Feeling Trapped, Swimming in Circles?

Send questions about the office, money, careers and work-life balance to [email protected]. Include your name and location, or a request to remain anonymous. Letters may be edited.

Drafting an Escape Plan

You’re in a frustrating professional situation where you’re told you are valuable, but you aren’t treated as such. I have no doubt you’re essential, but your employer is taking advantage of you and it certainly isn’t demonstrating that it believes you’re essential in the ways that matter most. And to have no room for advancement must be so dispiriting. The best thing you can do is what I suspect you’ve already started doing. Polish your résumé and cover letter and get relentless about looking for new work, not only in your own field but in adjacent fields, too. Reach out to your personal and professional networks, as you can, and let them know you’re looking for new employment opportunities. Be specific about what you’re looking for. I don’t know that anyone ever feels empowered to quit, because doing so is precarious. You can’t quit today but you can start mapping out what the path to quitting looks like. Life is way too short to stay in a dead-end job that won’t even allow you to make ends meet.

Toxic Office Talk

When your new hire makes bigoted comments in the workplace, it is part of his professional conduct. It is appropriate and necessary to discuss these comments in your evaluation. The comments he is making are xenophobic and antisemitic. And if he is making such comments so casually, these ideas are deeply ingrained. When you meet with him, outline your expectations for appropriate workplace conduct, the consequences if he continues to make such comments, and the resources he can use to address the problem and learn more about contributing to an inclusive climate. Create a timeline for improvement and be sure to check in with him every few weeks or so until you feel that the problem has resolved, or not.

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