My Dream Job is Now a Drag

Dear Heidi,

I landed my dream job about two years ago. It was fantastic. I finally had the chance to what I dreamed about since I was a kid — an animator at one of the top companies — and I was really passionate about what I was doing. That lasted about a year until the reality of office politics and the toll of a 9 to 5 (let’s be real, 7 am to 9 pm) work day hit me. Now I’m bored, frustrated and worst of all, unhappy. What do I do to get out of this slump? Is it just a phase or should I call it quits?

— Shattered Dreams


Uh oh. The honeymoon phase at your “dream job” has come to an end.
On the bright side, deets on this outfit coming soon.

Dear Shattered Dreams,

A quick reality check: Office politics and big companies go together like bad botox on an episode of RHOBH. There is no separating the two. In fact, the bigger the company, the more office politics there will be. So if you think going to another company will get rid of office politics, it’s not going to happen.

So how do you handle office politics? You don’t. Just accept that it’s part of adult life and working with a big company, or don’t work with a big company. Also, define what you mean by being “happy.” Often, not being happy is the result of not knowing what you want.

So you’re an animator at a big company. Ask yourself: what’s the point? Did you want to become an animator to inspire people to look at the world differently 24/7? Or did you want to become an animator because you think you can work for a big company doing something you like… but just from 9 to 5 ?

As for “the toll of working 7am to 9 pm” daily, well,  the PC answer is for me to tell you to get your work-life balance figured out. The real answer is, it’s more realistic to aim for work-life integration instead. Sometimes, there really are can’t-wait-’til-tomorrow deadlines. At times, you’ll have to decide which is more important: work ambition or personal time. Tough love, darling.

Being bored and frustrated at work is very normal. I can’t tell you how often I feel like calling it quits and just sit at home playing with kittens. Then I get emails from readers telling me how much they love my blog or asking me for help on a fashion or work issue… and I remember why I do what I do. So, take a minutes (or hours, days) and try to remember why you wanted to be an animator as a kid.

As a quick fix –  I suggest watching quick 10 min clips of House of Cards anytime you feel your work politics getting the better of you. You’ll thank your lucky stars that you don’t have the Underwoods in your office.

Photo by Josefina Andrés for Vogue