Feeling Trapped in Your Job?

Tips to help you break free.

March 24, 2010, 8:41 PM

March 25, 2010— -- With nearly 15 million Americans unemployed, people with jobs often feel fortunate to have work.

But in these challenging times, being employed doesn't always mean you're happy at work. Worker dissatisfaction ranges from feeling overqualified with no sign of advancement opportunity to feeling underappreciated by bosses who treat underlings as though they're lucky to be employed. Many say they feel trapped, unable to find other work.

Of course, the best solution is to get a new job. But if that's not possible right now, consider the next-best alternatives.

Ask yourself, "How can I get unstuck?" What's the smallest thing that's in your control that could bring improvement?

In an ideal world, we'd all be happy and content at work. But if you can't find happiness on the job right now, look for an outside distraction to provide that joy and contentment.

Tips to Help Move Your Career Forward

If promotions/raises aren't an option right now, take the long view and ask your boss, "How can I help you? What more can I do to help you or this department or this company reach the next big goal or overcome the next hurdle?" The person who says that to me is a keeper; that's someone I'd eye for a promotion or raise when I'm able.

Think ahead because this too shall pass. Borrowing from Madeleine Albright: There's a special place in hell for the managers who treat employees poorly because they believe those employees have no other options. It's bad business, bad management, bad all around.

Plenty of organizations will lose their best people because of this when the job market picks up. So the big bosses ought to think about requiring Leadership 101 or "managing in challenging times" training for some of their managers. Management should solicit feedback from the troops to assess their cultures right now. When your people aren't happy, they can't possibly give their best work, which is what's needed most right now.

Tory Johnson is the workplace contributor on "Good Morning America" and the CEO of Women For Hire. Talk to her at Twitter.com/ToryJohnson.

Click here to return to the "Good Morning America" Web site.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events