Attitude issues or just plain bad luck?

My friend’s roomate has terrible luck with jobs. That is, every job she has worked in she gets treated like shit. It always seems like she is in a situation in which she is the only hard/serious worker at her job, and everyone else is lazy slobs that make her do everything and take all the credit (almost sounds like a Cindarella complex or something). All her managers have been nepotistic petty rumor spreaders. It seems like she gets driven from one job to another. As her current job becomes increasingly unbearable, because “The assistant manager who is the managers best friend quit but then decided to work during the holidays for the sole purpose of depriving the decent employees of hours by scheduling himself to work 2 weeks straight” or something she applies for another job, which starts out well because its usually slightly different but then decays into the same deal.

I’ve been wondering if she has really bad luck or maybe she isn’t such a great employee after all; there are things to suggest either in her employment history. Seeing what she puts up with makes me establish what I WOULD NOT put up with in a job- I’ve decided presently that if my work got to a certain level of unpleasentness I would quit before it got worse, and never let them know/feel I have the job because I need it/desperate for one else I get treated like a doormat there.

Are you hearing all of this second hand or are you actually in her work enviroments? Reason I ask is because my estranged wife always seemed to be in the same position. Hardest worker, lazy co-workers, work place deteriorates, she moves on to something slightly different, it is fun for awhile and then the cycle starts all over again. While we were together I always felt so bad for her that she kept getting shitty jobs like that. After being seperated from her for close to a year I just realized that she is a freakin’ whiner from hell and that if she would just suck it up and stick it out through the rough times she would be able to hold on to a job for more than a year.

As a side note, she just called me up this morning and told me she just quit from her crappy job this morning, a job that a few months ago was her dream job.

Well, in my vast experience with the world, if the same circumstances keep following someone from job to job to job, chances are the problem is the one factor that stays the same - her. If it happened once or twice, I would put it down to bad luck. Three, four, five plus times - probably her. It’s like people who keep dating the same type of guy, and keep getting a crappy relationship - you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten. On the other hand, maybe she needs a change in industry. Maybe her industry really is filled with rotten employers.

While I will admit that there are plenty of assholes out there that will treat you like a doormat if you let them, it sounds to me like your friend needs a little thicker skin.

If I let half the stuff that goes on every day get to me, I might be in the same boat. I think that far too many people take work related conflicts too personally, and far too many people don’t know how to give work-related criticism that focuses on the job and not the person. It’s a two way street.

She’s probably not necessarily a bad employee per se, but she sounds like she’s having problems coping with stress and focusing on the job. Also, I would venture to say that most of us have at one point in time or another felt like we were the only hard workers, and everyone else was taking credit for our work. It’s very difficult to accurately judge how hard someone else is working unless you’ve either done their job before or spend every second of the day monitoring them. I’d be willing to bet that the people she works with do more than she gives them credit for.

I have a theory about people like this. I am sort of like this, except I don’t hate my jobs. I love every one of the 6 billion I’ve had! The problem is BOREDOM. I just get sick of the same thing some times (although I have had a couple jobs that lasted anywhere from 4 to 9 years). Maybe your friend should be a temp. You never stay long enough to get bored. I’ve been temping for almost 5 years and its the best 5 years of my working life. I’d like to stay permanent where I am right now, but it was only after searching for a long time that I found one that met my needs. I’ve been here about a year now. You might want to suggest it.

I used to be very similar. Every year or two I would move to another job, get bored, hate it, move on again, and so on.

Basically, I noticed a couple of things - I kept on taking the same job over and over again. Every job ended up being a variation of low level programming/consulting jobs (visual basic, HTML, etc) for non-technical bosses. I hated programming. I kept getting frustrated that coworkers did not “get it” as quickly or the managers did not understand it well enough to properly lead an initiative. I found the pay, while pretty good by most standards, was a lot less than what I wanted to be earning. I hated having no say over what kind of projects I worked on. And I really hated not having the support I needed to finish a project. The end result is that I am very good at my work, but most people sense that I am not happy with it or don’t care about it (which really shouldn’t matter as long as it gets done, but it does) and they are right.

So, it is possible that your friend is also caught in a similar cycle of switching from one job to the next without really switching jobs.
Another thing is that companies want people to “fit it”. The nail that sticks out usually gets pounded down. So your friend may actually be a good worker. A weak manager might find this threatening. I had a similar problem where I was tasked to work with some incompetant old guy who had been trying to develop a data link for several months. He constantly would complain that I was after his suck-ass job, which I wasn’t. I just wanted to finish the stupid project so I could move on.

I would stay away from temp or short-term work. It’s better to gain deep expertise in a particular area and I don’t believe you can do that switching projects every couple of months.

Well, see, I’m not sure if its her or the job, because there is evidence to suggest both-

Is it the job?
-Many of the jobs she’s worked are mall jobs which regardless of store are pretty similar. They also attracted a similar element in managers (drug addicts, control freaks, immature brats)

-Her current job has her working with a friend of hers, and the friend is exposed to the same politics at the job

-Managers would deliberately schedule her to work days/hours she previously stated she couldn’t because of school/conflicts. They also would sometimes transfer her to work at a store they knew she couldn’t possibly commute to (she has no car) to make her have to quit.

Is it her?
-Of the non-mall jobs she worked at, one involved working with a friend of mine doing bug-testing for video games (Infogrames). At this job she made similar rants about the attitudes and politics of others, and thought she was doing very well but my friend told me that she didn’t respond well to feedback and that she would blithely go along thinking she was a great employee and not making the neccessary improvments/changes to keep up with her coworkers (hence she was one of the first to go when layoffs occurred)

-Her attitude in her household (consisting of her and my best friend in their apartment) is also bad; she is messy and disorganized and whenever my friend tries to get her to clean up after herself she gets super-defensive and tries to make my friend out to by a hypocrite. She can’t stand to be reminded to do something she’s supposed to do, or told she needs to do a better job next time; she often totally overreacts to this and then has the assumption she’s too incompetent to do anything :rolleyes:

I agree that she is the common factor in all these situations. Many people who have chronic “bad luck” often see themselves as a helpless victim of circumstances or the evil intent of others. This attitude frees that person from taking responsibility for his or her own failure/success.

Some of the job circumstances you describe sound like the tactics a manager might use to get rid of an employee who is problematic but not fire-able. The theory is that you can’t fire 'em, but you can sure apply policies strictly enough to make them miserable enough to quit. The behaviors describe a personality that absolutely makes for a problematic employee.

I once had a girlfriend similar to Amp’s estranged wife.

Like other posters have mentioned, at first you want to believe what the “victim” says. Sooner or later, you no longer believe in the “persecution”.
I left her. I truly care for her, but I think she will go through life convinced that other folks are out to get her. In my view, it was all in her head. We get along fine these days, but the relationship was strained to the breaking point, and how. It’s damned near impossible to be with someone like that. They will drive you nuts.

Sounds like a little of both. I don’t know how old you guys are, but in the professional world, the mall manager is not particulary high up there. If you’re lucky, it’s some community college grad but often it could just be a high school or college kid who has been working there a couple years. In any case, you aren’t exactly dealing with Six Sigma material here.

That said, you still have to get along with the boss and flying off the handle when they correct you is usually not the way to go.
:smiley: I do remember the good ole days of working mall jobs in high school/college. It was nice being able to just tell the boss to go fuck off cause you knew that it was just for the summer.