What to do when you're 'malemployed'
March 8th, 2012
07:50 AM ET

What to do when you're 'malemployed'

Editor's note: CNN contributor Amanda Enayati ponders the theme of seeking serenity: the quest for well-being and life balance in stressful times.

“Ruin my weekend? My boss ruined my life!”

So wrote JJ Jeffers, one of a few hundred commenters on last week’s story, “Is your boss ruining your weekend?

“My new boss makes me work every weekend,” wrote commenter kit8. “Hence, I don’t feel stress about going to work on Monday as I am always at work.”

It’s the plight of the malemployed, defined by Urban Dictionary as “when what you do for a living makes you want to kill yourself.”

“[W]hat’s fouling up my weekend is that my boss keeps bringing in more work and not planning enough personnel to do it,” wrote another commenter, randumb guy. “We are building an economy based on extracting more from fewer.”

Dude agreed: “Our department … got busier and busier until we reached a point where we were at a full sprint from the moment you clocked in until you left for the day. …Then they added additional work. Then even more work … there was always one that came up a little short at the end of the week. At the weekly meetings they would always bring them up and mention ‘disciplinary [sic] up to and including termination.’”

Stress is not necessarily a bad thing, Dr. Rajita Sinha, the head of Yale’s Stress Center, once told me.

“It’s stress that is sustained, uncontrollable and overwhelming, where people can’t figure out options to solve their problems, that is damaging.”

Unfortunately for many, work fits this latter bill.

A vast body of epidemiological and public health literature suggests that certain types of workplace practices have an adverse effect on human health and life span, according to Jeffery Pfeffer, professor of organizational behavior at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and author of “Power: Why Some People Have It - and Others Don’t.”

And so JJ Jeffers’s comment is not far off the mark. Your boss may not just be ruining your weekend; he or she may be doing severe physical and psychological harm.

“Look at it in terms of ‘exposures,’” says Pfeffer. Layoffs, being uninsured or underinsured, the absence of job control and long work hours can all serve as exposures to a host of diseases and pathologies - high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, sleep disorders and alcoholism, among others.

And many of the toxic practices that are harming employees are also harming their companies.

“When you don’t offer your employees health insurance, they come to work sick,” says Pfeffer. “They suffer from absenteeism and presenteeism. They are so distracted, they don’t get much done. And long working hours being more productive? That’s a myth that turns out not to be true.”

So what options does a malemployed worker have?

There are no instant cures for people stuck in nasty workplaces, says Robert Sutton, Stanford professor and best-selling author of books like “Good Boss, Bad Boss” and “The No A**hole Rule.” But you do have options:


First, asks Sutton, are you really stuck? In some situations, an exit may be your best option.

“Sometimes I see people who believe that leaving their company or taking a step down is unthinkable. They are overworked, stressed out and physically sick all the time, but they won’t leave to protect their physical and mental health. It’s the devil you know versus the devil you don’t. But you know what? Living a longer life and being happier is worth it.”

“There are also regions and specific areas where growth is pretty good,” Sutton continues. “Think through the possibilities, go to an employment counselor, talk to friends who have left and been successful.”

What about starting your own business?

“You absolutely have to be realistic about entrepreneurship,” suggests Lindsey Pollack, career expert and author of “Getting From College to Career.”

“You need a particular skill set and a particular internal drive to do it. Starting your own business is not for everyone.”

However, notes Pollack, our economy and the expanding role of technology are moving us toward a work culture where many more people are - and will be - free agents. Freelancing and consulting are a huge trend. There is a middle ground now between being a full-time benefited employee and being a totally independent sole proprietor. Look for opportunities in that middle space.

Fight back.

You should challenge your own assumptions in negative workplace situations, says Sutton.

If you examine the research on power and self-awareness, 50% (or more) of the time your boss may not understand how he or she is affecting people. So your working assumption should not be that your boss is the devil’s first cousin - but that he or she may be clueless and unaware.

A frank conversation may address your problem, something to the effect of: “There are things that you and/or this company are doing to me that are making it hard for me both physically and emotionally. I’m willing to work hard and be dedicated, but I can’t run a marathon consistently at this pace.”

“Some of it is just having the conversation,” says Sutton. “Don’t assume you can’t reason with management.”

Pollack agrees that communication is key.

“Clarify both what your job expectations are and how your boss likes to be communicated with. Maybe she likes to have clearer channels. Oftentimes the problem’s due to a lack of communication. You may be working hard, but if you’re not doing what your boss wants, you are going to have trouble.”
If at the end of the day nothing else works, you may want to channel Machiavelli.

“Find ways to weaken an oppressive boss or undermine them politically,” suggests Sutton. “I have had cases where individuals who tried to fight back failed. But once people banded together and made the case, they were able to oust an overbearing and exploitive manager.”


Every once in a while Sutton receives an email that says something like: “My job situation is unbearable, but I’m two years away from retirement. What do I do?”
These are the times when you have to suffer through, he says. You’ve got to figure out how to get through without doing as much damage to yourself. Do everything you can to keep yourself in better physical and mental shape. Find ways to escape.

“I’m a big believer in living the fine art of emotional detachment. Sometimes there is an argument to be made for going through the motions without letting it touch your soul.”

The good news is that there appears to be a dawning realization that malemployment isn’t going to end on its own.

“We have to slow down and recognize that we are running a marathon,” says Sutton. “We can’t sprint every moment of every day. People are realizing that they are burning each other out.”

soundoff (361 Responses)
  1. maxine

    this sounds like my poor daughter, 2 jobs to make ends meet, with an uber micro managing boss to boot at the main job.
    She needs a day off!

    March 8, 2012 at 08:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mbane

      Than your daughter is a "real American" according to republicans. Working two jobs is the American way,

      March 8, 2012 at 08:34 | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      @Mbane – Show me where the Republicans feel that way. I think you need your meds!

      March 8, 2012 at 08:39 | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      That is only for the 99% Mbane.

      March 8, 2012 at 09:05 | Report abuse |
    • Clueless Millenials

      It's actually Patrick and 'Guest' that are the ignorant ones here. Someday you kids will be all grown up and understand what we are talking about.

      March 8, 2012 at 09:17 | Report abuse |
    • Mbane

      Do I need to post the youtube link with "president" Bush stating that ""real" Americans work 2 jobs? I'm sure you can find it yourself.

      March 8, 2012 at 09:42 | Report abuse |
    • followup

      Mbane may have been referring to the incident where Bush Jr. was speaking with a woman who said she was struggling and had to work multiple jobs to which he just grinned and told her she was a good American rather than offering empathy or solutions.

      March 8, 2012 at 09:54 | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Mbane's "American Way" is food stamps and government checks. That's a much more dignified way of life, and it helps to spread the wealth around.

      2 jobs is such a humiliating proposition.

      March 8, 2012 at 09:54 | Report abuse |
    • Ryan

      Come on followup! What is the president of the US supposed to do about someone who is working 2 jobs? If a person is unhappy working 2 jobs, that person should get an education or a skill and find 1 good job! What is so abhorrent about taking responsibility for your own life? Your idol Obama has said a number of stupid things too, but I don't care because I take responsibility for my own life and situation. I just wish government would get the hell out of the way.

      March 8, 2012 at 09:59 | Report abuse |
    • MissLara

      What I wonder, like your daughter, is how many of people working two jobs to make ends meet are living a lifestyle beyond their means. Does she have to work two jobs to make hefty car payments and pay for a house she cant afford and is too big for her and her family? People in this country need to figure out how to downsize their lives and not try to "keep up with the Jones' " in return for their health and happiness.

