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When was the last time you were happy with a job? Or a relationship? What defined that job or relationship as making you happy.  Now think about the last job you had that made you miserable, or the last relationship. You might have been earning a sizable income in your last job, but even with all that money you still weren’t happy.  On the other hand in a bad relationship, you are the one paying for it emotionally (or alimony & divorce) – sometimes long after it ends.

Other than that, there’s really not much difference! On the contrary, similarities are abundant. Here are just a quick and easy five to start with:

  1. They almost always try to keep you on a short leash by not giving you what you want and deserve.


If you think about a bad job situation, it is almost always true that the company tries to keep withholding what you want and what you deserve as long as they can: the raise, the bonus, the promotion, or more common in the immigrant worker situation that I’m most familiar with – the green card.  Companies are so worried that you are going to slack off or leave as soon as they give you the reward you DESERVE.  They seldom realize that had they provided exciting work, and a good work environment with reasonable career progression, the RIGHT employees won’t slack off or leave after being rewarded.   To them, continuing to do great work is its own REWARD. Similarly, in many bad relationships, the men think women are all gold-diggers and hence afraid to be generous or else he’d be taken advantage of.   Women use sex as a weapon and even deliberately withhold sex, scared to death that men are going to slack off or leave after sex. Well, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a job or a relationship – the RIGHT person will NOT betray generosity – they will only be grateful and seek to reciprocate.  In other words, if someone does slack off or leave, they are not the RIGHT ones. As a matter of fact, the fastest way to screen employees and potential partners is probably giving them exactly what they want when they deserve it (and see how they behave afterwards). Sadly for a lot of companies and broken hearts, by withholding that promotion, the generous dinner, or sex, the RIGHT people will eventually get disappointed.  Ultimately they WILL leave to find a better job, a better partner.

  1. They almost always try to manipulate through unnatural competition.

Blog_I_Shark Tank

Don’t you get tired of how many management books like to quote the “Shark Tank” theory and Darwinism when it comes to spicing up competition to “keep people on their toes” and “drive optimal performance”? The problem is, it only works well when things happen naturally in the free market and everybody in it CHOSE to play the game. When you deliberately put two or more people on the same job just to MAKE them compete, politics and treachery almost always take time and resources away from solid performance.  This results in the RIGHT employee feeling stressed, belittled and under-appreciated. Guess what happens then? You got it. Similarly, the RIGHT love partner is secure enough in him/herself and your relationship that they don’t feel the need to get your attention through flirting with others, constantly reminding you about the ‘competition’ to make you jealous. They also don’t need to be reminded through external competition to keep treating you well and giving you attention in the ways you deserve. Even when there are conflicts, they’d much prefer to be direct (and kind) in voicing their needs as well as being considerate about yours, rather than responding in such passive-aggressive attention seeking behaviors that only lead to turmoil.

  1. They almost always…yes, it’s the M word…Micromanage…arrgh!

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Does your boss always say “I don’t mean to micromanage, BUT…”? Well, as most of us already know, nothing before the BUT matters. Unless it’s a highly complicated project and the person’s just getting started, nobody appreciates be watched over to do every single thing. Sometimes it’s because the boss doesn’t trust you with autonomy – that you’d slack off or make tons of mistakes without him breathing down your shoulder; sometimes it’s because the boss feels terribly insecure in his own position versus how strong you are, and therefore s/he needs to know about every single move you make – to control the spreading words about your excellence. So, does your love partner also always say something like “I don’t mean to snoop around/sound controlling…BUT”? Watch out! More often than not, they ARE snooping around, and they ARE trying to figure out where you are, who you are with, what you are doing…and use that information and authoritative tone to either size up the often nonexistent ‘competition’ or to find new ways to control your behavior so you’ll do exactly what they want, how and when they want it.

  1. They almost always make you feel like you can never succeed by being yourself.

Blog_I_Fish Climb Tree

Do you ever get that feeling sitting in a conference room looking around at all the people in pin-striped suites BSing all over the place about loyalty, value, teamwork with straight faces (all the while playing treacherous dirty political games for their own gain without fail under that very table)? -The feeling that you can never be “one of them”, or you’d end up hating yourself so much that you’d commit suicide at any second? Do you ever get that feeling that no matter how hard you try, you are never doing anything right and you never will (and I’m not talking about actual job performance – you know what I’m talking about)? A bad relationship makes you feel the same way. It’s not that you partner or you are necessarily bad people all the time – there are just too many incompatibilities that you never truly feel like yourself. Even when you get a pat on the shoulder saying “Good Job” after working your ass off either at work or trying to make someone happy, you still get that sick feeling in your stomach and a dry throat thinking “OMG I’m glad they/s/he likes it but that just almost killed me…I don’t know if I can keep doing this…” Meantime, all your good qualities are almost always overlooked, under-utilized and withering…Nothing kills a person’s spirit more than trying to make your inner fish climb his/her trees. What would you do if you find yourself the fish climbing trees? Yeah. You are welcome.

  1. They almost always never listen to your concerns – and even when they do, they backpedal!

Do you ever feel like your concerns are never heard, easily dismissed, and seldom seriously considered even though your professional manager / career politician boss always make sure s/he breathes the following hot air? “Great, I really appreciate you bringing that to my attention. I want you to know that these are not falling on deaf ears…” But it kinda, sorta, always DOES fall on deaf ears? Even if s/he eventually concede to make adjustments – not so fast – this may sound ridiculous in the adult working world, but it’s really not that unlikely for your company, your boss to backtrack on their promises by plainly denying them! When you press for an answer, they’ll simply say “O RLY? I don’t remember saying that.” Now even if you’ve got proof, they’ll just easily brush it off by saying “OMG, I was just making a general analogy/statement, how could you take it so black-and-white?! You know, that’s not going to help you succeed in this company…” and they’ve just successfully turned it around into an personal attack on you. Need I tell you more about tone-deaf partners and those who constantly disappoints you after you’ve made your reasonable demands time and time again? Sounds familiar?

Blog_I_Let It Go

Well, enough trash talking about bad jobs and bad relationships. Sometimes we’ve just gotta admit that a lot of companies are not employee friendly and a lot of people are not ready for maintaining happy healthy relationships. That being said, if we are looking for the dream job, and we are looking to build happy healthy relationships. What should we DO? Just remember this: one more day you spend in a bad job or a bad relationship, is one more day you could have used to find the RIGHT job and the RIGHT relationship!


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