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. The_Mick

    I was in the "it's unbearable but I'm almost retired" situation and also a decade earlier in an "it's unbearable but things have to eventually change for the better" situation and both times stuck it out for one key reason: I had a pension that was based on the final salary I earned with the organization and if I left early it knocked off a tremendous amount. In fact, the day BEFORE I retired, a new formula went into effect that increased my pension 12%. Now, living off the fat of the land, I'm glad I didn't do something stupid in either case.

    March 8, 2012 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • moe smith

      bravo for sticking to it and having it pay off. you are, without even the slightest hesitation of saying, most definitely in the minority.

      most would just get fncked over again and again. i know. i am one of them. Goodyear Corporate in Akron, OH bent me over a barrel without any lube. TWENTY-TWO YEARS of commendable service, advanced my career there FIVE TIMES and then one day security was standing at my desk waiting for me. I was "laid off due to budget cuts"... yea, the budget to afford my salary for 5-8 more years and my pension afterwards.

      March 8, 2012 at 15:05 | Report abuse |
    • JeramieH

      Remember what Polaroid did a few years ago? Cut pensions to thousands to pay for their CEO's golden parachute when he left.

      March 8, 2012 at 17:20 | Report abuse |
    • jj

      Good for you, you are inspiring me to stick it out a little longer.

      March 8, 2012 at 18:14 | Report abuse |
    • TS

      yeah.... BOA just froze the tradtional pensions..... I have 17 yrs ..... no reason to stay now

      March 8, 2012 at 19:21 | Report abuse |
    • Hip2yurjive

      Am there/doing that ... BoA is killing me.

      March 9, 2012 at 20:41 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      I have friends working for Goodyear in Akron, and also Lockheed. Lots of overtime, but they are young still, and they are not interested in politics or standing up for themselves.

      March 9, 2012 at 23:45 | Report abuse |
    • KeithTexas

      How much did you give up to stick it out? If it was too much there will never be enough retirement to pay that back.

      March 11, 2012 at 00:08 | Report abuse |
  2. Morgan

    How do you get two years from retirement before you realize your job is unbearable. I worked at a "its unbearable but things have to change for the better" situatuion for six years before i got fed up and took a lower paying job. I've never regretted it for an instant.

    March 8, 2012 at 14:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • pliglee

      I'm currently looking for my way out. No pension, no kids... I've got options! I could just pick up and move and rent out my house. My superiors are depending on our fear to keep us here. I ain't THAT skurrd!

      March 9, 2012 at 08:00 | Report abuse |
    • ljhays

      Jobs can become suddenly unbearable if there's a major change at the C level. Home Depot comes to mind when Nardelli arrived.

      March 9, 2012 at 08:36 | Report abuse |
    • E

      Jobs change when they lay people off and some companies make it deliberately bad in order to get people to retire early and save the company money.

      March 10, 2012 at 18:59 | Report abuse |
    • KeithTexas

      Everyone at my local Home Depot wants to quit. If the economy changes all the good guys will be out the door

      March 11, 2012 at 00:10 | Report abuse |
    • yoga training

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      January 1, 2019 at 15:20 | Report abuse |
  3. Mark

    Build a business case.

    If overwork is really seriously cutting into productivity, there should be a way to show that by hiring X more workers the company can pay for their cost and then some by making everybody more productive. Is stress causing high turnover? that has a cost in dollars too. You know what your situation is doing to you, but your boss needs to hear how it's making the company (or his division) sick and underperforming or, more positively, what he can do to improve performance (and his annual review, and the value of his stock options).

    March 8, 2012 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mark

      You have to present it in real, defensible numbers, though. Theories won't cut it.

      March 8, 2012 at 14:18 | Report abuse |
    • KeithTexas

      You know, that is why I work for myself. If I have to train the boss, F-em I'm gone

      March 11, 2012 at 00:11 | Report abuse |
  4. iceload9

    Soooooooo in the end this article offered absolutely nothing. Used to be, you could only whip a mule so much before he ignored the whip. Now they just get a new mule and start whipping. And since no one can stop the H1B Visa's, there's always another mule.