      March 8, 2012 at 10:04 | Report abuse |
    • jimmy

      Mbane is right! you should telll her to quit both jobs, and get on food stamps and goverment aid, like a true democrat =0)

      March 8, 2012 at 10:12 | Report abuse |
    • livefree88

      The farmer that puts food on your table works from sun up to sundown 7 days a week...quit ur whining. When I started the work force I worked 7 days a week on two jobs. I was thanking my lucky stars I had the opportunity to better my lot in life.

      March 8, 2012 at 10:19 | Report abuse |
    • BSinAtlanta

      Quit blaming democrats...I am a proud democrat who works two jobs to cover my expenses that are by no means beyond my means. At the ripe age of 26 right before the market meltdown I bought a modest condo (about 700 sq ft) that is now worth 60% of what I bought it for(but I get to pay the former value)...I have owned the same car for over 10 years...I went to school to get my MBA...I have made all of the choices that I was supposed to and guess what I am struggling to make my ends meet. I am not asking for a handout in any way shape or form but 100% understand the struggles and burdens the younger generation is being put under. Yes hard work is vital to success but it does not equate to automatic success.

      March 8, 2012 at 10:22 | Report abuse |
    • jimmy

      nothing personnal, I was just responding to MBane who was blaming the republicans and wanted people to see how st**d this was. it does not matter what party you are i am an independent because I don't believe in this side is right because my party said so. i do understand your burden. I am in the military, our pay is nothing to be really happy about and people blame us for everything. yet we still do it. we work at a minimum 8 hrs a day, normaly 10-12 and at times 14 hrs. when we are deploy our normal working hours are 12hrs a day normaly 14-16 and at times you wander when was the last time that you slep or ate. my wife has two jobs, so we can make ends meet. yes i could get out but I have 5 more years before i retire and get free medical for the rest of my life guess what we just going to deal with it.

      March 8, 2012 at 10:36 | Report abuse |
    • The Janissaire

      You could also form a Union and go on strike – companies that forced you to work long hours on weekends or basically made you a slave of the firm is one of the reasons Unions were created in the first place.

      March 8, 2012 at 10:38 | Report abuse |
    • jimmy

      Union??? Strike??? against the military??? i know, I know. well unions do not always helps sometimes they make things worst. there are good things about them and there are bad things about it. before your work force deside to get on a union you must think and really plan about this union idea. you don't need a union to go on strike. you don't need a union to get your demands meet. don't act like the goverment and bomb first then talk about why you bomb them. talk!! tlak first then deside your next course of action. you need to also know your companies rules, it may be your boss the one doing so and not the company

      March 8, 2012 at 10:59 | Report abuse |
    • Dude


      I am one of the people who lives beyond my means.

      I buy raw foods in bulk and cook breakfasts and lunches 30 at a time and freeze them. This keeps those meals under $2.00 each. I could give up one meal a day to live within my means.

      I generally eat dinner at home, when I could eat dinner at a local dumpster to live within my means.

      I do my clothes shopping at the upscale thrift store. I could shop at the cheaper one and just not worry about getting things my size to live within my means.

      I spend hours each week mending clothes. I could just wear them ripped and save all that money I spend in thread.

      My car is over 15 years old. But, I keep splurging on things like brake pads. I could just ignore the squeaking in the brakes to live within my means.

      I often spend all day on home repairs that I do not know how to do and live with the results. Rather than pay for trained repair person. I could just seal off one bathroom and wash dishes in the bathtub to live within my means.

      The highest I have set my heating all winter was 65F. Usually, I left it off entirely. I could have sold my heating / AC unit to live within my means.

      I've gotta go get some work done for my boss. The CEO has been reduced to using $50 bills to light his cigars. He really prefers the taste of $100s.

      March 8, 2012 at 11:11 | Report abuse |
    • Sarah79

      I'm getting on here late, but, does your daughter absolutely HAVE to work two jobs? Are there no other options? Where does she live and what is her debt/income ratio?

      Many people work two jobs to save or supplement their income. It doesn't mean that they NEED two jobs. Also, how experienced is she? Many people just starting out start out at a lower wage and need to supplement until they are making more money.

      It's not about working two jobs. It's about WHY people are working two jobs. If you are doing it because you didn't get an education and instead popped out four kids, you planned wrong. If it's to get ahead or save for vacation or other luxuries, it's not quite the same.

      March 8, 2012 at 13:25 | Report abuse |
    • Sarah79

      To the people making it a democrat or republican thing, it's not about politics. It's about work. Why do you have to constantly chirp in with this or that about dems and repubs.

      To the 26 year old, it is usually harder right after college. Once you have more experience to put on your resume', that's when you should start doing better. Unfortunately, our degrees aren't what they used to be due to the fact that so many people have them these days. It's more like a HS diploma these days.

      March 8, 2012 at 13:31 | Report abuse |
    • Violette

      Where I live in Southern California according to our County is requires $80,000 for a family of four to live with basic needs here. You take both parents working at $10/hr. (more than minimum wage BTW) and that comes out to $41,600/yr. Where does the other $38,400 come from? Here, a basic 2 bdrm apt costs $1500/mo. = $18,000/yr. And don't tell me move to a place with a lower standard of living, it's lower because there are no jobs. I know many people from here who tried that and failed. All the kids coming out of college can't even find jobs or they find low pay starter jobs and they have to pay their student loans too. I had at least two jobs most of my working life and at one time had 3 jobs – a full time office job, a part time waitress job and cleaned the building I worked in 3 times a week. It is horrible that a person can work until they drop and still can't pay all the bills and eat. Here you NEED a car too since everything is so spread out and public transportation is nonexistent.

      March 8, 2012 at 13:50 | Report abuse |
    • Sarah79

      Violette, isn't minimum wage in Southern Cal $10/HR? It is in San Fran(trying to keep people there). I understand what you are saying, but aren't there places in Southern Cal where you can find affordable housing outside of San Diego and commute to work? Many people have left the bay area and moved to more affordable places and commute to work instead of paying inflated rent. Is that not an option? You can't make it in certain areas without a decent job and as long as people are going to pay $1500 for a two bedroom, rents won't come down in price. Love it or leave it.

      March 8, 2012 at 14:06 | Report abuse |
    • real american

      If your daughter needs a day off – she should use her vacation time to take one. If she doesn't get vacation time, she should request a day w/o pay. If she can't afford it, she should rethink her daily expenses. There are some people who have valid reasons for falling behind, and having to struggle to work their way up (disability, illness, layoffs, etc) In what I see – there are a lot more who belive that a $100/mo cell phone with data plan is "necessary", that fake nails and highlights are "necessary" that they "need" a dinner out once a week to forget about their misery, and that clothes shopping at over priced mall-trash stores they consider "fashion" is also a necessity. I make more than a great deal of people in our country. BUT – I also have a $100/mo phone plan that includes 4 people in my household, 3 adults and one teenager – no data plan for any of us, no unnecessary extras, and no landline in the house anymore. I treat myself to a salon hair color rinse once a YEAR – outside of that I get $12 Great Clips trims every other month. I cook for my family every night after work – my crockpot is my friend. And – I still shop for clothing at Goodwill. I learned those things when I was starting out and struggling at a low paying job, and by learning to make those types of personal choices, I never had to work 2 jobs, even when I found myself as a single parent raising 3 kids on a lower than most salary. I stuck it out, and my skills, and my pay, and my quality of life improved. Too many people think that they should start out at the midlevel – where they remember there parents being – and yet few of them are willing to put forth the effort their parents did to get to that point!

      March 8, 2012 at 16:18 | Report abuse |
    • JeramieH

      You're right Violette, there's nowhere else in the world other than SoCal.

      That's fine, you stay there and complain about your standard of living, that leaves job openings for the rest of us in the world.

