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This is my brother's issue and I want to help him.

After a few months of jobless, He got a job last month at a small trading company(import or export goods from manufacturers then sell those in other countries) as a customs related profession.

Recently, It seems he's dealing with lots of unrelated tasks(label designing using Photoshop, attending a promotional booth at a conference, works from other teams, driving boss' car, etc) and this makes him stressed. I asked him if he is stressed by doing unrelated works or if the work itself is hard. He said "both".

Another problem is that he tantrum all about it at home with anger almost every day. I and my parents tried to listen to him at first. We told him some advice on how to deal with, but he refuses to even try those for reasons like 'My manager won't listen' or 'CEO will fire me'. Eventually, we had a deep and uncomfortable talk with him and told him to endure a bit more like an adult and try not to talk about his work at home too much. A few days later, he is stressed even more and he personally talks to me that 'I want someone to listen, but you made me not to talk about my work'.

My brother returned home with anger yesterday again so I had another talk. I learned(and amazed) that he didn't even talk about his issues to his supervisor. I told him that you can only solve the issues by talking to your supervisor, not with the family. I advised him to talk as soon as possible, but he said that a conference is coming 2 days later so he can't do it tomorrow so he will say it next week. I can't understand why that is an issue, but I let him do so.

I'm asking this question because:

  • I checked other similar Q&As, but most of them telling OP to quit the job saying the current job market is in favor of software engineer. But he is not a software engineer so I can't say the same to him.
  • Family relation is kept getting unbearable due to him.
  • I don't think he is solving his own problem well.

My questions are:

  • How should my brother approach to his problem?
  • How should I(family) approach to my brother?
  • Should I show this question to my brother?
  • If this is as serious as I understand it is, it would have happened in the past as well, is there a possibility for you to contact people who used to work there/ are working there, how did they handle this and what was the outcome, the choice from my perspective is clear, take it up with the supervisor and leave if nothing comes of it, but then I don't have the full picture, so investigate covertly what happened in the past if possible, your brother is also more likely to try if the outcomes of such scenarios have been positive. – anand_v.singh Apr 9 at 5:43
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    What is he actually hired to do? What does he think his job would be? what's in his contract? – nvoigt Apr 9 at 6:29
  • @nvoigt 1. According to their online job description, - Trading office work - Enter the exported goods entry slip, dispatch - Preparation of other documents related to overseas shipment clearance (proof of origin etc). - erp input - Summary of Purchase Statement 2&3. Maybe same as the job description, but I'll ask later. – user2652379 Apr 9 at 6:56
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    Just generally speaking, I would be very cautious with any advice that simply states that you should quit your job. This is thrown around by those that often have the privilege of working in an environment where it is easy to get a job, or a personal situation where losing a job is no big deal. – Gregory Currie Apr 9 at 10:22
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Your brother is most likely having a hard time adjusting to the demands of being employed again after months out of work - that's not to say there aren't genuine issues for him though.

Doing "unrelated works" is a common feature of many jobs - and this is especially true at small firms where they don't have the headcount to have a person dedicated to each specific role.

he refuses to even try those for reasons like 'My manager won't listen' or 'CEO will fire me'

While these might be exaggerations - your brother is almost certainly fearful of doing something that might cause him to lose the job.

I checked other similar Q&As, but most of them telling OP to quit the job saying the current job market is in favor of software engineer. But he is not a software engineer so I can't say the same to him.

In your brother's case I don't think "just find another job" is the right advice - he needs to get himself re-established in the workforce and if he was unemployed for several months before this job it could easily take a similar amount of time to find work again

How should my brother approach to his problem?

I'd recommend he try and calmly talk to his supervisor about the things that he is finding difficult to cope with and see if there's any additional support the company can provide - but ultimately I think he's going to have to grit his teeth and hang in there, at least for the time being.

How should I(family) approach to my brother?

With some compassion - it sounds like he is in need of an outlet to vent a bit. Listen to him, and re-assure him that you and your family want him to succeed.

Should I show this question to my brother?

Up to you.. personally I'd say you might want to cherry pick some advice from answers to give him if you think it would help but I wouldn't show him the question, statements like

Family relation is kept getting unbearable due to him.

aren't necessarily going to do him any good, I can see it making him feel worse and on the whole it could be counterproductive.

  • This seems correct to me. All the activities listed do in fact seem like a normal part of the job described. Good luck to the brother. – Fattie Apr 9 at 13:34
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I 90% agree with motosubatsu's answer, so I'll just say my piece on the 10%.

it sounds like he is in need of an outlet to vent a bit. Listen to him, and re-assure him that you and your family want him to succeed.

OP and his family can't be the brother's emotional punching bag whenever he wants to. Yes, they need to be compassionate and understanding, but there's also so much someone can take. Hearing so much negativity and anger, every day, can really drain someone.

So OP, here's my advice for that : figure out for yourself how much you're willing to take : 30 minutes every day ? An hour on the week-end ? Figure out how much time you're willing and able to give your brother to vent. Then go to your brother, tell him you want to help and support him, and set your boundaries.

Setting your boundaries could also mean you don't want him screaming, or punching something. You say he's angry when he comes home, I don't know what you mean by that, but it can be pretty scary and/or tiring to be close to an angry person. For example, if you don't want him to scream, tell him, and when he does, just leave the room and tell him you'll listen to him again when he's calmed down.

Also, just see it as being an ear for your brother : you won't fix this for him, I don't even think he wants that from you. He just wants to vent. He doesn't want you to find a solution. He just wants to be heard. So don't be so invested when he talks to you, don't think about how he could fix the situation. Just be a sympathetic ear, listen to him, reassure him ("It must be so hard for you").

If in a couple of weeks or months or days you really can't take this anymore, it's also ok to say you don't wish to talk about this again.

One last thing : you're not the only way for your brother to work through his frustration and anger at his job. There are lots of ways he could deal with this without ruining the family : sports, journaling, see a therapist, meditation,... Maybe suggest one or two to your brother.

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What your brother is doing is 'unloading' his stress on you. He isn't looking for you to fix his problems, he's looking for your support and sympathy. It's very difficult, when someone starts telling you about their problems and how upsetting they are, not to try to help them fix the situation. That is not what this is about.

What is happening is that during the day your brother is getting more and more stressed. He can't let it out, he's too busy so as soon as he can relax his safetly valve blows and you and your family are getting the consequences of this. He's letting off steam at the end of the day. The wife/husband of someone with a very stressful job will be very familiar with the 'end of day unloading' that goes on.

It may be that the job is too much for him or that he really can't cope but only he can fix that. You and your family can give advice but only he can decide which advice to take, if any, and how to implement it. It may be that, in time, he comes to cope with and even enjoy his job. I've seen this sort of de-stressing happen when people absolutley love their job and can't wait to get back to it.

As you've seen, trying to fix his problems for him is making things even worse. Now he's got two stressful situations; work and home. You are trying to help as best you can but you've caused another problem. What you need do is step back, accept that his problem is not your responsibility, listen, be supportive and sympathetic. He needs friendship, not fixes

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