Moment Of Clarity

I’m Stuck in a Job I Hate!

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This week, Jinnie answers a talkback question from the JET inbox.  If you have a question for our Moment of Clarity therapist, e-mail it to and she may address it in a future column.  We will respect all requests for anonymity.

Dear Jinnie,

I’ve worked at one company my entire adult life (22 years) and I hate it. It has taken a toll on my personal life: I am depressed and began drinking heavily.  My wife feels that I have given up and am stuck. My boss even told me that he didn’t see me advancing in his company anymore and would be disappointed if I stayed for another five years. I earned a degree while working there, got a title promotion, and menial raise. On the bright side, I have entered a program and have been sober for the last year. Can you tell me how I can begin to get motivated to think about where to go from here?

Dear John,

Thank you for your question and trust in letting me help with your job situation. There are many things that could be affecting your ability to get motivated but it sounds like you are on the right path to getting started.

Joining a program is the first thing that you needed to do that … and you did!!! Allow yourself to enjoy that accomplishment because it really is HUGE.  While staying sober is a commitment, making the commitment is often the hardest thing to do. With that said, please know that you are so much stronger than you realize.

I won’t bore you with the research and books on how to get motivated as it may be more helpful and easier to hold on to the following:

1)   Discover the essence of what you want to do. Notice how I didn’t say, “know what you want to do.” It is in the quest to discover something that you become excited and motivation begins to take root. When you look for “the essence” of what you want to do, you are looking for the core of what this new career/employer will provide you: comfort, acceptance, excitement, etc. As you start to get familiar with the essence, you begin to identify careers/employers that align with you.

For example, when I started doing therapy, I didn’t know this was even a career. Then as I began to think about the essence of what I wanted to do, I realized that I wanted to feel excited about helping make other people’s lives better. I came up with several possible careers, looked into each of them, and realized that therapy was the best fit for me. There were a lot of frustrations but, in time, I got through them.

The best way to discover the essence of what you want is to use a seasoned life or professional coach. Since you have some depression and are in recovery, working with a coach who is also a clinician (therapist, psychologist, etc) would be ideal.

2)   Give yourself permission to be frustrated. While you may know that the answer will not come easily, the level of frustration you actually experience can be a surprise. When you get frustrated, gently remind yourself that this is part of the process the refocus on the goal.

3)   Once you discover what you would like to do, immerse yourself in learning about it and training to do it well. You may realize that you have to go back to school; and that’s OK. Regardless of what you do, ongoing learning will likely be a part of your new career.

4)   Connect with others in the industry. Networking is key because it helps you learn more about the industry you’re going in to as well as helps you build a support system with like-minded professionals.

5)   Face your fears. This is hard to do and can be frightening when you do it. If this happens, gently remind yourself that your courage is greater than your fear.

6)   Find something or someone bigger than you to serve as your symbol. Everyone hits a runner’s wall and toys with giving up. Having a person like your wife, child, or mother; or an object like your country, family, etc. can help you push through when you need it most.

7)   Take your wife with you. Since you’re married, it’s important to remember where you came from and who was there with you when things were really bad. Keep your wife in the loop and share with her not only your failures, but also your successes; not just your sorrows, but also your joys. This will help you grow together.

I hope this was helpful, John. Wish you pleasant journeys!

Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW

Do you have a question for our “Moment of Clarity” JET Therapist, Jinnie? Email us at We’ll be sure to keep it anonymous and confidential. 

Jinnie Cristerna, affectionately known as “The High Achievers Therapist”, works with talented people to help them release emotional pain and psychological roadblocks so they can achieve their personal and professional goals. Specializing in psychotherapy, heart centered hypnotherapy, vibrational energy, meditation, and personality development, Jinnie has a nearly 90 percent success rate with her clients.  Sign up for Jinnie’s High Achiever newsletter here or join her on Facebook and Twitter!