top of page

Dear Lifelines: Trapped

Dear Lifelines:

I can’t seem to get motivated at work. I don’t enjoy it anymore but need to tough it out for the money. I feel like I’m trapped. Any ideas?


Dear Trapped,

Few of us can say that we haven’t experienced what you are going through right now. It might seem like an impossible challenge when you just focus on how much you hate your job and how you feel you are being forced to stay there for financial reasons. You might find yourself making excuses not to go to work, needing sick days, maxing out on your holiday time and generally looking for any reason to avoid work. As one might predict, if this type of behaviour continues you will quite possibly compromise your position and soon be out looking for another job because your boss noticed your lack of motivation, too. Not surprisingly, it’s best if you can avoid this outcome. It’s generally ideal to end your employment on your own terms and on a positive note, allowing you the ability to plan ahead in your search for another job and still be able to acquire positive references from your current employer.

Perhaps start by weighing the pros and cons of your current job. You have to remember that going to a job that you hate every day will have an impact on your health and wellbeing. It might end up costing you a lot more in the long run if you need to take sick days, mental health days or find yourself in the position of unexpectedly losing your job altogether. In your list, try to think back to what attracted you to the job in the first place – the income? the job perks? the camaraderie with your co-workers? Just what has changed so that it is no longer a good fit?

Focus on what you need to change in order to get a new job or more desirable position within the company. Perhaps you feel comfortable enough to ask your employer if there are any opportunities for subtle changes in your position. Can you change locations or alter your hours? Can you take on new or additional responsibilities that you might find more rewarding? Can you eliminate some of your less desirable tasks by taking on these new responsibilities? Perhaps you can take some training that will get you out of the office and challenge you in more exciting ways, allowing for you to add a few more features to your resume. More and more employers and progressive companies are looking at innovative ways to help retain employees by keeping them happy and healthy. Searching the net might provide you additionally with ideas as to what other employers are doing in order to be competitive. As you look around, you might be inspired by other job prospects or ideas that could propel you into a more suitable workplace scenario.

Additionally, it’s a real disservice to yourself if you ignore how you are feeling. You have acknowledged that you need a change and now it’s time to do something about it. Imagine what you would be doing if you could do anything you wanted. What would your ideal job look like and where would it be? Would you be working with people, in a team environment, or isolated and working independently? There are many career questionnaires online that you might want to check out if you are not sure about options. Once you decide what your ideal job would be, go after it step by step. Do you need to get additional training? How much of a budget do you need? What is stopping you from getting that job? If you take the time to chart your course to your ideal destination, you will get there and it will be on your terms. In having that plan it might provide you with the inspiration and distraction you need to get through some challenging and less-desirable work situations.

Best of Luck!


“Nothing great has ever been achieved without enthusiasm.” Ralph Waldo Emerson


bottom of page