Feeling Blah about work?

job rainI received some backchannel email blow-back on my last post (10 Most Loved Jobs. And 10 Most Hated) and the related posts on Doing What You Love.  (Whispering to me: Here you go again.  Not everyone is in the situation YOU are in.  Try to walk in someone else’s shoes for a change.  Tired of you preaching about Doing. What. You. Love.  Some of us can’t walk away to a lesser paying job to Do.What.We.Love.  We need to pay the bills.  We can’t relo away from aging parents, family, friends.  We can’t walk away from our house and the mortgage. We need to keep the Don’t-Love-My-Job we have.) 

OK.  I get it.  Yet so many are unhappy.  Feel stuck.  Are unfulfilled. Or are frustrated in their current station. The three articles below share some excellent advice on how to make the most of the current job you are in.  My Cliff-Notes recap is summarized here:

  • Do. (Continue) to do an excellent job.
  • Connect. (Develop deeper relationships with people you work with)
  • Learn. (Learn & apply new skills and knowledge which will fuel higher levels of engagement)
  • Contribute. (Achievement and contribution gives us a higher sense of purpose.)
  • Don’t Complain.  (…And drag down your colleagues and pollute your brand.)

There’s no justification for an employee to wait expectantly for the organization to furnish engagement, as if it’s something somebody can give you. The key to sustainable high engagement is taking primary responsibility for it. Now is the time to own your own engagement. (FastCompany)

Here’s the 3 self-help articles on the topic…

HBR Blog Network: Who Says Work Has to Be Fulfilling?

“…If you are unhappy with your job, go find another one, “they” say. And in theory, we don’t disagree with any of that. But we don’t live in a theoretical world. Fulfilling jobs don’t grow on trees, especially today when the unemployment rate is stubbornly high. Jobs that start out as fulfilling can become less so as bosses change, competition intensifies, or just as a matter of course. What’s a person to do?…”

From FastCompany: Feeling Blah About Work? Don’t Blame Your Boss–Get Engaged

“…As an employee, you have three choices: Accept what you’ve been given, change what you’ve been given, or leave what you’ve been given. We want to focus on the second option. If you feel underused and undervalued, you can do something about it…”

HBR Blog Network: Don’t Like Your Job? Change it.  (Without Quitting)

“..Sometimes you know your job just isn’t right for you. Maybe you’re in the wrong field, don’t enjoy the work, feel surrounded by untrustworthy coworkers, or have an incompetent. Most people would tell you to find something that’s a better fit. But that may not be possible. There are many reasons you may not be able to leave: a tough economy, family commitments, or limited opportunities in your field. So what do you do when you’re stuck in the wrong job?…”

Related Posts:


  1. The advisory articles provide welcome strategies for making a difficult employment experience better. And presumably, the blowback was just that – and not a catalyst for the harsh self-flagellation!! People who feel stuck in their jobs, often feel victimized by their circumstances. It’s important to remember that most situations can be made better by exercising some control over them. Really good advice (but for the negative self-editorials which are just not accurate)…:-)


  2. Great advice David, I really like the article on HBR blog. Happy Tuesday to you!


  3. And if your Cliff-Notes Recap doesn’t work, a person might be in the wrong job and should look at moving on. Example, if the people you work with are so repulsive and vile that you shudder at the thought of getting to know them better, it’s probably time to get a transfer or a new job.


  4. LaDona's Music Studio says:

    There are many people in many places in the world who would welcome any job. Seriously. Those who whine about not being able to do what they love need to look beyond themselves and be thankful for what they have.
    I hope this doesn’t sound harsh but this one has been bothering me all day – not a negative response directed to you, Dave, just to all the whiners.
    And I realize I’m “doing what I love” but it hasn’t been without its drawbacks and conflicts.


    • You aren’t alone LaDona. Most of us (including me) who are positions we love have a tough time imagining anything else. I’ve come to be more sympathetic (somewhat more) to those that are in difficult situations on the tail end of the curve that have limited options. And, furthermore, even those that love what they do, have very difficult days, weeks and months and still slug it out.


  5. I believe, if a person wants something badly enough out of their life, they can find a way to make it happen. I see too many people caught up in a world where all they do is work to pay for things. I try to remember that life is precious, every single moment a precious gift. So I for one want to spend as much of it being happy with what I am doing and becoming. The bills get paid, but I also find time to make my dreams come true which in my case is about to! All of my years of writing and studying the craft of fiction writing are about to pay off in a very grand way because I never gave up on my dream even when those I love most did. I did not!


  6. Lucia Supova says:

    Highly useful, in the right time for me, call it coincidence or not 🙂 I appreciate a lot your efforts to inspire the world 🙂



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