    March 8, 2012 at 14:58 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jone

      i'll shoot a (n)ice load in your mouth

      March 8, 2012 at 15:16 | Report abuse |
    • Cara

      The company I used to work for was the same way. Push. push, push and never say thanks. Then, as people keep leaving due to the stress, bring in a bunch of folks from India and the Philipines and whip them for all they're worth. Funny thing is, those folks don't stay after they're 2 years are up either. After 3 years I left and I enjoy my job so much more now.

      March 8, 2012 at 21:28 | Report abuse |
  5. jack

    If it gets too unbearable, give them subtle notice (leave printouts laying around the office) of what is known as overtime and how FLSA can come down on violators.

    March 8, 2012 at 15:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. You're asking for it

    Grow some gumption and just say "NO". What's he going to do? He's already short-handed.

    March 8, 2012 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JeramieH

      What's he going to do? Fire you and pick up some unemployed fellow for half your salary, who he will burn out until that guy leaves/complains, then do it again. You're disposable and your replacement is probably cheaper.

      March 8, 2012 at 17:35 | Report abuse |
    • jj

      He's going to fire you and hire someone cheaper.

      March 8, 2012 at 18:15 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      This is the WHOLE problem: there are no laws. If a company can "fire at will," then they can set a pace that is so fast that everybody is sprinting all day. And if they "fire" because you can't keep up the pace, it can stop you from getting unemployment insurance. There is a real reason to be careful of whom you vote for (local, state, federal, legislature and judges). LOOK at voting records; it is very urgent at this time. There is an opportunity in November to make some changes; don't let all the voter suppression prevent it.

      March 9, 2012 at 23:38 | Report abuse |
  7. humtake

    It is not your bosses job to cater to what makes you stress. I've had weeks where I work 60+ hours for a month in a row, but I love what I do so it's not so bad all the time. It gets old sometimes, but that's not my bosses fault. Chances are, your boss thinks you are there to do a good job. Nobody wakes up and says "I wonder how I can do the worst job possible today". Your boss is not responsible for your misery. S/he probably is under the same stress by his bosses. If you don't like it, do what the article says and leave. Or, why not work towards learning to do something you do really enjoy (which if you do after your stressful day should lower your stress level) and then when you are experienced enough, go out and try to get a job doing that? Or, just continue to whine and complain and make everyone else around you miserable. I think you will find the latter will turn you into an old person with no friends.

    March 8, 2012 at 17:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JeramieH

      No, it's your bosses responsibility to give you a reasonable amount of work. A poor manager puts the work of 10 people on you and then yells when you don't get it done on time. That's a management failure.

      March 9, 2012 at 10:59 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      I agree with Jeremiah. No matter how much you love it, continuous motion is not possible. Your body will demand rest sooner or later. The article mentioned heart or stroke problems. But there are other problems that are just as serious: arthritis and other auto-immune diseases, some fatal; serious infections caused by a poor immune system; and the biggest one: cancer. Just having an ulcer that won't go away can cause esophagus and liver cancer. Then there are all the women's reproductive issues; if you notice that all the young women in your company have hysterectomies, get out now. This is not a "choice" that any woman would make, to be castrated because their hormones are completely out of balance. If there is no rest cycle, the monthly cycle will go haywire. Any company that thinks it is saving money by putting employees through such health problems has very stupid financial officers, penny-wise, pound-foolish.

      March 9, 2012 at 23:34 | Report abuse |
    • KeithTexas

      Why shouldn't we expect humanity at work?

      March 11, 2012 at 00:14 | Report abuse |
    • Joe Sixpack

      You're probably a brown-noser at work too.