      March 8, 2012 at 17:15 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      MissLara: Maybe ten years ago, people could get a clue and downsize so that they wouldn't have to work two jobs. But now, 1. in many cities they need two jobs for a small apartment; 2. in many places they need two jobs to try to pay off their education loans, or to keep up if they do not have higher education; 3. if they have the big house, they can't sell it if they wanted to; 4. two jobs, even for college-educated positions, do not pay enough for the cost of living in most cities (not just a studio apartment, but food and buses to get there). You at least need shoes to be able to walk to work; no job will allow you to wear flip-flops to work. And finally, 5. if everybody had a college education, there would not be enough jobs in that category, somebody has to pick up your garbage and pave your street. Hasn't anybody ever thought that we should be building a society, not just whipping people so that the rich could build more mansions?

      March 9, 2012 at 23:54 | Report abuse |
    • KeithTexas

      Miss Laura – you are full of crap

      March 11, 2012 at 00:22 | Report abuse |
  2. woodrow

    I believe you should stay and insist on a fair schedule. Just because he's your boss doesn't mean he knows what he is doing. You have to help him figure that out. He may be trying to do too much with too little. You have to make sure he understands that.

    March 8, 2012 at 08:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Matt

      There are probably 10 unemployed people ready to take that job. Demanding a fair schedule is not going to work.

      March 8, 2012 at 09:13 | Report abuse |
    • dhondi

      first world problems.

      March 8, 2012 at 09:19 | Report abuse |
    • jimmy

      you have to talk to your buss and make him see your point of vew. make him see, how much better it will be with extra personnel to handle the load, how with just one more person helping you do what he wants he won't only get everything on time even early but it will increase production. and you will be helping someone else get a job=) the trick to make your buss to do anything for you or that you want is to make him believe it's his idea=0)

      March 8, 2012 at 10:18 | Report abuse |
    • Thomas


      Care to share some tips on how we can MAKE our boss see our viewpoint?

      March 8, 2012 at 15:49 | Report abuse |
    • Dude

      I explained to my boss what the new scheduling policy was doing to me and they gave me every day off, without pay, forever.

      Before they fired me, they made sure I understood how many people would be willing to work under those terms.

      March 8, 2012 at 17:10 | Report abuse |
  3. Wren Sharpbeak

    And what about the employers who engage in these practices of overworking, underpaying, and generally being over-demanding of their employees? How can they be allowed to treat people this way?

    My husband just quit a "full time" job that worked him 10-12 hours a day, two days a week (for an unlivable 20-24 hours a week – hardly full time) and consistently was required to perform tasks that were originally designed to be handled by THREE people. I fully supported his decision to leave and am actually trying to convince him to go into business for himself rather than take another job where they will just work him like a dirty farm animal again.

    March 8, 2012 at 08:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ghost

      Yes! Protect the farm animals!!

      March 8, 2012 at 10:36 | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      I work 10 hour days regularly 5 days a week....12 hour days are not uncommon.

      Working 2 days a week and getting full time status sounds pretty good to me. Not sure what you're complaining about. Your husband could have worked that job 2 days a week and then begin to start up his business on the other 5.

      March 8, 2012 at 11:06 | Report abuse |
    • Elsie

      Yes Alex, but in what industry do you work?

      I believe her point by putting the "full time" in quotes was that the employer called the job full time but neither the pay or benefits (assuming there were any benefits) were not reflective of full time status. further, what state are you in, what state is the commenter in. Are you properly exempt from over time, was the commenter. If not exempt then are you being properly paid overtime, is e commenter?

      Working a job that used to take 3 people to do, unless it have been 66% automated, is abusive plain and simple. Humans break. Employers that cause their human resources to break are legally liable for the damage.

      Federal and state labor laws exist because nearly 100 years ago medical science demonstrated that the work conditions being suffered by the American worker were causing HARM. Unions developed for the same reason.

      Today, employers may not be killing people daily in slaughter houses, but they are nonetheless killing people with outrageous demands that the human body and mind are not designed to cope with on a continual basis. Many of the health problems we have in the US can be traced back to the employment conditions we work in modernly. If you are working 14 hours a day 7 days a week just to keep a roof over your head...when exactly are you to make time for an hour or more a day of exercise? Or eat healthy since you cannot cook health meals in the company break room, but rather eat frozen crap or sandwiches.

      Employment makes up the majority of what most people do in their lives, there is a corollary between the unhealthy environment in US workplaces and in unhealthy Americans.

      March 8, 2012 at 11:27 | Report abuse |
  4. Howard

    Well, I sympathize with the overworked, but on the other hand, there are LOTS of unemployed people who'd gladly trade places with these overworked souls. The labor market is a pendulum, and the pendulum always swings both ways. For a long time, it was the employee who had the upper hand because it was so hard (and expensive) to find replacement workers. Now the shoe is on the other foot, and employers can advertise in Craigslist for a few dollars and get hundreds of resumes in response.

    March 8, 2012 at 08:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • duh

      The reason there are lots of unemployed is because there are lots of overworked. See how it works?

      Why hire another person if you can threaten, berate, and cajole the people you have into doing more for the same amount?

      March 8, 2012 at 08:34 | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      Uh, Duh, it's more efficient to pay overtime to experienced workers than it is to train new ones to pick up the slack. In addition, each new employee brings payroll tax and benefits costs that has already been paid for the existing workforce. Duh! It helps if you've ever had to operate a business and meet a payroll to understand the manager's side of the coin instead of just talking through your hat. Duh.

      March 8, 2012 at 09:58 | Report abuse |
    • zers

      Howard, you don't see the problem with that? Can you not see that is a big part of the problem that Americans face today? Employees are working harder and longer, while business holds on to more money than they have ever had....

      March 8, 2012 at 10:25 | Report abuse |
    • Dude

      Howard. What is even cheaper is to not pay overtime.

      Keep your company chronically understaffed.
      Threaten to fire employees who go into overtime.
      Give each employee 50 hours of work each week.
      They will find creative ways to work at home for free.
      Write email replies on your home computer and take them in on a thumb drive.
      Take questions home and do Google research on your own time.
      Study new processes on your own time.
      and so on.
      If anyone complains, point out how that "the other employees are getting the job done" and how easy it is to replace you. A few well timed firings will get the point across that you are serious.

      Result is a win win. The company wins because they get hundreds of hours of work done and the company wins because they don't have to pay.

      And they pass the savings on to the CEO.

      March 8, 2012 at 10:54 | Report abuse |
    • Elsie

      They wouldn't be overworked if companies would provide the appropriate number of employees to do the job.

      Why won't they? Greed. If they can force the current employees to do the work it used to take three people to do, the employer gets to keep the two other salaries for themselves. The employees don't complain because "there are 10 people standing inline to take their job.". When the employee breaks, the employer knows they can just go pick another one off the street and subject that one to the same conditions. As long as there is hig unemployment the pattern will continue. And companies who get fat of the salary savings will have no incentive to hire to the appropriate levels so the unemployment levels will be very slow to return to a stable number. So the pattern will continue. "Do more with less (eventually you will do it all with nothing)"

      This pattern is what IS happening now, you can see it everywhere. Employees are terrified to speak out about abuse because they will be fired and easy to replace. If they get I'll, fired and replaced. Etc.

      This is EXACTLY what was happening in cities like Chicago and NY at the turn of the 20th century and is exactly why we have labor laws in the first place. If employers don't wise up quick they might find themselves faced with harsher labor laws then they currently are "burdened" with.

