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Job misery, responsibilities make him feel trapped

By Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior
Andrea Bonior (that's BONN-yer!) is a licensed clinical psychologist, professor, and writer. She completed her M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology focusing on individual and group psychotherapy for young adults and specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression.

Q: I’m lost in terms of my career and feel trapped because I’m married with kids. I’ve never liked my job, and being in this field was supposed to be temporary. But eight years later, I’m in the same job, miserable as ever. My wife’s job is not entirely stable, and I know she relies on my income being secure. It is, but I want to do something else with my life, and I feel like I can’t even bring it up. – Stuck

The beauty of exploring other job options is that you don’t have to lose your current job in order to do so. So start poking around.

Broach the idea with your wife before any action whatsoever, in a low-key way that lets her know that you’re just doing some thinking.

In order to alleviate her anxiety, you can set some ground rules: You won’t quit until you have a plan in place, you won’t take more than a certain amount of a pay cut, you won’t go back to school unless a certain amount is paid for, etc.

Her fears are understandable, but so is your need to do something that doesn’t make you miserable. These changes might take a new budget or a downsizing of a house, but your mental health for the next 20 years will be worth it.

Q: I have a friend who’s always saying things that make her sound very unintelligent. I cringe every time I hear her mispronouncing things, misusing words, etc. She’s not as dumb as she seems, and I’m guessing this is making her come off badly on dates and at work, but I don’t know how to tell her. – Trying Not to Snicker

Does she have a reality show yet?

Honestly, telling a friend that she doesn’t come across as very intelligent is not typically going to go over very well. (Perhaps you can distract her with something shiny?)

Think about her personality. Is she able to be self-deprecating? Or does she tend to be insecure? Does she respond well to humor? Does she relish ways to improve herself, or is she defensive and protective of the status quo? In an ideal situation, you start slowly to see how she reacts. (“Don’t you mean…,” said with a good-natured giggle.)

If you can gently turn this into a “thing” that she acknowledges and is affectionately teased about, then she might be motivated to improve.

But proceed with caution. Criticizing a friend is a tough row to hoe (or shall I say, a tough road to mow?)

Andrea Bonior is a clinical psychologist and the author of “The Friendship Fix.”
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