      March 12, 2012 at 12:07 | Report abuse |
    • Thinks2010

      Work smart. Instead of complaining work collaboratively with your immediate boss(es), contribute good ideas that lead to efficiency and increased productivity. Do this well and you will get promoted and may even replace your boss or become your boss's boss. There's no need to be sneaky or underhanded. In most cases if you do a good, collaborative job, you look good and your boss looks good and this gets noticed. Always give credit and praise where credit is due. Work to raise everyone up including your co-workers and boss. Instead of telling people they are failures, stupid, etc., make standards and expectations clear and offer the training and tools to strengthen performance. Instead of saying someone is doing something wrong, tell them they could strengthen their performance and be specific about how they can do so. Most people are anxious to do a good job and will do so when given clear goals, standards, training, praise, and rewards. Do these things, and you will succeed in just about any field.

      March 26, 2012 at 18:22 | Report abuse |
    • AM

      Interesting – I just resigned – after a mere 7 months! Stress levels are ridiculous – demands non-stop – then the responsibility to manage & prioritize the demands are put on you
      – mgmt EXPECTS the work to get done, no matter how long it takes you – if you can't do under 50-60hrs/wk the signal you get is that you need to work smarter and more focused.... oh brother, what a load of 'you know what'!... Cynical – you betcha... If management spent less time & money trying to motivate their existing employees they'd actually have more $ to hire more employees. This has greed written all over it – do the math – if your company has 1000 employees and their average salary is $50,000 and they routinely work 60 hours a week – this means the company actually saves 25 million dollars! Greed, all greed... The company I left had $1 billion in sales last year – yes, ONE Billlion! and they couldn't handle another $25mil in expenses – oh brother, give me a break!

      May 30, 2012 at 19:28 | Report abuse |
  8. J

    The sad truth is we are now all replaceable. When applicants come in with Master's degrees for a job that wouldn't even pay their tuition, there are no legs left to stand on. Say no, and you're unemployed, ineligible for benefits because you were fired, and no longer have health insurance (quick way to get sick). And in MA (thanks to Romney), you are financially penalized for not having health insurance.
    Does the word "F-ed" have meaning for anyone?

    March 8, 2012 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thom Williams

      In Massachusetts you get free health care if you are fired and end up unemployed. It is the only caring system of health care in the United States. You only pay a small fee (less than an expensive private health plan's premium) if you are employed and could afford insurance, but refuse. It should actually be more, in my opinion, since the public pays for uninsured people anyway when they go to the hospital. Massachusetts is great, and it was one of the few good things Romney did while Governor here. Now he turned on himself to please the "we hate the sick" right-wing crowd, but the system is working ok here. True public option would be much, much better, but we must take baby-steps to fight the corporate control of access to doctors and life itself.

      March 9, 2012 at 01:30 | Report abuse |
    • Elizabeth

      I'm amazed that Massachusetts, next door to Connecticut, the big insurance state, actually has a health care plan. On the other hand, the Massachusetts system does not accept out of state health insurance; if you visit, watch out. (That happened to my family.)

      March 9, 2012 at 23:26 | Report abuse |
  9. WA teenager

    I think I'll stick to my plan of a translating job. (I speak 4 languages and have 18 on my list, by the time I'm 21 I'll be fairly well off at the rate I'm going. My part-time job as a Jpanese translator I get paid $20 an hour, and I don't even have a driver's license yet! Expand your horizons, learn language, tech, a class or two in culinary arts can get you some big money. There are cool jobs, ones that pay well. =D (Sincerely, a newb.)

    March 8, 2012 at 18:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • A Poor Cook

      Really? A "class or two" in culinary arts can get you some big money? Care to elaborate on that???

      March 8, 2012 at 20:25 | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      For a teenager or college student $20/hr is great money, but in the real, adult world of mortgages and bills, $20/hr is a laugh.

      March 9, 2012 at 00:35 | Report abuse |
    • Joe Sixpack

      I was really hoping a teenager who doesn't even have a drivers license would give me career advice. "culinary arts can get you some big money"? You've been watching too many ads for for-profit trade schools on TV. Maybe you should join the high-paced in-demand field of veterinary assisting, or get your private investigator license and become a globe-trotting spy. Save it for Facebook.

