Friday, January 11, 2008
Source yahoo- "Awful," "dreary," and "miserable" are adjectives that many people use to describe their jobs at one time or another. Dissatisfaction on the job is common and often temporary. But not many people take time to analyze what makes a job miserable, and how to fix it. Fortunately Patrick Lencioni has done much of that work in his book "The Three Signs of a Miserable Job." Job Misery Is Universal The author notes that a "miserable" job differs from a "bad" job, as one person's dream job may not appeal to another worker. A miserable job, however, has some universal traits. "A miserable job makes a person cynical and frustrated and demoralized when they go home at night," Lencioni says. "It drains them of their energy, their enthusiasm, and self-esteem. Miserable jobs can be found in every industry and at every level." Lencioni blames much of the problem on managers, who are a key factor in the job satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) of their employees. A recent Yahoo! HotJobs survey points to a similar conclusion: 43% of workers said discontent with their boss was the main reason they planned to look for a new job in 2008. The Three Signs Lencioni identifies the three signs of job misery as anonymity, irrelevance, and "immeasurement." Anonymity: Employees feel anonymous when their manager has little interest in them as people with unique lives, aspirations, and interests. Irrelevance: This condition occurs when workers cannot see how their job makes a difference. "Every employee needs to know that the work they do impacts someone's life -- a customer, a coworker, even a supervisor -- in one way or another." Immeasurement: This term describes the inability of employees to assess for themselves their contributions or success. As a result they often rely on the opinions of others -- usually the manager -- to measure their success. Three Remedies for Job Misery For workers who may be experiencing the signs of job misery, Lencioni recommends three steps to improve the boss-employee dynamic and enhance job satisfaction. 1. Assess your manager. Is the boss interested in and capable of addressing the three factors mentioned above? "Most managers really do want to improve, in spite of the fact that they may seem disinterested or too busy," Lencioni says. 2. Help your manager understand what you need. This could mean reviewing with your manager what the key measurements for success are for your job. Lencioni also suggests asking your boss, "Can you help me understand why this work I'm doing makes a difference to someone?" 3. Act more like the manager you want. "Employees who take a greater interest in the lives of their managers are bound to infect them with the same kind of human interest they seek," the author says. Or find ways to let your manager know how his or her performance makes a positive difference for you. Be Realistic Richard Phillips, founder of Career Advantage Solutions, agrees that "managing up" is a good way to improve job satisfaction, but he cautions employees to be realistic in their expectations. "Managers are not mind readers," he says. "Take the responsibility to communicate upon yourself, and remember there has to be an ongoing dialogue, or change is unlikely to happen."