D ear Amy: When I graduated from college I had no choice but to take the first full-time job offered to me. For the last nine months I have been working as a bookkeeper. It seemed like the perfect job for me but it has turned into a nightmare.
My supervisor is a micromanager who causes me a great deal of stress. I find it hard to do anything on my own with her hovering over me. As a result, I am dependent on her because I am so used to how she does things. She had gotten me into trouble by allowing (and even recommending) that I do certain things and then throwing me under the bus for doing them.
My husband has told me that I’ve become a different person since I started working there; I seem to be angrier and I often unintentionally take it out on him. My doctor tells me I have an unhealthy level of stress and, despite medications, he is concerned that I am going to have a stroke someday. I can feel the toll that this is taking on my body; I am starting to feel ill most of the time.
I never wanted to be a bookkeeper – I wanted to be a financial planner so that I could help people achieve their dreams. I have decided it is time to move on and I am searching daily for new positions. But my husband is disabled and cannot work full time, so I need a good job.
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I don’t know how to get through this period. I have the sinking feeling that my supervisor’s behavior is just going to get worse. I don’t know if I can emotionally handle facing rejection. In addition to all of this I have a strange feeling of guilt. I keep second-guessing myself.
Dear Stressed: I hope you’ve done everything possible to make your current situation more bearable, including trying to move laterally within your organization.
In addition to a job search, you should find healthy ways to manage your stress. Yoga, meditation and exercise will help. Seeing a professional counselor will give you insight. You should also try to deal more effectively with your supervisor. If you’re going to be blamed for everything anyway, this seems like an invitation to take on some real responsibility for your work.
Every single professional experience you face throughout your working life will present different challenges and stresses; developing the confidence to take chances and own your mistakes is the answer.
Dear Amy: I took my girlfriend of two months out for Valentine’s Day. I picked her up, meeting her with chocolates in hand, and we went out. We had a good time and naturally I paid for the event, food and drinks. OK. I’m fine with that.
We returned to her place and chatted as we held each other, and I managed slip into the conversation that I didn’t receive a Valentine’s gift from her. She brushed it off with some words and a smile. I drove home with pursed lips.
Isn’t Valentine’s Day supposed to be a two-way street? How should I handle this?
Dear Jilted: How would your girlfriend feel if you had neglected to acknowledge her on Valentine’s Day?
That’s how you feel now.
This is a new relationship, but I think this incident is probably quite telling. Either she isn’t really all that into you or, in your girlfriend’s world, everything is all about her. I suspect you will see this in other ways as time goes on.
You don’t need to consult my vintage “Magic 8 Ball” to see that this relationship’s status is: “Outlook Not Good.”
Dear Amy: Hello? “Wrap-proachful” didn’t like the responsibility of wrapping the gifts her mother-in-law sent for the kids.
Gift bags are the answer!
— Busy Parent
Dear Busy: Doh. Of course! And this mom could even assign one gift bag per child and reuse them. (Insert sound of me smacking my forehead here…)