Burned Out and Miserable

Q: I am 50 years old and miserable in my job. My commute is long. My coworkers are negative. The work is repetitive. I feel like there is no meaning in what I do, other than making money for my employer. Is this it? Is this what the rest of the working world feels? I am burned out and miserable.

A: Oh no. I am sorry you are feeling so crummy about your current role. Although we all have our horrible days, this sounds like more than just one bad day here or there.

The rest of the working world does not feel like that, or I refuse to believe that most do! There are days that many of us want to tear our hair out, but it is not each and every day.

You need to develop a plan. Instead of feeling trapped, think about where else you would want to work and what else you would like to do. Is there anything you like about your current role? It sounds like the commute, the work on your desk and your colleagues are all areas that may need to change. Begin researching options.

Look at opportunities within a reasonable commuting distance or those which permit some type of telecommuting. Sometimes we never know if we will land with positive or negative colleagues but it is important to ask questions about culture during the interview process. Ask about employee turnover and if the company posts jobs and moves employees internally into new roles. Also you can visit sites like Glassdoor which sometimes can provide information about the inner workings of a company. Current and former employees can also share information about how the company works and the company culture. Do you have skills which may be transferable to another role or even another industry?

Developing a plan means writing it down. Committing to action items with deadlines attached. It means taking a critical look at your LinkedIn profile and making sure it has a professional photo and key words embedded in your experience and summary. Start connecting with new contacts every day.

Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.