my job sucks

Today I have a ranty post inspired by an email from an anonymous reader. Let’s call him Ranty to preserve his current position (sad as it may be).

Update: Krista Francis of Optimistic Workplace has written a helpful set of posts for Ranty. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here. Be sure to check them out!

The Life of a Flunkie

My job is horrible. I took a job with the expectation that I would move up to more responsibility within a few months. My supervisor originally made it clear that he wants to make sure my talents and skills are utilized to build up the company and our department. It’s been almost a year now, and I still come in every day and do the same sucky stuff as always.

Most of my time is spent sorting, organizing, and filing papers. Yes, I know it needs to be done, but I have a degree. I have ideas and the enthusiasm to pursue them. Well, I had the enthusiasm to pursue them. When I started this job, I worked on little improvements left and right. I spent time outside work thinking of ways to help my office and my organization to get better. Now I spend as little time as possible thinking about that crummy place. Even when I’m at work, I don’t concentrate, and I can’t make myself care. I tried to do extra in order to keep my attention and help stave off death from boredom. I received some advice from a friend to work on some projects and bring those to my boss in an effort to showcase my abilities. My research and proposal were dismissed before I could even make my case completely.

I’m torn. I can stay here and hope to actually do something useful at some point in the future, or I can try to leave. The only reason I’m hesitant to go is because I like this company and want to make it better. I can’t make it better if my time is spent doing meaningless crap. When I bring up the fact to my boss about me doing more fulfilling work, he replies that it’s a “learning experience.” I desperately want to say, “Yeah, this job sucks, I learned that months ago. Now what?”

It would even be nice to get a little professional development in the way of some coaching or something, but I’m getting shoved into a corner with my files and ignored.

Unless my boss hires someone else, I’ll never be able to get out from under this junk and do something valuable. Want to know the last time one of our employees said something about how nice the files looked? Never. Want to know how many problems we have that could be solved if I had the uninterrupted time? Probably about a dozen.

Ben, I’ve read your blog for a long time and I respect your opinion. What can I do? Do I really have to leave in order for someone to take me seriously? Please help!

I’m opening this up to the floor before I post my response. Any help for poor Ranty? Matt left a great comment on my HR intern post recently that applies here, I think.

No good. One suggestion would be to see a need or a project that could use some work – you probably see areas in need way more than they do! Then, without telling them (and while also finishing your grunt work) rock that project out hard. Research it, plan, and present it to them. “Check this out guys, in my free time I identified a massive need you have and here is ways to solve it, along with my suggestion and solution here”. You demonstrate the value of putting you on “good projects”. If you don\’t feel you are given the opportunity to do rewarding work after that (then put that project in your portfolio) and find another job!

The only problem is that Ranty has tried to do some work like that and was pretty much ignored. Should he stay and fight it out or should he move along? Give Ranty some love, people!

Photo by Chuck Biscuito.

Subscribe for updates and get the free Organizational Culture Change Manifesto eBook

Subscriber Preferences
  • 6 thoughts on “Ranty Rant: Life of a Flunkie

    1. Hi Ranty (and Ben),

      Sorry you’re having a hard time getting ahead at your job. I have lots of ideas for you, and the resulting response is probably too long for a comment here. How would you like me to share them with you (assuming you want to hear them)?

      Krista Francis

    2. Krista, Ben asked me if you could do it as a blog post and I thought that would work. Maybe someone else who is having this problem will see the post and be helped. Maybe you can email him or something?

      Thanks for caring!

    3. Hi Ranty, I wouldn’t give up on your situation yet. There are more things you can try, and in the end if you decide to leave, you can do so intentionally, with some learning under your belt and with preparation to move you to your next opportunity. That’s kind of the direction I’m going in my response. The first third is up at http://optimisticworkplace.blogspot.com/.

      Good luck, Krista

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *