There are few things I love more than a quirky, witty headline.  I mean, chocolate and coffee are both real close, but you know what I mean.

This particular headline is a quote from Amy Poehler from her book titled “Yes, Please”.  At first glance I can see where she’s coming from – if it’s not working for you, ditch it – we’re independent chicks, we don’t have time for that sh*t.  But when it really comes down to it, I’m not entirely sure that treating anything like a bad anything is such a great strategy.  Just seems a little counter-intuitive, or even maybe passive-aggressive – don’t ya think?

But here is some food for thought – what if we treated our careers like good mates, and expected them to do the same for us?  And if and when they don’t satisfy our needs anymore, we dissolve the relationship in a way that works for us and is simultaneously respectful of them?  You know, healthy relationship kind of stuff?

Here are some of the most common job blunders and their equivalent bad boyfriend prototype, and some ways you can go about solving the situation for good.

You’re lacking the resources to do your job.  Bad Boyfriend prototype:  Dude who is cute but not that smart and the conversation is dull as cardboard.  Sometimes we have to do more with less.  I get it.  And sometimes cash-strapped times can be a great opportunity to explore how you can get more creative and really do some great work on the cheap.  But if you’re continually feeling creatively stifled, or like you’re unable to meet unrealistic expectations or fulfill your desires, you and your career could be at an impasse.  Talk to your boss about the specific resources you need – go to him with a list, prices, a way to source them, and some logic behind how this will help your productivity.

You have no work life balance.  Bad Boyfriend prototype:  Dude who is needy and has no friends or hobbies.  Sometimes it’s okay if your mate takes up all your spare time: when you’re getting to know each other, falling in love, doing all sorts of amazing, life fulfilling things…that’s great.  The problem starts when all the togetherness stops being fun.  Same thing with your job.  It’s alright to work late when you first start, or if you put in extra hours on the weekend because you’re excited about a new product launch.  But when the expectation is that you sacrifice your personal life, and you no longer want to do that, is when it becomes a problem.  Just like a boyfriend who latches onto you and doesn’t let you have any girl time, have a conversation with your boss about it.  Get really clear with yourself about what it is you need, and how you need them to act in order to maintain this employment relationship.  You don’t have to be all uptight about it – “Boss, I really love what I do – but my husband is going to divorce me if I’m checking email past 6pm.  Are you cool if I don’t respond until the morning?” type thing works, too.

You’re underpaid.  Bad Boyfriend prototype:  Dude is just not good enough for you.  Listen, I know it sounds bitchy, but this one is kind of like the equivalent of ‘dating down’.  You know you can do better, you’re not exactly sure why you’re staying with him.  He’s kind of good enough for now, but for forever….jeez…it seems like so much work to go find someone else… It’s a shitty spot to be in.  If you think you’re worth more than your company does, it is up to you to truly believe that in your heart, and go out there and get what you think you deserve.  Being underpaid is the quickest way to become resentful of your employer, and it’s a slippery slope.  Before you know it you’re bored out of your mind, miserable, hating everyone, and eating way too much chocolate all day.  Be realistic with your expectations:  talk to your network, do research online, ask yourself what would make you happy.  And while yes, more money is often only a temporary solution, being obviously or overtly underpaid by industry standards sucks, and it sucks for your self esteem too.

You don’t seem to have a career path or future there.  Bad Boyfriend prototype:  The dude who is wishy washy about commitment.  You want a promotion.  You have made that clear.  You know exactly where you want to be in ten years, and are starting to get irritated and impatient about where you’re going to go next, and maybe you’re starting to look elsewhere.  Look, your deadbeat boyfriend isn’t going to break up with you, and you’re probably not going to get fired.  They’re happy to keep  you around as long as you keep doing the same old boring status quo.  If you know where you want to be, it’s just a matter of growing the balls to take the next step.  Start looking, and when the time is right, cut the cord.    

You’re being disrespected.  Bad Boyfriend prototype:  Either a good dude in a bad mood, or is a serious douchebag you should break up with ASAP.  What would you do if your boyfriend was disrespectful?  Fuck it!  Ditch him!  Waaaaait a second, let’s back up.  If your boyfriend was in a pissy mood one or two days over the last month and was short with you, maybe it makes sense to just give him a little space.  If he is continually a dick and doesn’t listen to you, doesn’t seem to care about your interests, seems more interested in himself than you – then yes, it’s up to you to decide it doesn’t feel good anymore and stand up for what is best for you.  Same thing with the job – everybody has bad days.  How many bad days are there?  Does everybody at work treat you that way, or is it a select one or two people?  Be honest with yourself – is there something you could be doing differently?  Is your boyfriend angry because you deleted game of thrones from the DVR before he watched it?  Is there a different way you could look at the situation?  If it’s truly an issue of company culture/values, it might be time to look elsewhere.  If it’s one or two douchebags, check out this great piece on how to handle asshole coworkers.

You deserve a job that celebrates you, that deserves you, and that you also celebrate and deserve!  Take the time to choose your next step not just in order to escape your present situation, but to improve your working  life and advance your career.

A little apprehension is normal, and expected.  Be gentle with yourself and you will be amazed what is on the other side.

Do me a quick favor, let me know in the comments below your favorite Bad Boyfriend Prototype, and if you have a clever one I’ve missed!

Much love,

Jaclyn xo

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