      March 8, 2012 at 11:35 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      You really scare me, Howard. In my city, an "employer" put an ad on Craig's list that killed several people: they found a few bodies. This is no way to run a country. Employees deserve some protections. If both the employers and employees are being squeezed, then fair trade laws as well as labor laws should be put into place. If it is a problem with payroll tax, then the payroll tax should go up 10 times if there is any overtime or unpaid overtime (and that practice will end tomorrow), same with the tax going up if employees are way underpaid less than that cost of living. But any of these laws must be a serious discussion, and as long as there are both international companies and CEOs that take home a scandalous amount of money tax-free, nobody will believe the plight of the poor, squeezed, employer. Especially because employers are replacing people with robots as fast as they can.

      March 10, 2012 at 00:20 | Report abuse |
    • Cbd Caps

      Keep doing what you are doing. You really should create more new articles because I'm sure a lot of people use this site as a source for the latest insider news for the field. Certainly a ton of info to ponder. It is really magnificent you do not have more followers. I really like your type of content. This is an great, an eye-popper for sure!


      December 18, 2018 at 09:51 | Report abuse |
  5. MightyMoo

    Get out of the bad job as quick as you can and don't look back. Honestly you work for a living not live for working. I don't care how bad the job market might be, you need to think of your health first.

    March 8, 2012 at 08:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. BigJon

    I work at walmart so you can imagine what it's like. I have over a dozen managers that I have to answer too, and of course, none of them like each other and all of them think they are God's gift to retail and your a mindless idiot. I have actually been so angry and insulted at work that I have literally been in tears, which is saying alot as I'm not one given to showing strong emotion. But what am i supposed to do? There are no jobs in my area, least none that pay close to the paltry 10.50 a hour i make now as a department manager. I'd love to find other mean of employment. Any hiring in Tacoma, WA? I need to get out of the NE.

    March 8, 2012 at 08:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mbane

      I know. Been there. Worked at one for 4 years to help pay for school. If you can go to school, do it, even if it's to be a secretary. Anything beats working at Wal-mart.

      March 8, 2012 at 08:35 | Report abuse |
    • Mbane

      Here is a thought CNN. Instead of writting stories like this one or about the "bad" hackers who target unethical companies, why don't you start going after the companies themselves and their malpractices? You have no problem targeting Foxcom in China, but there are plenty of companies right here in the USA that are just as bad.

      March 8, 2012 at 08:40 | Report abuse |
    • dhondi

      Mbane, there are no companies legally operating in the US that are as bad as foxconn.

      March 8, 2012 at 09:21 | Report abuse |
  7. El Flaco

    Our employers have become our adversaries. We are not players on the same team. Our employers are pushing us to see how much work they can extract from us yet keep us from quitting. A related goal is to pay us as little as possible yet not force us to quit. Their goal is simple: reducing the cost of labor.

    This is bad for the employee. He works very hard, has no free time, no time with his family, no time for church acitivities, no time for civic duty and volunteerism, and life is not happy. Yet he is scolded constantly about "work ethic" and "tea play." The employee is supposed to be loyal to his employer, but there is no reciprocity. The employer has contempt for his employees and will lay any of them off the moment it will save a nickle.

    This is not the free market paradise that Conservatives have promised us.

    March 8, 2012 at 08:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rstlne

      Well said, and too true! Small companies generally (not always) make the worst employers. The more money an owner or manager has invested in the company, the worse they are going to treat their employees. I have seen this personally, and left a few companies for that reason. It seems that often, once a person invests their own money in a company they feel that gives them the right to treat their own employees worse than serfs, with no respect or compassion. This is the world we have created, where money is everything, and quality of life means nothing.

      March 8, 2012 at 10:39 | Report abuse |
  8. John

    It doesn't look like Amanda Enayati works too hard judging by the photo.

    March 8, 2012 at 08:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pure Cbd

      {Excellent post you have got here. I believe it's about time that we connected. I would really love to talk to you about some of the subjects you have discussed here. Hello from Ohio. Very nice blog, exactly what I needed.


      December 19, 2018 at 08:22 | Report abuse |
  9. Dave

    I was a big multi-tasking at one time, doing everything I could to take on more and get more done. Real company guy, but then the the recession hit, and the company became super anti-worker and very pro Wall Street. Cutting headcount, cutting wages, cutting overtime, reducing bonsuses and REPORTING RECORDS PROFITS. Now my group has more to do and less people to do it, and less reward to accomplish it. So what are you to do, PUSH BACK, out with multi tasking, in with single tasking, out with taking on more to impress the boss, focus on what I have and do it well, your manager is clueless how long things take to get done anyway. Personally, stop spending money, start paying off bills and start saving money, plan your exit, be prepared to move when opportunity comes knocking at your door, leave no reason why you should fear leaving or being fired from a job you have grown to hate. You'll feel much better, I do. No tears or remorse when I leave.

    March 8, 2012 at 08:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • El Flaco

      I have been to meetings where it is announced that salary raises were postponed for a year due to the bad economy. Later in the meeting, we were patted on the back because the company made record profits that year. The annual raises that barely covered the cost of inflation were simply added to the company's profits so our CEO could justify his huge bonus.

      March 8, 2012 at 08:33 | Report abuse |
    • kjfuller7

      Very excellent points! You very best advice is for people to reduce their cost of living down to most basic needs and save as much money as possible. A huge bank account is the softest safety net you could possibly need. If you work for a public corporation, there is absolutely no loyalty there. Do your job well, keep your nose clean because the next "restructuring" is just around the corner. K!

      March 8, 2012 at 09:09 | Report abuse |
  10. Michelle

    This is the new American workforce. I spent the past 8 years in an office where I was consistently being worked like a dog and when I finally had enough and made it clear I was done working so hard, I was laid off. And now, looking at all the available jobs out there? They're taking "Multi-tasking" to a WHOLE new level. I've seen "Office Admin" and the description covers about six departments worth of work. Honestly, I'm considering a minimum wage store job so I can have, at most, three simple tasks to take care of and not be crying on my drive home everyday. Corporate America has every right to want to make profits, but the greed that is running these places now is simply ridiculous.

    March 8, 2012 at 08:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Bill

    Get a state or federal civil service job. For 35 years I've been watching them arrive, do very little and leave at exactly 5pm. And don't dare call them on their sacred weekend. Can you spell union steward?

    March 8, 2012 at 08:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jzzy

      hahaha...so true

      March 8, 2012 at 08:59 | Report abuse |
    • dhondi

      So would you call them smart?

      March 8, 2012 at 09:28 | Report abuse |
    • jone

      State and federal jobs....... Everyone I know in one (I'm from DC) looks forward to three things: the pension, the pension, and the pension. it may not be fantastic, but the days of Defined Benefits in the public sector are long gone, so any job that has a pension attached to it looks attractive nowadays.

      March 8, 2012 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
  12. duh

    The emasculation of overtime laws is a major contributor to the overwork of so many Americans. Further, many companies turn a blind eye to overtime even when they know they are legally required to be paying it.

    that leads to a fourth option not discussed: Call your labor board to verify that you are receiving proper compensation for time worked.

    March 8, 2012 at 08:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Yeah

      Ive been in that situation before were the company treats hourly workers like salary by not acknowledging overtime. I was a contractor and they told us from the beginning only report that you worked 40 hours a week no matter what. being a professional you're judged mainly on what you can accomplish in a given time frame. Which is fine but an hourly wage should mean just that. Of course there really is no room to complain to the your contractor because word will quickly come back around and given our small team it wouldn't be very hard to figure out who spilled the beans. Next thing you know your "manager" devises an excuse as to why your services are no longer required. My advice .... don't have children, I'm serious.

