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August 22, 2014

Job Advice for TV's Workers - and You

by Stephanie Earp, posted Jan 13th 2010 9:00AM

I have so many friends who seem stuck in jobs that are going nowhere. Maybe it's my age - which you can't expect me to confess. Suffice to say, my friends and I are of that age where most summer weekends are spent at weddings, and conversations are increasingly interrupted by the mewling of babies in the background. It's an age where your priorities shift away from painting the town red towards buying paint for the kids' room. And it's an age where you start to wonder if you'll always have a job, or if you'll ever get a career.

Sometimes it's hard to see the truth of what's going on in your own life, and easier to judge the lives of others. Like the fictional others of television shows. If you find yourself relating especially closely to any of the following, it might be time to spruce up your resume.
I have so many friends who seem stuck in jobs that are going nowhere. Maybe it's my age - which you can't expect me to confess. Suffice to say, my friends and I are of that age where most summer weekends are spent at weddings, and conversations are increasingly interrupted by the mewling of babies in the background. It's an age where your priorities shift away from painting the town red towards buying paint for the kids' room. And it's an age where you start to wonder if you'll always have a job, or if you'll ever get a career.

Sometimes it's hard to see the truth of what's going on in your own life, and easier to judge the lives of others. Like the fictional others of television shows. If you find yourself relating especially closely to any of the following, it might be time to spruce up your resume.

It's Time to Leave Your Job When... You're In Love with A Co-Worker or Boss

If, like Waylon Smithers, you carry a torch for the boss, it's time to look for new employment. For one thing, if the boss is aware of your attachment, your genuine efforts and accomplishments may be downplayed in an effort to discourage your affections. Not to mention, the microcosm of the workplace could be skewing your view. Is a brittle-boned evil genius really the one for you? You could probably do better.

Or maybe like Emma Pillsbury of 'Glee', the object of your office crush is a married co-worker. You could do it Emma's way - namely becoming engaged to another co-worker and then postponing your wedding until your real feelings become obvious. Or you could do the sane thing and seek both new employment and a therapist.

It's Time to Leave Your Job When... You've Been Demoted

So you're the coach of the winningest high school football team in Texas - the players love you, you are a good influence on them and you are even able to find work for the kids the system has chewed up and spit out. Then all of a sudden, you find yourself ousted and moved to a wreck of a school on the wrong side of the tracks, where the players are inexperienced and don't like you. If 'Friday Night Lights' was real life and not TV, Coach Taylor would never accept the job at East Dillon, and no one would expect him to. Unless you really suck at your job, a demotion is a good time to consider using that EI you've been paying in to.

It's Time to Leave Your Job When... You Start Turning Into Your Boss

If you've suffered it out under a lunatic boss, and managed to get promoted to co-manager of the bankrupt paper company where you work, I suppose congratulations are in order. Most people with your obvious skills would have found other work a long time ago. But now that you've reached the top - or at least are sharing the top with a man you sometimes loathe - there are new pitfalls to avoid. Like turning into your lunatic boss. Hey, no one blames you. You've spent your entire career dealing with this guy's management style, its no wonder you don't know anything else. Maybe it's time to seek experiences elsewhere. Because not only is this 'Office'-esque career track no good for you - it's not funny.

It's Time to Leave Your Job When... You're the Last One Standing

Everyone needs to blow off a little steam about work from time to time - and doing it over drinks with co-workers who can appreciate the subject is a bonus. But is anyone going to put their money - in the form of a paycheque - where their mouth is? Chances are, if things really are as bad as you and your colleagues say they are, people will start moving on. If, like Greg Saunders and Catherine Willows at the Las Vegas 'CSI' office, you find you are the only one left from a core group of employees who have moved on to greener pastures, it might be time to consider a change. Especially if, like Greg, you're still a junior, and don't have impressive decolletage to flash in your bullet-proof vest.

It's Time to Leave Your Job When... You Work Too Much Overtime

Sometimes on late nights in the publishing industry, one of the higher ups may be heard to say 'Hey, we're not curing cancer' or 'Hey, we're not saving the world' as if that's supposed to make the drones feel better about working until 8 at night to get the latest Kardashian gossip into print. But some jobs are a little more directly related to the continuing existence of our universe, and it's easy to get sucked into working insane hours when the fate of the free world is in your hands. Just ask Jack Bauer, who's managed to have a granddaughter grow up enough to speak meaningful dialogue without him spending more than a few minutes with her. The trap in these jobs is that everyone considers you the expert - no one else can get it done. You try to leave, but they keep calling you back in for contract work. It's time to put your foot down - train a replacement and get an unlisted number.

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