      March 12, 2012 at 12:00 | Report abuse |
  10. Moved On

    Several years ago I found myself in a similar situation. My advice is to "move on" as soon as you can. Life is too short to work in an inhumane environment. No one should tolerate this type of treatment in the workplace. Occasional overtime is one thing. The expectation you will always be available is not okay. I quit and got a great job with better hours and more money!

    March 9, 2012 at 03:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Claire

    A lot of the big consulting firms actually advertise that you will consistently work 15 to 25% overtime. These are used by a lot of firms and the government uses to backfill after their forced layoffs of experienced personnel. The fact is, human labor is a commodity, and there is no "work-life" consideration. Any company will drop you in a heartbeat, irrespective of how loyal or excellent you've been. If you are feeling malemployed, I suggest you see if there is a more attractive option out there for you.

    March 9, 2012 at 04:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Bill

    HA! To the guy who said he sometimes works 60 hours a week, my department did that and to save money on OT they made everyone salary. 75 hours a week is the norm. If you complain, you're gone hired by a new grad for 1/3 the cost. Problem is I'm in patient care and people die because we're exhausted and frankly don't care at times. We make mistakes DAILY that probably cost people there lives. I look at my job as a prison sentence, I've got 10 years left on my sentence before I can retire. I buy all the life insurance I can because I know I'm going to stroke out long before I should. The doctors and management just don't care.

    March 9, 2012 at 06:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jack Tenrec

      A company that I used to work for pulled that same stunt, but a worker contacted the state Department of Labor and found out that not all jobs qualify for salaries, many must be hourly. Might be worth a phone call. Our employer had to pay all of us back overtime. And the hours used for the OT pay were based upon each workers claim-not the company's records.

      March 9, 2012 at 09:29 | Report abuse |
    • KeithTexas

      Jack is right and Department of Labor compaints are higher than ever and convictions are up too.

      March 11, 2012 at 00:17 | Report abuse |
    • wine insiders

      It is almost like you wrote a book on it or something. I actually felt my brain grow when I read your write up. I really hope they’ll inspire you to take action to improve this troubled world we live on. I honestly believe that can help with your situation. I just shared thisblog on my Instagram. The best ideas move the fastest.


      December 19, 2018 at 23:25 | Report abuse |
  13. 1OfTheFallen

    It's an employers market. Real Unemployment is at 10% and 14% if you count part timers look for full time work. Employers have the upper hand but that does not describe the real situation. I own a small business and have had sales drop by 20% from the high figures in 2006/2007. Our taxes have inceased across the board to help pay city, state and federal increases.

    I also realise that after the election regardless of who is elected taxes have to increase much more. Our federal budget has balloned to unstainable levels. The only way to control the federal budget is to cut federal expenses (jobs) and raise taxes (income). This also means that many businesses will see and futher drops in sales when taxes increase since people have less income to spend.

    Businesses are working hard to try and put away enough money to make it through what could be a very rough next few years.
    I have made my employee cuts and have everyone working hard so that hopefully in the next few years we will all still have jobs.

    March 9, 2012 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. nushatka

    I have no answers either, but here is my experience: I had a well-payed job (55k after overtime), but it was stressful, "high-paced environment" as they call it in job ads, and bad management (my boss was originally from Egypt, a nightmare for a white women). I had put in enough years into this company to become vested in my 401K and then left for grad school. I started teaching (teaching assistant at a university) and loved it! Even though during grad school my pay was cut in half, I loved my part time job and I got my PhD at the end of 5 year( analytical chemistry). After grad school I had a great post-doc experience in a government lab, but now that the post doc comes to an end, and government decided to cut spending by not hiring young talent, I am getting ready to file for unemployment.

    March 9, 2012 at 16:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elizabeth

      I hope that you find other jobs, at least you have some good qualifications. See if you can network in your area of expertise, and also ask your university for assistance.