      March 8, 2012 at 10:27 | Report abuse |
    • happypuppy

      Yeah: "My advice .... don't have children, I'm serious." I hope at least some people take this seriously. I have a sister who, at 47, is a SAHM to one kid. No education, been out of the workforce since high school. If she were to get divorced, she would be SCREWED. Then a second sister has two kids, the boy went out and made two babies by two different girls. The boy, current girlfriend, and second baby live with that sister. The boy cannot get a job with no experience or education. It'll be interesting to see how THAT situation turns out. With morality the way it is, it's just easier not having kids....

      March 9, 2012 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
  13. Fred

    Unfortunately this is a by-product of the times we're in now. High unemployment and an economy still struggling to get going. Those of use who are lucky enough to have stable employment in this environment feel that we have to continue to "tuff it out" in order to remain among the employed in order keep everything afloat. The employers have us right where they want us, and will not change until the economy reaches a point of equilibrium and/or a point where people have more options to leave and immediately land another job without any break in income. We just have to hang in there.

    March 8, 2012 at 08:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. A

    I'm very, very fortunate. If my boss saw me working as hard and being as stressed as this describes, he'd tell me to chill out, clock out early, and go have a beer.

    March 8, 2012 at 08:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thomas

      Wait until the next "right sizing" and see how fortunate you are. Watch your back.

      March 8, 2012 at 15:55 | Report abuse |
  15. Sara

    My CEO just said in a meeting... People don't leave a company they leave a bad manager. If you are working for a bad manager seek help through your HR representative. We don't want to lose good people with years of knowledge". Right now my company is interested in retaining all the knowledge they can through these hard times.

    March 8, 2012 at 08:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kjfuller7

      THAT is a truly excellent CEO. Maniac managers really are a huge problem. K!

      March 8, 2012 at 09:14 | Report abuse |
    • Hopelessly naive

      If you EVER think that HR is on the employee's side.

      March 8, 2012 at 10:20 | Report abuse |
    • JM

      Where do you work? => Encouraging to hear that there are some CEOs out there who actually understand, have a clue.

      March 8, 2012 at 10:48 | Report abuse |
  16. pam

    I think it is worse in such a bad economy. Employers take advantage of the fact that employees can't just go get another job. Unless you are Superman at your job, right now you are replaceable.

    March 8, 2012 at 09:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Chris

    Of course employers try to squeeze every ounce of profit they can out of every employee, and of course they do so in stupid, self-defeating ways. I don't know what to do about that, but I would like to point out that (a) employees who actually take good care of their employees have the economic advantage in the long run, and (b) if each person only had a reasonable work load, there would probably be no unemployment. That is, the present unemployment problem is not due to a lack of work to be done, but rather to the attempts by so-called "job creators" to minimize what they that work costs them.

    March 8, 2012 at 09:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fred

      Good point Chris.

      March 8, 2012 at 09:08 | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      Exactly, that’s why they called it a jobless recovery.

      March 8, 2012 at 09:11 | Report abuse |
    • dhondi

      It is a jobless recovery thanks to the international economy.....people far and wide are happy to grab that $0.35/hr job.

      March 8, 2012 at 09:27 | Report abuse |
  18. Moe Smith

    oh look... an entire article dedicated to a woman b!7ching about having to work. gee...

    March 8, 2012 at 09:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Patrick

    This is why we created unions.

    March 8, 2012 at 09:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dhondi

      And that is why jobs are shipped overseas.

      March 8, 2012 at 09:18 | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      That’s why we have 40 hour work weeks. Fifteen minute breaks and so on. The reason jobs are shipped over see is pure greed. Proof.. call centers. THEY DON”T HAVE UNINONS genius.

      March 8, 2012 at 09:21 | Report abuse |
    • dhondi

      Yes, the fact that they are vulnerable to exploitation is most likely because they don't have unions and the fact that in many countried the government makes it illegal to unionize, it is better to move your operation overseas and not have to deal with unions.....so you kind of PROVED MY POINT, genius.

      March 8, 2012 at 09:26 | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      @ dhondi
      > because they don't have unions and the fact that in many COUNTRIES the government makes it illegal to unionize.
      > people far and wide are happy to grab that $0.35/hr job.

      Thank you for making MY point.

      Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.- Sir Winston Churchill


      March 8, 2012 at 09:46 | Report abuse |
    • Pinkerton

      I like that logic dhondi.

      March 8, 2012 at 10:07 | Report abuse |
  20. GonzoG

    I once had a boss who said a 40 hour work week would be charged as vacation time. He also liked a 7AM to 6PM daily schedule with on-call afterward and weekend 'chores'.

    March 8, 2012 at 09:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mdp310

      My brother worked at an Urban Outfitters over the holidays. But after they were over, they cut his hours back to just 2 days a week. Then he would have to be on call. AT A CLOTHING STORE. He's not a doctor, he's not a surgeon, he worked at a damn suburban clothing store. The idea that they needed to keep people on call was completely insane. So essentially he was forbidden from finding a second job, juuuust in case they needed an extra person to fold shirts and unpack boxes.

      March 8, 2012 at 11:16 | Report abuse |
  21. Johnny

    Until vacation time is mandatory in the U.S. this sort of thing will continue. And to those who say, "If a company can do without you for two or three weeks, then they can do without you permanently", my answer is "If a company can't do without me for two or three weeks, then they're clearly mismanaged. If I were to die, they'd have to get by without me."

    March 8, 2012 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. JOHN

    Bad jobs are like bad marriages – try to make improvements; if that doesn't work – leave. Think you can't leave – then be prepared to keep 2 delusions alive: 1. I can't leave 2. People who care will listen to me complain about my situation for a very long period of time.

    March 8, 2012 at 09:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Lydia

    I spent a year and a half at the worst job of my life. I was a clerk at a locally-owned convenience store chain, and because of the laws in Kansas, I was working long shifts with no meals or breaks. I wasn't even allowed to sit down and rest if things slowed down–the employee rule book actually said we were prohibited from being idle and that if we had "time to lean" we had "time to clean". Some of my coworkers fared even worse than I did, getting pressured into 12, 14, even 16 hour shifts, then being expected to come back in and do it all over again just a few hours later. Some of my coworkers went days without more than a couple of hours of sleep, and we all had to make it through the workday on snackfood instead of real meals because we weren't allowed to stop working to eat. To make matters worse, we were perpetually understaffed, and I was often relegated to jobs that were far beyond my physical abilities to accomplish. Just like in the article, when we failed to do the impossible, we were criticized and threatened with disciplinary action. On top of it all, we received no benefits, no sick leave, nothing. If you did call in sick, you were punished for it later with a horrible schedule. It was like that company felt it had to abuse its employees to be successful.

    I missed out on every holiday dinner, every weekend gathering, every event my family planned because that place made me work every weekend and holiday without fail, even Christmas. In fact, it was my experiences working on Thanksgiving day that ultimately drove me to start my own online business and finally get out of jobs like that forever. No one should have to work that way just to make a meager living, and yet so many people in this country due because we have no laws protecting employees from unreasonable abuse.

    March 8, 2012 at 09:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lydia

      due = do. Should have proofread before I posted, sorry.

      March 8, 2012 at 09:31 | Report abuse |
    • Matrix

      We don't need laws. We have a system in this country that allows employees to quit their jobs and go work for someone else. Most countries have the same thing. We outlawed slavery. So, if you don't like the working conditions, work for someone else. You did. Good for you. Vote with your feet. If the employer finds too few people willing to put up with those awful conditions, and they do sound awful, then they would be forced to change or go out of business. The government is not necessary to make this happen.

