Agony Aunt: I am a mechanical engineer, but my pay is half of what I expected

When job makes you joyless

I am a mechanical engineer. My pay is half of what I expected it to be and that is not giving me the social life I expected. I want to move up but it will be years before the next promotion is up. I am not qualified for anything else and this is just making me unhappy. I have realised that I have become quite aversive towards working in the office and end up taking sick leaves very often. I am worried that my behaviour would soon be under the radar. What should I do?

Ans. There are a few considerations that need to be made here in order to understand the discrepancy between what is actually available to you and what are your expectations. Evaluate the market scenario with respect to your job profile and the pay scale, if this is where the discrepancy is then looking for another workplace could be an option. Realigning your expectations with the current scenario (with respect to your job profile) is also essential so that you know your worth in the company.

The interest factor

I run a cosmetic clinic and have a staff of 13 people. However, since its success I have had a little time to interact with my clients and do treatments. I am doing managerial work a lot, but it’s not what I love. I have a very energetic team and feel that I can contribute a lot to their learning if I am on field more than the time I spend behind the desk. What should I do to make my work seem more interesting?

Ans. As goes the saying – “With success comes great responsibility.” The shift in your work profile seems to be mainly due to the success of your clinic. Delegation usually opens up time and space for other things that you would enjoy doing. Thus, in your case, with a staff of 13 people, if you can work around cohesively and figure out how things can be eased on the managerial front with the help so that you get enough time on hand to work with clients would lead to a win-win situation for all. Since you have an energetic team to work with, this could be used as an advantage and you can train the team to manage things at the client level as well as the managerial level so that it ensures an all-round development and a holistic learning for your staff and a fulfilling experience for you.

Talent matters

I love baking. I run the dessert counter in a restaurant. But I have a very little creative freedom. It is affecting the quality of my work and my mood. I feel like my talent is going to waste as I have several degrees from international institutes, but I need the job. I end up looking at my counterparts working elsewhere and making the most of the opportunities that come their way. I feel I have the right mix of passion and talent which can be translated into my work. What should I do?

Ans. The key to get something done as per your liking is to articulate the same. Here discussing your plans about being creative with the seniors concerned could be a start to something that you are aiming at. I understand that creativity, when stifled, could be detrimental to your mental wellbeing. In order to not end up feeling that your talent is wasted, you may alternatively try taking up a few projects outside your work space, if your work space and time permits, or guarantees such freedom. You could also start taking baby steps in your workspace by introducing one new item on the menu probably once a week to begin with.

Agony Aunt: I am a mechanical engineer, but my pay is half of what I expected

Doctor’s distress

I have been a doctor for the past 11 years. I go to three hospitals, which are in different parts of the city. I spend half my day travelling and my patients are always frustrated because I end up reaching late due to uncertain traffic and horrible road conditions. My clients think that my behaviour reflects tardiness worries me. What should I do to improve my relationship with my clients? Additionally, my health is also getting affected and in order to make up for running late, my family time gets slashed. How do I improve my work-life balance?

Ans. A few alterations in your work schedule are essential as respecting client timings is paramount. I understand your predicament and worry with respect to running late and upsetting clients as your image, despite being a good doctor, might be overlooked as tardiness replaces the same. Dividing the workload of the three hospitals on different days, scheduling your appointments with enough buffer time to spare which could be taken up by unforeseen traffic or bad road conditions may help in streamlining your schedule better. Your life involves your family, as well as yourself to take care of along with the patients. Thus, while making changes in your schedule, making time for yourself and your family is also imperative.


(Dr. Anjali Chhabria, Consultant Psychiatrist)

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