Upon careful reflection, I decided I had two choices - either I change my job, or I change my thinking. And since changing my job wasn't an option, I had to change my thoughts.
One day a book of continuing education courses from the local university came in the mail. I decided that the courses would either help make me more marketable for a job change (if/when necessary) and/or the subject matter would help me deal with my current work situation.
In case you're wondering - I am an employee of a large corporation but I work from home. I don't have any local co-workers and my manager is in Toronto. If I was in an office environment, I'm sure I'd be able to sit down with my manager or the HR department and work out a mutual solution to help me. And yes, I could phone the HR department, but without them knowing my position or even knowing me personally I'm concerned that the results may not have a positive outcome for me.
The first course that was available was a Human Resources course about the HR department being an effective business partner within the organization. It opened my eyes as to what the HR department does and I learned a lot about how a strategic partnership was possible. Unfortunately the next couple of courses were sold out, so I tried a Business Management course on Leadership skills - also extremely enlightening and informative. The next one was Conflict Resolution and the third one was Business Management and Adminstrative Skills (finding and keeping employees) .
Not only did these courses open my eyes and provide new and valuable information, I also learned that some of my struggles were not unique to me (okay I technically already new that, but now I could hear from others about how they handled the same issues) and most importantly, I was able to meet and 'network' with others in my local community.
The courses have currently stopped for the summer, but I have already received the new fall schedule and I'm looking very forward to the upcoming classes - in both Business Management and Human Resources. The best news - my employee refunds my tuition upon successful completion (one of the few perks still available).