      March 8, 2012 at 09:51 | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      @Matrix...seems like most of the people here want others to do the work for them which is why we have a problem. If people understood the personal responsibility, I don't think an enabling article such as this would be written. It seems like a bad case of
      "OMG I can't believe I have to provide services to earn my salary. I wish somebody (read: government) would step in and stop management from happening so this job can become more of what I want it to be since I'm the only important part of this equation. I realize I can quit and find another job, but that would require work on my part too, so I might as well stay here and complain."

      March 8, 2012 at 10:09 | Report abuse |
    • SurroundedByIdiots

      @Really Man...you're a cold hearted ba$tard with no grasp on reality. You quit your job and see how easy it is to find another job. Many employers are explicitly stating in their job postings that in order to apply you must have a job first. It's easy for you to talk down from that pedestal you stand on now...but what's gonna happen to you when it crumbles on you just like it is for so many others in this country? Have some empathy you ignorant moron

      March 8, 2012 at 11:08 | Report abuse |
    • mdp310

      She didn't say that she didn't want to work. If you actually read her comment, you would see that she was working more than 40 hours a week and not getting paid overtime. Not even given five minutes out of a 12 hour shift to have a lunch break. Expected to do two or three peoples' jobs, all by herself.

      THAT is the problem with the job market right now. American workers are incredibly hard working, but unfortunately many of the "job creators" are happy to avoid adding new jobs and overwork the employees they already have. Because god forbid the bottom line drops even one dollar.

      March 8, 2012 at 11:13 | Report abuse |
    • Cbd Tincture

      I just don't understand what the big deal is. Have you tried connect with other experts that know about this topic? I couldn't resist responding. Even so, I some times miss wanting to know those type of things. Your writing is so awesome that my eyes exploded while reading it.


      December 17, 2018 at 05:48 | Report abuse |
  24. SuZieCoyote

    " People are realizing that they are burning each other out.”

    No they're not. Bullies are in charge everywhere. Get away as fast as you can. People who can't keep a staff suffer the consequences because their organization's productive drops to near-zero. Constant turnover results in failure. DO NOT prop up a bad boss. You are likely losing your health because he or she can't manage.

    March 8, 2012 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Curtis

    Boss-bashing, I love it. Having to manage a staff of 5 (that used to be 8) people, you might be interested to know we bosses have it just as bad, if not worse. I'm guessing these people complaining at least get to sleep at night. Our company is global, so it's not unusual to get calls at all hours of the night. (Some nights I'm lucky to get 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep.) Even with a shortened staff, I'm expected to keep productivity up. So, working on the weekend is a must but while you're at home working I'm at office. My point is, I know you're overworked and it's going to be this way a while but at lease we all have a job.

    March 8, 2012 at 09:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SurroundedByIdiots

      Cry me a river Neo-Con. The reason you have a job is because you have employees that are willing to listen to and follow your BS. You do yourself and other boss' a disservice by complaining about your oh so awful and financially/socially/politically overcompensated life...boo hoo for you Curtis...my heart really breaks for you

      March 8, 2012 at 11:11 | Report abuse |
    • SuZieCoyote

      You're a bad boss.

      March 8, 2012 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
  26. LouAZ

    The whipping will continue until morale improves.

    March 8, 2012 at 09:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. teamroper

    Worker many years at my job...over 30. New boss knew retirement within 5 years and really beat me down. No time off, more and more projects without compensation, public ridicule in front of other workers, etc. etc. Tried to reason with him. Finally got him by himself and made sure he understood that his behaviour would get his azz kicked, screw the job. Things changed right away...

    March 8, 2012 at 09:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. True

    This article nails it. So true, for so many. I went from managing 2 teams to 6. In meetings from 8 am to 6 pm, and then there's work to do and emails to answer... 12-15 hours/ day is normal, weekends are a given. All because they've laid off so many people and "top performers" are given more, until they can no longer perform. Raises are non-existant, company profits are at an all-time high. But there are no other jobs to take at the moment, and my mortgage doesn't pay itself. Just keep plugging.

    March 8, 2012 at 09:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Frankie

    Wow. Comment from Bill on civil servants: it's true. I'm not as stressed as I was in the private sector. I'm also paid 60% of what I would be in the private sector for what I do. I like the security of knowing a public service job is usually going to be there. We're there to serve a public that thinks we're lazy and stupid and there to be abused. I believe the public deserves respect, courtesy and timely response. It's probably a genetic flaw. I've worked with crazy bosses and great bosses. I hung in and hung on, took demotions and transferred around until I found a work environment within the public sector where I wasn't losing sleep, liked my job, liked what I accomplished. I've had jobs covering four other positions' workloads, but still only have from 8 to 5 to get it done and critical deadlines to meet and possibility of jail if I screw up. Overtime not allowed - in fact, a disciplinary offense. All I have to do is hang in for a few more years and retire - if retirement funds are still there and my house survives any hurricanes. Otherwise, I'm going to live under the bridge with my dog and a fishing pole and still be happy. I just plain decided to downsize my own life a few years ago...and I feel better every day.

    March 8, 2012 at 09:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. S Kumar

    Employers should learn from the bee that sucks nectar from the flower without killing it in the process. Instead employers want their employess to be busy bees. You can push the envelope only so far.

    March 8, 2012 at 09:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. hers1973

    I recently resigned from a job where I was doing everything for this university. There was a lady before me resigned because the task load was too much for one person. Other universities had at least 3 people working on it. Once she resigned, I had to carry the task load for the one that resigned and my own which was already too much. I explained to the supervisor that I it was too much, I needed help and something was going to fall through the crack. Her response to me was what was the problem. Their solution was to find one person that could barely help and to give me written warnings. I received two written warnings within a month over this situation that I clearly said it would not work. I resigned. I felt like the supervisor didn't want me to quit because I was the work horse, but she needed to tarnish my personnel record so that I would be forced to stay there. I am so at peace with the decision. All I can say is look at your options, you are not stuck in a dead end situation. This may be a time to try something new.

    March 8, 2012 at 10:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Paul

    It's peoples own fault for putting up with employers who treat them almost like slaves.

    March 8, 2012 at 10:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. GBfromOhio

    I know it is not easy and I know the economy is tight, but you can almost always find another position paying at least the same as the current situation you are in. May take some effort and a backbone, planning, goal setting etc. We all need to speak out against oppression in the workplace (I have) and we need to avoid the easy way out, which is playing the victim.

    March 8, 2012 at 10:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Yuliq

    Corporate America... Try being a white guy in a company that ONLY hires black supervisors, because they're either Prince Hall Masons or fresh out of the Army, where they didn't do anything to begin with except do supply or sit behind a desk.

    A college education does NOTHING for a white educated man these days.

    March 8, 2012 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • James A. Dougan

      I couldn't have said it better myself.

      March 8, 2012 at 10:39 | Report abuse |
    • Dude

      Yeah, those English literature degrees just don't pull the big incomes these days.

      Engineering degrees, computer science degrees etc are doing very well.

      March 8, 2012 at 10:44 | Report abuse |
  35. One4TheRoad

    MALE-mployed Yes Ladies – After KILLING Ourselves for Centuries WE FEEL Your Pain.

    March 8, 2012 at 10:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Johnny

      Nope. MAL-employed as in "badly".

      March 8, 2012 at 12:19 | Report abuse |
  36. KMac

    My last employer was a non-profit that didn't bother to tell me that they had no money with which to pay me when they hired me away from my solvent previous employer. The board left it to me to find the funds to cover my salary at the same time that they continued to dump administrative tasks onto me that took resources away from generating revenue. When I managed to bring revenue into the organization, the board consistently wanted to pay their bills, namely their directors & officers insurance premium and their lunches for board meetings, instead of paying me.

