What's your problem?

MY WELL-PAID JOB IS KILLING ME. I've worked in an investment bank since graduation and am now in my early thirties. The job is ruining my health and personal life.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

All week I wine and dine potential clients until the early hours, or I'm on a long-haul flight to meet overseas clients. I've become overweight, have insomnia, and my health's suffering from the drinking. I've lost touch with my friends and my fiancee has left me because I'm rarely home. It's all part of the bank's macho culture, and I'd be branded a wimp if I complained to my boss. Yet I feel I can't leave - I've got a couple of large mortgages and I've become used to the money and status. I don't know what I'd do without it.

A: Well, you're going to have to find out. If you don't leave this job pretty soon, you can be certain that the job will leave you. What investment bank, particularly in 2002, is going to continue to employ an overweight insomniac with a drink problem?

I'm sorry to sound harsh; but since you're honest enough and self-aware enough to tell me all this in the first place, you should also be able to face up to the inevitable consequences.

Your choice is a simple one. Wait until they fire you, and then face the future with dented confidence and a smudgy CV. Or fire yourself now. Sell one of those two properties; lose a bit of weight; regain a bit of self-respect; apologise to your girl friend; learn how to live on less money: and vow never again to become addicted to the phoney, fragile status that silly salaries confer.

Jeremy Bullmore's responses to work dilemmas in MT are collected in his book Another Bad Day at the Office? (Penguin, pounds 5.99)

Please address your problems to Jeremy Bullmore at: Management Today, 174 Hammersmith Road, London W6 7JP. Or e-mail: management.today@haynet.com Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Is it favouritism to protect an employee no one likes?

The Dominic Cummings affair shows the dangers of double standards, but it’s also true that...

Masterclass: Communicating in a crisis

In this video, Moneypenny CEO Joanna Swash and Hill+Knowlton Strategies UK CEO Simon Whitehead discuss...

Remote working forever? No thanks

EKM's CEO Antony Chesworth has had no problems working from home, but he has no...

5 rules for work-at-home productivity

And how to focus when focusing feels impossible.

Scandal management lessons from Dominic Cummings

The PR industry offers its take on the PM’s svengali.

Why emails cause conflict

And what you can do about it.