Unhappy on the Job

A reader writes…

I have been a Respiratory Therapist for 17 years. I started a new job back in May at a well-known hospital, but I am so unhappy there. I do not like the people there; they constantly talk about others. The morale there is very low, and I feel that it is taking me down with it. I worked at another well-known hospital for 17 years, and I loved it – I just could not keep up with the long drive. The people were nice to work with, and I did not feel like the black sheep. I have started looking for another job, and that is that is not in my personality to do this, but I am so unhappy that I do not know what to do.

Dear “Black Sheep,”

In my opinion, if you’re unhappy with your current place of employment, you should start looking for a new job immediately.

There, I said it. 

Even in an economy where jobs are sparse and millions of people would be willing to take any —and I mean ANY – position, I’m a firm believer that you need to be happy in the place where you spend a good majority of your time.  You’ve been there nearly a year, and things are not going as you had hoped.  That happens.  It’s not easy to deal with, but not every environment or “company culture” is right for every person.

In your case, it doesn’t seem to be your actual “job” that’s bugging you. It’s the people, the environment, the mood. 

Have you spoken with your direct supervisor or manager about this?

Workplace gossip is not only counterproductive; it’s unacceptable and should be avoided.  Your manager needs to be tuned in to the situation and address it right away – particularly if it’s affecting your performance.  (I’m hoping your manager is not PART of the problem!)

You’ve proven that you are a dedicated employee just by the fact that you were at the same hospital for the previous 17 years.  I can also sense by your question that you’re feeling guilty.  Putting your feelers out is not a crime… especially if it’s for your own good (and job satisfaction).  The key is to “look around” without making it known to your current employer.  As mentioned above… jobs can be sparse, and you should avoid unemployment.    Never proactively switch jobs until you have something else completely lined up.

My guess is that you have a lot of people in your professional network that may be able to help.  Likewise, you can consider going through a specialty agency for your field.  Let THEM do all the legwork!

Readers, what do you think? Should she stick it out in hopes that things get better?  Or explore new options?  Post your comments here.

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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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