I keep changing jobs because I clash with my coworkers

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m an unemployed 35-year-old single woman. I’ve been unable to work for a company long-term because I have trouble maintaining good relationships at work. I’ve already changed jobs six times, too often for my age. The longest I’ve ever worked for one place was three years. I left my most recent company after working there only six months.

I quit jobs because the relationship with my supervisors and senior colleagues always deteriorates. I’m a college graduate with a serious character. I’ve made very few mistakes at work and, having a broad perspective, I am always considerate of those around me.

However, I would always challenge anything I didn’t agree with, even if I was up against my boss or senior colleagues. Perhaps because of this, I was treated unreasonably and harassed, and had difficulty in staying at the workplace. No one helped me.

I know how hard it is to find a new job having lost so many, but I cannot stand the painful situation in which I find myself. All I do is stay at home all day long doing nothing, I feel miserable, thinking life is pointless. Being single and without a regular job, I wonder how I’ll live on my own in the future. My parents are also worried about me and I feel bad about it.

— P, Fukuoka Prefecture

Dear Ms. P:

Workplace culture varies from place to place. Some places, especially foreign-affiliated companies, are friendly and allow workers to express their opinions irrespective of hierarchy. But in Japan, many workplaces are hierarchical, like the ones you have worked for.

I’m also not good at maintaining interpersonal relationships. When I was young, I often clashed with professors and other superiors. I may have been fortunate in that I’m a researcher in the humanities, so I don’t have to pay much attention to my superiors.

You’ve been able to find employment many times, so I don’t think it would be too difficult to find a job suitable for you. You don’t have to give up. Consult a counselor or other job-seeking professionals for an opportunity to examine yourself a little and ask for advice on what kind of work you are best suited for.

It’s important to think about the future and find a partner with whom you will share your life, but I think you should find a job first. You may find a good partner while searching for a job, and if you do so, you will be lucky. I recommend you have that mindset.

— Masahiro Yamada, professor