    I lasted about three years all the while I was looking for another job. The board wouldn't release me to be able to collect unemployment until I found another job (yes, finding another job in this job market and no, I really didn't want to go on unemployment). If I had quit, then I would not have been eligible for unemployment according to the unemployment office. So, I was stuck in essence "volunteering" and occasionally being paid by a corrupt and absolutely deceptive employer. I might add that I started this new job at the same time that our first child arrived. Just imagine my stress...

    When I confronted the board about not having paid me about $40,000 in salary & benefits, they assured me that the organization would make it right with me. After I found another job, I kept hearing "we're going to catch up on what we owe you." Then, I learned that the statute of limitations expired after two years to file a claim against my former employer. The two years had passed and I have no options to ever collect. All during this time, we had a mortgage to pay and children to raise. We've managed not to default on any of our bills, but it has come with a significant emotional and physical cost. I am 40 and feel like 60 (if I have a clue knowing what that's like). Last year, I was diagnosed with four ulcers and acid reflux disease. I'm 40 and I think often of my mortality...

    I genuinely believe that the board was counting on the stress of the situation to control me and to get away with being crooks. To top it off, I haven't been employed (or malemployed) by that organization for over two years now, yet the board president continued to send grantors and others to me to help them figure out finance reports and the rest. Yep, I lost my cool finally and blasted the board president for the nerve of it all. She took great offense and said that I hurt her feelings. I really don't care if I did offend her. (Thanks for letting me vent!)

    March 8, 2012 at 10:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nick

      Kmac-I feel for you. I think this goes on more than people realize. I would (if possible) consult with a lawyer. Perhaps the statute of limitations is only 2 years but from the hell they put you through, honestly I would sue them. It is against the law to not pay you, statute of limitations be damned. If not that way, then sue for severe emotional and mental distress. I would look into it (if you haven't already). I hope your life gets easier and better from here on in.

      March 8, 2012 at 12:53 | Report abuse |
    • jone

      Moral of your story: Don't be an idiot. If you're in a job that pays well, you can leave if you want, but "the grass is always greener" phenomenon will prevail 7 times out of 10.

      March 8, 2012 at 15:28 | Report abuse |
    • SuZieCoyote

      ...of course the right wing spin is that we live in a free country and you can always quit and go somehwere else....

      March 8, 2012 at 16:15 | Report abuse |
  37. Darth Cheney

    Wages and salaries are down, prices are up, top management compensation and shareholder wealth are up. There is nothing to suggest these trends will abate – until there is no consumption base to sustain the parasitic system.

    March 8, 2012 at 10:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dude

      The trend will eventually abate. Much as it did on July 14, 1789.

      There are better potential outcomes, but that choice is not left to us.

      March 8, 2012 at 10:42 | Report abuse |
    • mklsgl

      Runaway Train Capitalism at its best. Let's all aspire to be Too Big To Fail. Sitting atop the Ferris Wheel, they all look like ants, right?

      March 8, 2012 at 10:46 | Report abuse |
  38. Dude

    If you have diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol or any other pre-existing conditions, you cannot get insurance in many states. For me, "guaranteed continuance" insurance would have cost over $1,300.00 per month for me alone. My employer paid <$300 per month. Note that all three of these conditions are caused or exasperated by stress.

    So, the "just quit your job" option is not reasonable. COBRA does not cover you if you quit. And life without insurance is very risky. One minor health issue and you either declare bankruptcy or become homeless.

    My employer has life and death power over me and they know it. Unless I can find another job while still working, I have to stay until I get fired.

    This is not healthy for employees and, in the long run, not healthy for companies. But, companies are not looking at where they will be in five years. CEOs want to create profits this year and take a huge bonus. If the company fails in three years, who cares? They will have moved on, advertising the huge profit increases to get a new position.

    March 8, 2012 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thomas

      " Unless I can find another job while still working"

      Well, that is the usual way of moving to a new job.

      March 8, 2012 at 16:07 | Report abuse |
    • Dude

      Thomas. There is a method for controlling that as well.

      To begin with, I was working over 50 hours a week. To make ends meet, I had to make meals ahead of time, fix my own car etc. This left very little time for a job search.

      But, still it would have been an option.

      Except, when the economy collapsed, they came up with a new scheduling policy. No employee was allowed to be scheduled more than one week in advance. Since I did not know what days or hours I would have off, I could not schedule an interview. Asking management for a specific day off generally guaranteed that you would be working that day. It took me three months to make it to a doctor's appointment.

      Using vacation time was not an option either. They required requests for vacation time be in 4 weeks in advance. Typically, first job interviews are in two or three weeks. Too close for vacation time, too far to know your schedule.

      Coworkers either got fired, quit with no job waiting or got a job working for a friend.

      They know exactly what they are doing and exactly how to keep you in place.

      In my case, I was fired and found a new job in eight weeks. But, my new employer doesn't give insurance for 90 days. Even if I would have had the new job lined up before I left, I would have faced 90 days with no insurance.

      March 8, 2012 at 17:03 | Report abuse |
    • Cbd Caps

      You have really changed my mind on more than a few topics that I have taken for granted for all my adult life. This girl I used to know enjoys your write up. You really seem to understand a ton on this subject. You seem to really know who you really are as a human. This is an great, an eye-popper for sure! I seriously believe this page demands much more thought.


      December 17, 2018 at 04:29 | Report abuse |
  39. bodahsafa

    ill be giving my 2 weeks notice in the coming days and couldnt be more stoked. worked my a$$ off to pay back all my student loans and now im debt free. let me tell you the problem with the effin country right now, we're a bunch of pansies. thats right, pansies. after wwII you had a country that was built by men/womean who werent afraid to get their hands dirty, no job was above them. Now days jobs are filled by imigrants who do the grunt work because "we're too good for that", were more focused on the amount of "things" we have than anything else. this country is lost, hope it finds its way soon

    March 8, 2012 at 10:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Johnny

      Well, aren't you special....

      March 8, 2012 at 12:22 | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      I suppose next you are going to tell us to get off your lawn and whether getting a haircut would kill us?

      March 8, 2012 at 16:08 | Report abuse |
  40. Dobie

    You have to set your own limits. You are not going to find a boss that will tell you that you shouldn't work so hard. If you are willing to work 12 hours a day instead of 8 – they will let you. The first thing you have to do is prove you a good employee. Do a good job when you are working, be dependable. Be flexible – emergencies do come up where extra effort is required, but that is not an everyday occurrence.

    The easiest way I have found is to ask your manager for help. If he has given you 3 projects that will take 20 hours a piece, and wants them all done in one week – explain to him why you think it will take 60 hours and if there is anything you are missing that would reduce the time.

    March 8, 2012 at 10:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. AAJ

    I was in this situation for several years. In addition to being overworked, I was being treated poorly. I was frequently embarrassed, reprimanded and put down. It took a long time for me to realize it was never going to get better. I tackled each issue head on with my boss, and then eventually Human Resources. I even found a mentor to help me handle the situation. Maybe it was me – maybe I am too emotional or not handling my work load properly. I tried to understand how to improve in order to fix the situation. I even read the “The No A**hole Rule” book! With each thing I tried, the situation would improve slightly and then return to a stressful environment. And I wasn’t the only one. My coworker was having the same issues.

    I finally realized I wasn’t enjoying my life. My half hour commute home each late evening was no longer helping me unwind. I was frequently getting sick. I was becoming anxious and depressed. I decided that I don’t want my young daughter and husband exposed to my behavior. I started looking at job boards and reaching out to contacts on Linked In. Eventually I found an opportunity and resigned. It was scary and risky move, but has worked out well. Eventually my coworker resigned as well. We were replaced with 4 people, and the boss from hell was demoted (and no longer in the group).