      March 9, 2012 at 23:16 | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Elizabeth... postdoctoral fellows are cheap labor for universities, and easy to replace. There are ~ 50,000 of them and very few real jobs so no university real bothers helping them. The choices are work 24/7 and work well to built an outstanding CV and get a faculty position or a job in industry. Then work 24/7 to keep your job. The other option is to quit science.
      Funding for science has been flat or reduced over the last decade. Nowadays, NIH payline is 10% or less, wich means 90%+ funding applications are denied and laboratories close and lay off everyone (staff and postdoctoral fellows). And the public doesn't know and doesn't care because science is not regarded as useful any more. In 2004, the NIH payline was above 20%.

      March 11, 2012 at 09:47 | Report abuse |
  15. Eugene Debs

    Having a union looks pretty good right now.

    March 9, 2012 at 22:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KeithTexas

      America will soon wake up and understand that all they have been told about unions was a lie.

      I worked for Corporations for years before I started my own business. I told that lie to my guys for years and believed it myself. "don't think about joining a union because we will close the doors" That is BS, they are going to do everything they can to stay in business, join the union

      March 11, 2012 at 00:20 | Report abuse |
  16. Elizabeth

    And there is another solution: Fight together with everybody else in America for real labor laws and real trade laws. The real exploitation is happening because it is LEGAL for a company to do it. As soon as it is NOT legal, they will have to stop. First step: DO NOT vote for any politician that takes the side of employers instead of employees, consistently. Look at every voting record, and vote carefully, especially judges (that often judge business discrimination or work-related cases), and state and local government positions. Also, national positions. Be goal-oriented: stick to the issue, question candidates, and demand answers publicly at town meetings. If you think you are voting for anti-government candidates, examine what else they are anti; they might be hiding behind their anti-government position while actually they are taking the money and running. People used to join unions to stop this kind of company abuse; if there is a trustworthy union, join, but it isn't the total solution when the laws ignore union contracts; the solution is to change the laws. And it is possible for unions to be corrupt too. Be fair, and if you have trouble expressing your opinion, find a verbal person to do it.

    March 9, 2012 at 23:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. zenakis

    Believe me, it's better than unemployment – in this economy we must be financially responsible as a priority now – yo need to suspend the work life balance for now – if we can't do it, then the employers will easily get someone else – those over 50? don't quit or it will be the last time you will ever work

    March 10, 2012 at 22:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. unemployable?

    The suggestion that someone just leave a job in this environment is simply preposterous.
    If you currently have a full-time job with benefits, KEEP IT.
    This is almost as asinine as the columns that tell you to hold out for your "dream job" or, worse yet, "do what you love."

    Two years ago my partner & I relocated so he could accept an exciting opportunity in his field. I left my employer of 10+ years never dreaming that with 20+ years experience & a solid resume I would not be able to find any form of employment. Jobs at my level are scarce & when you have no contacts, you get nowhere. Employers won't hire experienced or "seasoned" workers for entry-level positions. I can't even get a job waiting tables. Now my partner's position has been eliminated. Our lovely new home is on the market & if it sells before he finds something new, we will be living with family. We are in our 50's & considered "successful" & "stable."


    March 10, 2012 at 22:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fiona

      This rubbish is written by a "CNN contributor.". That generally means a freelance writer. That means she's not quite in tune with what's gong on in the world of the fully employed.

      March 11, 2012 at 17:17 | Report abuse |
    • reallyunemployable

      "Employers won't hire experienced or "seasoned" workers for entry-level positions."

      That's totally not true. I've been out of college a few years and went abroad to teach English partly because every entry-level position out there required a certain number of years of experience in the field doing very specific things in order to be considered. You had to know how to do EXACTLY what the company wanted, and they would not train you to do it, and that was pretty much uniform across the board. Now that my time abroad seems to be at an end (got laid off because I couldn't afford a car on the salary I'm paid) I'm stuck in the same position as when I had just graduated, saddled with useless experience and a mountain of student loan debt, as well as the costs of moving across the ocean again. At least you have relevant experience you can use.
      "Entry-level" is no longer the true entry-level. Unpaid internships during college are. But I couldn't afford to take time off to do that when I was a student, and no employer takes the jobs I did during college seriously. So I'm totally out of luck there, too. How is a recent grad supposed to get into the job market on that?

