Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Three Signs of a Miserable Job

I recently announced my intention to leave the position of coordinator with Tennessee CBF at the end of the year. I have avoided the term "retirement" because I still have some things I hope to accomplish! There are still some things that I want to do. I am not leaving because I am unhappy, but while I am still happy!

When I shared this decision with one friend, he commented, "I am going to keep on for a few more years or until I cannot get up in the morning and go to the office because I have lost the 'fire'." I think that is a good observation. When we are no longer excited about what we are doing or think there is something more productive we could do, it is time to move on.

I have enjoyed my work with TCBF, but I have been thinking about those people who really don't enjoy what they do. What makes a job enjoyable? Author Patrick Lencioni comes at this from a different angle--What makes a job miserable?

In his Three Signs of a Miserable Job, Lencioni identifies anonymity, irrelevance, and immeasurement as key contributors to job misery. First, people don't want to be anonymous "cogs in a machine." They want to be recognized and appreciated for the unique qualities they bring to a task. Second, people want to know that their jobs matter. They want to make a contribution to someone, some group, or some cause. Third, people want to be able to assess their progress. Are they moving forward? Do they really know what they are being asked to accomplish? I have been most dissatisfied at work when I didn't really know if I was doing what was expected of me. You can be a "self-starter" but be headed in the wrong direction! Evaluation is good and provides a stepping stone not only to job success but to personal motivation and a sense of fulfillment.

How do you like your job? It may not make you miserable, but does it make you happy?

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