The End of Work As You Know It

How to redefine work in your own terms

Lucky to Have the Job I Still Hate

Is it wrong to feel unappreciative for having a job that you can't stand, especially when thousands of people are losing theirs? No. That's just everyone's way of dealing with a bleak situation and trying to see the glass as half full.   Read More

I agree

Someone recently said,

"I've never been so goddamn grateful for what has become such a shitty ass job."

We Feel You

Not only is it bad that one has a job they can't stand, but for it to become even worse is frustrating. Most people don't start a job with the intent of hating it. They start it with optimism. It's like dating. Everything is great at first. It's not until after you move in that you see all the bad habits and things you didn't want to see. At work, that optimism quickly fades as you start to experience the culture and deal with the politics.

There's hope. We call it getting engaged by balancing what you GIVE and what you TAKE from your job. We talk about this in our book, Job Spa. You have to balance the equation. If you give too much and don't take enough, you burn out. If you take too much and do enough just to get by, you're seen as entitled.

What's the issue really about? You can do something else.

I agree that showing up for the job more fully and building the resume' is a shift that may lead to something else. If the work and the work environment are the issue, then taking action steps toward what they want either inside or outside of the job will support one in feeling better. It will shift the energy from: "I hate my job" to "I can do something about this." The lack of hope or of momentum toward something different is depressing. If you are unhappy with your job, is it the work or environment? What do you REALLY want to do instead? Really? What one thing can you do that is a turtle step in that direction?

You are not your job... You are not your Khakis...

Yes, what is the issue? Survival vs. self expression seems to sum it up for me. What kind of life is it if you can survive but not enjoy what you do? Is maintaining a 'standard of living' really worth the trade-off?

I think outside the job could be given more attention. For those whose job description is essentially a simple human servo-mechanism, it is very unlikely for them to be applying the kind of advice given in the article since they do the same activity from day to day, even moment to moment. As someone who has some kind of inner life and recognizes this, I simply don't "give" as much as I might since the job description doesn't call for much more than physical activity anyway. Basically I am always multitasking because my inner activity may have very little to do with the physical work. So even though it is happening during work hours, I would categorize this as outside the job as well - so I am kind of only giving half (or less) of my time if you will. There is simply not much for me to be taking from work due to the nature of the beast, I am simply not interested in the vast majority of what they can possibly offer. Of course, in the long run a change that aligns both would make more sense, but of course that involves the entire life context and just giving and taking is not enough to assess that. Not to mention there is both individual and collective life context, suffice it to say though that survival alone is not fulfilling - and not actually guaranteed in the end, anyway!

I disagree

I disagree with your opinion on taking on new projects and searching for tasks within the organization to strengthen your resume. While it might be effective in the short term, I believe that most people that want to leave their current job are either uncomfortable with their surroundings (people and atmosphere) or their actual daily work. Taking on more tasks or suggesting a new project seems like, "a cop out strategy," and during a time that companies are downsizing I wouldn't want to look like the proverbial weakest link.
On the other hand, I strongly agree with your opinion on networking and shopping your resume while you work. I can attest that the strategy is effective it's worked for me on several occasions.

Don't under estimate the power of exposure

I have to say there are very good points made in this article. Looking for "new" ways to subsidize your current situation is a very good approach in this environment and one that I've used when coaching people who work for me. While the "Disagree" posting sees it differently, never under estimate the power of exposure. From personal experience, all of the jobs I have had have come from doing that "new project", or taking on my job on my terms. This doesn't mean to ignore your assigned responsibilities rather its stepping out to do more than "just" those.

Job Assumptions

Q: Why are articles such as this always written as if everyone's job is white-collar office work?

> Perhaps you can get on projects (or even initiate projects) that strengthen your resume.
What if I don't have a resume? I'm a manual labourer. Or I'm a cashier, and the company doesn't want my input, and there are no "projects".

> What about networking? Have you been sitting in your cubicle keeping to yourself?
Cubicle? Networking? I operate a construction crane. I'm a toll booth collector. Or a school bus driver.

> Perhaps even leveraging your company name to get on speaking panels to get visibilty.
No comment. Except that the correct spelling is "visibility".

I agree with Sylvia. I'm in a

I agree with Sylvia. I'm in a commission-based vocation that I not only have come to dislike greatly, but is no longer sustaining me due to the economy. I'm frustrated and have lost motivation to conjure up more business, nor does my boss care either way if I'm surviving. It doesn't cost her anything to keep me because she provides no benefits. Unfortunately, I've been in this profession just long enough that my previous skills and experience seem outdated. I'm trying to go back to school to get my degree, but I'm not receiving enough financial aid to be in it full-time. Nor can I afford that kind of debt. Even if I go part-time I'm still going to need a better job while I pursue it. I either try and step up what I'm doing now (which I need anxiety meds to get through), or take something different that will probably be at a lower wage. Damned if I do, and damned if I don't.

Sylvia is spot on.

These articles do seem to always be written towards a narrow segment of the working population. Yes, what about those blue collar workers, or even white collar workers like me?

I happen to an advanced degree and hold a white collar position. We all have very defined roles here. There are no 'projects' to start or get involved with, there are no people to network with (just the other schleps with low moral that detest it here). The upper management has no interest in anyone's input, and there really is no company 'name' to capitalize on for employees of our level. Sure, upper management maybe, but not us.

I liken this article to those giving financial advice. "Be sure to have several to six months worth of living expenses saved for a rainy day." Reality is, many many many people earn just enough to pay the bills every month; including those that do not live extravagantly.

Decide to Engage...

When the journey to work is a chore and you find yourself making comments to yourself and/or others about your job - you, are your own worst enemy. You are most likely projecting negative energy which is going to attract other of like and spiral your situation to the inevitable.

If, you enjoy what you do and you feel it is the circumstances that are creating your dissatisfaction, try to overwhelm the circumstances with positive energy. Don't get caught up in the current mentality - Change It. Individuals have so much more power to influence than they are aware. What if this was your company? We all have the ability to decide to break through barriers.

Take a mental inventory of how many people in your company are engaged (what you have access to anyway). What would it be like to work at your company if every single person was engaged, loved what they do, positive attitude, full of ideas, appreciative - WOW! This would be one great company. This is the x factor, this is what I live to be around.

Do you have the ability to engage and influence? What a great project that would be...

What are you engaging?

Sorry, but I just don't buy that everything is about the individual - the whole attitude is picked up from the collective in the first place, yes, but that doesn't mean focusing on the individual is the answer.

Now if you're talking about engaging with the people in your company who is not totally engrossed in the negative mentality, okay I can see that. That is not looking to the individual as a separate entity to stand up from everything and everyone else. Of course, if you're ONLY focusing on people in your company that is a limited view just as focusing on your own resolve is, I say look at your entire life context - which hopefully isn't just your job, in which case I guess that IS all you have to work with at least for the time being.

For me, I may or may not stay with the company in spite of the state of the economy, so I'm not going to just focus on my immediate situation. I'm also not just interested in positivity, by the way, there's a reason why they say ignorance is bliss. I can't take people who ONLY focus on positive energy seriously because it tends to lack substance, it just revolves around the feeling of the individual. On the other hand, if there is real action taken to work with others on whatever change you wish to see, there is actually a basis for feeling better and one tends to automatically feel the weight lifted.

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Milo Sindell and Thuy H. Sindell are workplace experts and the founders of two software companies: Hit The Ground Running and Knowledge Genie.

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