Question: I hate my job. I’m a male, 38, and though I have a great wife and kids, I’m miserable every day. My boss is a huge jerk who dislikes me, and I think a lot of the company policies and ideas suck. But I can’t leave because I have a big mortgage, and have been pushing for a promotion that would take our family’s lifestyle to a new level.
Since I’m unhappy, I’m not in the mood for sex, or even long conversations when I get home. Besides, our youngest is a colicky baby, so the sound of her crying and my wife getting in and out of bed makes for poor sleep, so I’m always tired.
Meanwhile, there’s a colleague with whom I have lunch every day, so that’s when I talk about my work problems and she really understands since she’s there. She also encourages me a lot — more than my wife does about work — and I feel an attraction between us. Sometimes I think a harmless fling with her would really boost my ability to tolerate this job, and make me less tense with the pressures at home. Your thoughts?
Need a Boost
Answer: I guess you missed the memo — To Miserable Employees: “If you think an office affair will solve your work/home problems, we’d rather you just leave the company. You’re a disaster waiting to happen.”
Why? Well, here are the potential scenarios: 1) the boss who dislikes you will use the “harmless fling” against you. 2) Your “girlfriend” will eventually create pressure for you to leave your wife and kids. If you think finances are tight now, watch out! 3) That enhanced lifestyle you seek will elude you for many long years if you divorce and are also forced to find another job.
Instead, try to resolve your main sources of dissatisfaction instead of plunging into a mess. Make discreet inquiries about jobs with other companies in your field. With your boss, show your ambition differently by trying to help him look good too. Currently, he likely thinks you’re after his job.
Most importantly, make time to talk to your wife about your work, and help her with the baby. She’s the partner you chose, be one to her. Also, a regular “date” night out together is worth far more than the cost of a babysitter.
Question: My mother’s driving me crazy. She calls several times a day and has an opinion on everything I say or do.
If I tell her that my weight is up, she’ll ask what I’m eating for every meal and make comments about its calorie content. If I tell her my husband and I had a fight two days ago, she’ll keep asking if we made up, and who’s saying what to whom, for the next week! How can I get her nose and opinions out of my business?
Answer: Stop sharing. You leave the door to your “business” wide open when you report every detail to your mother. She sees it as your signal that you need her help.
If you don’t want so many calls, set a time when it’s convenient for you to talk, and otherwise let her leave a message. When you do speak, find things to talk about in her life — how she spends her time, her interests, etc.
You can also make her feel useful by asking for help in areas where you could really use it, whether it’s recipes or any other area where she has some expertise.
TIP OF THE DAY
An affair doesn’t “fix” problems, it usually creates added chaos.