      March 12, 2012 at 04:40 | Report abuse |
  19. zenakis

    I am grateful I get to work on weekends – sure beats filling out unemployment forms and making phone calls to creditors –

    March 10, 2012 at 22:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Fiona

    Unfortunately, "the fine art of emotional detachment" is how far too many people deal with life - marriage, family, neighbors, communities, etc. if you find yourself needing to "detach," something is wrong in your life, and it's bigger than your job.

    March 11, 2012 at 17:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Olaf Big

    Sad! Very Sad! Putting up with all that pain to earn your pension, and and just wait and hope for retirement. Does not anybody have a life at work anymore?

    March 11, 2012 at 22:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Joe Sixpack

    At my job, they burned us all out 2 years ago, and we're all zombies now. We don't care any more. There have been no bonuses or raises, and we all get mediocre reviews. Save up for 6 months of expenses. Get as much done as you reasonably can by 5 and then leave. If they let you go, so be it. There are other jobs. No job is worth dying over. Learn how to say "No" to your boss. It's liberating.

    March 12, 2012 at 11:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. clemdane

    I quit a high paying job because of verbally abusive bosses who brought my team in and yelled at us even when we were breaking company profit records. At the same time they kept cutting our compensation and took away all the little perks they had used to get us there. Morale was terrible and I once calculated that we had had 224% total employee turnover in two years. One boss was a little tyrant who would fly into a rage over knowing and verbally humiliate someone in front of the entire sales floor. He even told us once that the owners of the company were screwing with him every chance they got so he had choice but to take it out on us! It got so I was throwing up every morning before I went to work because I had such anxiety.

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  24. Baldheaded Guy

    yes, it seems like now more than ever employers are really sticking it to their employees. with the threat of someone waiting in the wings to take your job immediately what choice do you have but to be some wrench's pet. between that social change and increasing commute and overall stress no wonder libidos are out of wack and people feel disconnected from their families. what a life we're living right now.

    March 12, 2012 at 22:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. JS

    Maybe a bad boss is a nightmare but my husband and I are both looking for work and our money's running out. I think that's worse by far.

    March 13, 2012 at 01:37 | Report abuse | Reply
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    I believe that it is a well-hidden fact that corporate America secretely LOVES this bad economy. The top 5-10% of the Nation are not feeling much pain, trust me. Instead, corporations, which pretty much run everything these days, like to tell employees, "If you don't like it, there's the door", knowing that there is little else out there for them (at least that pays above starvation levels). The 10% have the other 90% of the population (well, minus the 30% or so that have been, and will always be, on some type of social assistance and never work a day in their parasitical lives) over the barrel, so to speak. You work more trying to please a "master" who will never be impressed by you, because unless you are part of the 'club', you will never be PERMITTED to succeed to any great degree. We are all just tools, just like the ones handing in your shed, and can easily be replaced without any guilt whatsoever. That is why this current system must fail, so that people can once again be free. Remove your shackles people...you are WORTH more than this miserable life of fake freedoms and perpetual servitude.

    March 20, 2012 at 20:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Lin

    I am in the military. I sat for three years in a position doing not only my own job but my supervisors. The military allows active duty to receive pay while they are being medically evaluated this evaluation took over three years while she received chief master sir pay. My male commander continued to allow this ask me to take the high road as he shook my harnd and said I would revive the chiefs job once she finally retired. Keep in mind your tax dollars at work while this woman collected chief pay for doing nothing . The male commander played rugby with another male counterpart deployed with him. Needless to say the handshake and three years of doing two jobs did not happen. My commander picked the male rugby friend for the chief job after I did it for three years and received outstanding appraisals for the job. When ask why he had no answer made up eight variables in which I asked him what they were to this day I stll don't know why. Male favoritism. When I said I would take it to EEO they said I would be retired before anything came of it and I would shoot myself in the foot if I made a stink for other jobs. Talk about male favoritism join the nyguard

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