Illustration by Jim Cooke/GMG.

Welcome to Dear Jane, Jezebel’s advice column.

Dear Jane,

I don’t feel like I can ask anyone else in my life about these things. If I talk to them, they’ll just be concerned, and that will stress me more.

My job. I love my job, I get the smallest salary over anyone that works there, but have worked there the longest and do the most work ( and the most important work). My job title doesn’t exactly match the job I do, my work involves much more responsibility, but I feel like that has typecast me. If I left this job, I feel like my work experience makes me only qualified for this type of job.

I left uni with a degree and masters, and took the first job I could get, and now, years later, it’s the only type of job I can do.

Did I make a mistake taking the first job I was offered after uni even though I was very over qualified for it, rather than waiting for something better? I like my job, but I’m earning the salary of someone 10 years younger and have no real job security. What do you think is the most important thing to consider in a job? I help people, and get great job satisfaction, but I’m not where I should be at my age.

Can you offer any advice?

Many thanks,

E.R.

You love your job? You love your job! This is incredible, infuriating news. We are all so happy and envious of you. I want to know so, so badly what type of job exists where someone could work below their pay grade and title for a decade and still love it. It’s a miracle.

Maybe that says more about your personality than the job itself? Are you a masochist? I’m not trying to be hyperbolic or insulting; this is a common ailment. Is there something you get out of being the hardest worker who loves their job more than anyone and never gets the credit they deserve? When I say that, does it remind you of any earlier experiences you’ve had that were the same? Was that the role you played in your family dynamic growing up perhaps? Sometimes we are afraid of getting the credit we deserve because then we have something we must live up to. If you are underpaid and under-appreciated then you get to be a martyr for as long as you want, and it’s not a bad spot to be in. Just ask Joan of Arc?

If that’s not it and fear has been holding you back from asking to receive what you are worth for all these years, fear no longer. As someone who had no safety net whatsoever even before college, I always took the first job offered to me since age 14. You are not alone. We all make fear-based decisions and sometimes they help us move forward in life until we get to a place where we make decisions for other reasons. It took me decades; we may be kindred spirits. Once you can set aside the worry that without this shitty-paying, belittling job you will be destitute, you will begin to value yourself, and your time on this planet, a lot more.

I will say that if you’ve been there that long and haven’t been fired, you can consider yourself indispensable. Your boss is taking advantage of your passivity and when you walk into their office on Monday and ask for a better title and more pay, they will think to themselves, “Shit. The gig is up,” and the only person who will lose their job is an underling they hired with the money they know should’ve gone to you.

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“But what if you’re wrong?,” you ask? Then they will just turn you down and you’ll have all the more reason to move on when you’re ready. Your boss sounds like a real asshole. It’s okay to go forward with that being the working assumption.

Dear Jane,

I am 40 years old. (That’s not my problem.) My longest relationship ever was 3.5 years, from which I have a cute, super cool kid. I have been successful professionally and never had a issue there, but my personal life has generally been a shit-show. I own my own home, have some degrees, been called pretty a bunch of times, there is nothing outwardly wrong with me. But the consensus has been (I gather), that I am a little crazy and a little needy. Ok, whatever.

Here is the problem: I am dating a 45 year old man, it’s been a year. I am still a little crazy and needy, but he mostly ignores it (which I try to deal with as gracefully as I am able), so I think it’s working, but he refuses to talk about the future. That’s not entirely accurate, he refuses to talk about the future with me. He talks about how he is and will be remodeling his home, he talks about different houses I should buy in better school districts or whatever, he talks about what my kid will be like when she is a teenager (he has raised a child who is grown up and gone). When I ask him if he is interested in marriage again or living with someone again (me?) he says he is interested in “enjoying now” (gag) and then sort of trails off.

He’s been divorced for five years, I have never been properly married and bottom line, I don’t need him to say he’s my husband, I just want him to want it. What I want is the wanting. Is that asking too much? I just want him to desire me in more than a “now” way and to be comfortable expressing it at appropriate and noteworthy times.

Should I take what I can get because I am a lot of work? What the fuck kind of advantage is it to play cool? I am not cool. Just give me the wanting. Ok? I might also mention I am really good at the sex, so maybe he just likes that.

Thanks!!

Sincerely,

Knuckles-deep in what’s his name

Just chill. You’ve already got everything so there’s nothing more for either of you to want. You made it! You’ve both had children and significant others, rich rewarding lives, each other. You’re set. Why the hell would you want to fuck that up with a marriage or living with some guy whose only interests seem to be houses and fixing up houses? Wake me up when we get to the good part, you know what I mean? You want him to want to fart next to you in his sleep every day for the rest of your lives? You want him to want to talk to you about when the property tax estimates are due? You want him to want to not let you pick out your own goddamned countertops when you get new kitchen cabinets?

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Now take a deep breath and say your new mantra: We are here and everything is fine.

Dear Jane,

I recently discovered that the guy I’ve been dating... let’s call him Andrew Hole... is married. And has been for a while. Long enough to have an in-wedlock toddler. I’ve known him for ~7 years (filled with intermittent hookups) but recently moved to the same city and officially started dating. Turns out when you bring up marriage to a married guy, things go south fast... I promptly euthanized that relationship - no brainer there. The real question is: do I tell Mrs. Hole? A few details that may or may not matter:

1) When we first met (pre-intermittent hookups), he was dating Mrs. Hole but told me they broke up about a year later. Commence intermittent hookups.

2) Did the math, and the first time A. Hole told me he loved me was about a month before he married Mrs. Hole.

3) Did the math, A. Hole picked a weird fight over nothing and ghosted for like 6 months after having Baby Hole. He reappeared all on his own.

4) His apartment was really his army-buddy’s apartment and there’s a good chance he’s not the only one using it to cheat on his wife. A. Hole actually lives in a cute little suburban colonial.

5) Thanks to Mrs. Hole’s Facebook page, I now know that A. Hole regularly cropped his wife and daughter out of photos he’d send me.

6) I met his mother.

7) Mrs. Hole does not have a great-paying job or family in the area, and we live in an expensive city.

8) The few married friends I have said they wouldn’t want to know, whereas my mentality has always been ‘knowledge is power’...

9) I have proof. Photos. Emails. Screenshots from some naughty Skype sessions.

10) I don’t have a 10 - just seemed like a good number to end on.

Thoughts?

No. No you do not blow up a marriage that you are not a partner in, ever, unless someone is being physically or mentally abused. Or maybe if you know someone is being drained of their entire life savings. Or if you believe that one person in the marriage is a serial killer. I can’t think of other situations in which you are allowed to blow up another person’s marriage, but I’m sure our commenters can come up with some.

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You don’t know what kind of deal they have! Just leave him alone and try to do due diligence in your next relationship so that you don’t ever have to ask this question again.