    I have had lots of people tell me they are proud of me. But the reality is, I am sad that I had to leave. I feel like I was forced out, and the company didn’t do enough while I was on board to keep me. But you know what? That is their culture – “A good old boys club” as my Dad put it. It’s never going to change, and I will never fit in. I still have a heavy workload, but I am taking this fresh start as an opportunity to draw the line when necessary. I have kind boss that respects me and is helping me to develop my skillset. Oh, and I make more money – because I am finally being paid the fair market rate for what I do.

    The only way we can stop this culture is to take a stand. This article offers decent advice on addressing this type of situation. If you are too afraid leave or fight back, build your skillset and network your way into your next job. Don’t rely on anyone but yourself.

    March 8, 2012 at 11:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Pika

    I know it may be difficult for some but getting a job where you can get the upper hand and are hard to replace is key. Going to school to get a specialized degree or learning a trade that not many people know how to do is a good idea. Work really hard for a few years and learn everything you can about your trade, there will still be lots to learn but you need to know enough so that your company realizes your value. Even in the market today the company won't be able to find a replacement for you very easily and will want to make you happy. You'll want a job where they can't hire someone and teach them the trade in a few weeks. There are also stressful monotonous jobs out there that not many people enjoy doing that pay pretty well and won't make you work more than 40-50 hours a week. If you can do these jobs then you have enough free time on the weekends let go and it works out pretty well. At least for me.

    March 8, 2012 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Dave

    Corporate America has a crisis of incompetence going on among its leadership. The recession = bad mangement.

    March 8, 2012 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mdp310

      Incompetence and greed. Many companies don't care about providing a good produce or service anymore, they only care about pure profits. They're run by CEO's who just want to get themselves the biggest bonus possible, then jump ship and put it on their resume. It seems like very few major companies are run by the same person for more than a couple years anymore.

      March 8, 2012 at 11:29 | Report abuse |
    • Bean Bag

      If your articles are always this helpful, I'll be back soon. A ton of stuff to take into consideration. I just by luck found your write ups. You should be beyond proud of yourself. Geez, that is unbelievable.


      December 20, 2018 at 08:13 | Report abuse |
  44. JM

    God grant us serenity...

    I need it. I left a job; I was about to have a heart attack from the pressure (and stupidity). Ready to get back to work but, man, that placed burned me out. Half of us worked our asses off; half of the team, including our so-called manager, came and went at will ignoring the work and wasting time and then bought themselves expensive gifts.

    That department was slacker/idiot-centric rather than work/client/common sense-centric.

    March 8, 2012 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. sameeker

    The Post Office used to work their employees like that. Remember the term "going postal".

    March 8, 2012 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Ty

    Sorry but this isn't just about women or the male boses. This is about women who want to be treated equally with men and then complain about the work they have to do. If you can handle the work pace, get a different job. The people that are in management have to write job descriptions, you have to agree to them. If you don't meet up with those expectations, get out and let a more able body replace you. These days, a guy and a girl could have the same job and the men ends up doing more work than the female. A guy is forced to pick up the slack of women all of the time, I know I am one of them. Equal pay, equal opportunity; great jokes. If a guy has to unload a 3000 package truck on to a conveyor belt, with each of them varying in weight from 10 lbs up to 100 lbs, all of the women HAVE to also, I don't care about your age or abilities, you have the job so do the damn job. Most of the time I see people screwing around with their cell phones, standing around not working, talking with other co-workers and not actually doing what they are suppose to for their paycheck. Every minute you're clocked in, you should be working; period. If you are not working, but accept the pay check, what does that really say about you!!!!!!

    March 8, 2012 at 11:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. JohnPJones

    Man, we've all been there. Reading some of these comments brings back some bad memories for me. I've had good jobs and bad jobs, and I always found a way out when I had a bad boss. I am lucky because I am in a technical field and there are options typically, though not as many as before obviously. That just means I have to try harder when I am looking for something new. I keep my resume updated and I even try to go interview somewhere once every six months just to keep my options open. You never know when you will be forced to leave and I look at interviewing as a way of networking.

    Also, speaking from my experience, pursuing relief with HR is counter-productive. Key lesson to remember: HR EXISTS TO SUPPORT MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES. They are not there to provide any sort of protection or shelter for associates. Sure, someone from that dept. may lend a shoulder to cry on, but that is only going to get back around to your boss and 99% of the time the boss is going to hold it against you. Nobody likes complainers, specifically if it is making you look bad.

    At the end of the day, all you can do is leave. Most of these bad actors are so firmly entrenched, it is impossible to wait them out, even if they are horrible managers. In a strange way, I really should be grateful to my sh***y former bosses, they forced me out which forced me to learn more and grow my career and ultimately make more money.

    March 8, 2012 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • AAJ

      Well said. I think it is helpful for someone in a bad situation to be reminded of "we have all been there". In my situation, it was my first job out of college (spent 10 years there), and I didn’t know anything else. Listening to similar stories from others was helpful in motivating me to make a change.

      And you are spot on when you say "Most of these bad actors are so firmly entrenched, it is impossible to wait them out, even if they are horrible managers.". I tried doing this, and it was pointless. The person had multiple complaints and incidents that spanned years before I came along. I was naïve to think I could change him or the situation.

      I like the advice on interviewing every 6 months – for networking purposes, to know what is out there, and to determine steps to take to build a more marketable skill set.

      Leaving is the only way to solid way to make a point. Building a stronger skill set gives you the tools and strength to leave (and make more money).

      March 8, 2012 at 14:20 | Report abuse |
    • Thomas

      Just remember, you can't spell "Who Cares" without H R.

      March 8, 2012 at 16:10 | Report abuse |
  48. Andrew E Page

    Sometimes these situations are made worse if you're a talented person within the group. You're expected to do more and pick up the slack for others.

    March 8, 2012 at 12:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sarah79

      They end up laying everyone off and then you are expected to do the work of three people and be SO HAPPY and relieved that you didn't get laid off. Because you are SUPPOSED to be kissing their feet because they didn't let "you" go, they want to work you to your death.

      March 8, 2012 at 13:37 | Report abuse |
    • True

      EXACTLY. They have fired hoards of people and gave me all their teams and work. I had a full-time workload before, so this is breaking my back. Literally have taken on the work of 3 other full-time people. I used to push myself for excellence, as was reflected in my rating every year. Now I just had to set my expectations to "Survive."

      March 8, 2012 at 14:06 | Report abuse |
  49. gggg

    I fought back. Quietly. They expected weekends from my whole group, which was not fair and I was done giving it to them. I sat down and thought about what could happen. I could get demoted (probable), lose some pay (not probable but possible), or be fired. Finally determined that I would not be fired because they had made the mistake of having one person who knew some critical information, me, and no one wanted to learn it. I also figured they would not reduce my pay because they also could not afford to have me walk away voluntarily. I did figure on a demotion. So, I stopped having people work on weekends (unless it was something truly critical, in which case I would take it). Ultimately, I was replaced as the manager, got a bad review, but no reduction in pay and I still work there. But, none of our group works weekends anymore. We made our point and finally started getting the people we needed to actually do good work instead of crappy, rushed work. And my ex-manager also got demoted. Everyone else got fed up with him too, finally, and that's when upper management noticed. That is one other option, by the way. Upper management is generally blind to these kinds of things. They only notice when the attrition rate gets too high so you might just tell them that one idiot is making work intolerable for many (sometimes it's possible).

    March 8, 2012 at 12:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JS

      You sound like an incredible person. I wish there were more like you.

      March 8, 2012 at 13:11 | Report abuse |
  50. JeramieH

    CEO: "If we give Bob more work to do, we take home more money".

    Anybody see the design flaw?

    March 8, 2012 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
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