Tuesday, Part Two…

Following up on posts from a couple of days ago:

Tall Paul read my list of “10 Things You Don’t Like About Your Job,” and since I’m usually no more than ten feet away when he reads my posts, he makes his comments in person.He told me that if you take out the commute (lucky so-and-so – he goes against the traffic flow and skips the freeways), and replace “pervasive low-level anxiety” with “pervasive medium-level anxiety,” he could have written the same list. We’re definitely made for each other…

But according to the criteria mentioned in a recent post in Time’s “Work In Progress” blog, neither of has a truly miserable job. (Well, I don’t, at least – I shouldn’t speak for him.)
Blogger Lisa Cullen talks about Pat Lencioni, author of the “fable for managers” The Three Signs of a Miserable Job. Lencioni suggests that while a “bad” job is a subjective perception, there are certain constants to a “miserable” one:

The first is anonymity, which is the feeling that employees get when they realize that their manager has little interest in them a human being and that they know little about their lives, their aspirations and their interests.

The second sign is irrelevance, which takes root when employees cannot see how their job makes a difference in the lives of others. Every employee needs to know that the work they do impacts someone’s life – a customer, a co-worker, even a supervisor – in one way or another.

The third sign is something I call immeasurement, which I realize isn’t actually a word. It’s the inability of employees to assess for themselves their contribution or success. Employees who have no means of measuring how well they are doing on a given day or in a given week, must rely on the subjective opinions of others, usually their managers, to gauge their progress or contribution.

Not surprisingly, as a leadership/organizational consultant, he suggests that more effective management would address all three factors.

The “networking ambivalence” post got adapted for a Work It, Mom article, and now the seeds of an actual network are being planted. The publication of the article on the site generated a couple of network invites, and I was challenged by Jenorama to invite 10 new people a day to join my network. That’s a little too challenging for me, but I did extend several network requests last night, and all were accepted, which is very gratifying in a Sally Field kind of way.

Just as it was back in my book-trading days on BookCrossing, when I didn’t usually participate in transactions with total strangers, I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable with inviting a completely unknown quantity. Still, as I get to know more members through their articles, blog comments, and forum participation, I may be a little less inhibited about sending those network requests.

(Oh, and word to the small number whose blogs I comment on frequently, and/or those who do the same here – there’s some overlap – I hope it’s OK if I consider you fine people part of my “network,” too!)

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,318 other subscribers


  1. Okay, I can think of much worse things at work than irrelevance, anonymity, etc. Although they are bad.

    But how about a boss who refuses to learn the names of his employees?

    Or a workplace so noisy that in order to speak with a co-worker you need to put your mouth right up to their ear, cup your hands, and shout as loud as you can (and then they can just barely hear you)?

    Or a boss who periodically takes you aside to tell you you are a bad person and will never succeed in life?

    Or an employer who rations bathroom breaks?

    I would go on but my computer is overheating. Suffice it to say all of the above are jobs I have actually had!

  2. WG – It sounds like you’ve had your share of miserable jobs, by any standard. Bosses who won’t learn names? Bosses tell you you’ll never amount to anything (that sounds more like something a really mean relative might say)? Yikes. And I had thought that employers who rationed bathroom breaks were a workplace urban legend, but apparently not.

    Sorry to get you so riled up – hope your computer has cooled off!

  3. after i read this post yesterday morning, i was so riled up that i wrote a long analysis of my current work situation … and while i linked to you, i neglected to let you know here what you had, er, inspired. despite my ranting, though, i did appreciate the info you provided. :o)