,

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  1. This is an all too familiar scenario.

  2. Loved the post Chris, I see now I have a similar situation to Claire´s and yur advice has already made me feel bettr. Sometimes it is difficult to think outside the box

  3. Thanks folks, Maria, I hopwe it's still good for you.