Leadership Solutions from Read Solutions Group: Three signs of a miserable job

Friday, August 24, 2007

Three signs of a miserable job

Do you hate your job? While Gallup finds that 77% of Americans hate their jobs, a University of Chicago survey shows satisfaction at 86%. Let's see, they were either talking to vastly different survey samples, or the questions were wildly different.

The reality is that there are a lot of people who feel trapped in their jobs for financial reasons, who feel unappreciated by their bosses, and who face each day's work as another day of drudgery. There are a lot of self-help gurus out there who would suggest that you should find your passion, and the money and satisfaction will follow. Easier said than done when financial security is shaky and others are depending on your earnings.

Another school of thought is that the job is about the money. If you want satisfaction, you should seek it in another area of your life. Certainly more practical, and worth factoring into job choices; but this denies the reality that work takes up a very large portion of our waking hours.

Nash and Stevenson in their book, Just Enough: Tools for Creating Success in Your Work and Life, suggest that success has four components:
  • Happiness – feeling about pleasure and contentment about your life
  • Achievement – accomplishments that compare favorably against similar goals others have strived for
  • Significance – the sense that you’ve made a positive impact on people you care about
  • Legacy – a way to establish your values or accomplishments so as to help others find future success.
In an ideal world, maybe our job can give fulfill needs in all four of these areas; but most people live in less than idea worlds. Rather than seeking everything from one aspect of our lives, perhaps it would be more useful to find happiness in hobbies, family and community work; to find significance with your friends and in service to others; and to find legacy through your families and other creations from your heart. Who knows, maybe in looking for satisfaction out of the job, it will be easier to get out of bed in the mornings.

For more on the three signs of a miserable job and what managers aren't doing about it, see Lisa Takeuchi Cullen's blog through the title link.

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