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Published:April 25th, 2007 17:00 EST
Key to Job Satisfaction is Found Within not with Johnny Paycheck

Key to Job Satisfaction is Found Within not with Johnny Paycheck

By Terry Sumerlin (Mentor/Columnist)

"I ain't workin' here no more."

You may recognize these words from the Johnny Paycheck hit in which he spoke of telling his boss what he could do with his job. You may also recognize the attitude. Most feel that way from time to time, whether they own the business, or work for someone else.

Though there is not much to be done for those whose mindset is to quit looking for work as soon as they find a job, what about the rest of us who from time to time feel like throwing in the towel? What are some of the causes and cures of the workin' man (or woman) blues?

First of all, understand that the problem generally has nothing to do with money. Many work for very little and are perfectly content, while others earn large incomes and are miserable. So, while a person might be unhappy on the job for lots of reasons, more money is rarely the solution.

Often the problem starts with a LACK OF APPRECIATION. All can say that sometimes they feel used or taken for granted. Yet, it would be highly unusual for a worker to never, ever receive any appreciation. Maybe on those occasions when we do receive appreciation it would help if we placed written evidence of the compliment in an "appreciation folder," for future reference when the blues hit. That way we might avoid the no-one-ever-appreciates-anything-I-do syndrome.

Another possible solution is to occasionally ask ourselves what kind of appreciation we are looking for, or expect. For instance, even though I occasionally get a standing ovation when I speak (maybe they just need to stretch!), should I expect an ovation after each haircut? Maybe I should, rather, think in terms of how many repeat customers I have. Isn't that a form of appreciation? Actually, appreciation comes in lots of forms — both spoken and unspoken. Yet, however appreciation is given, if it isn't what we expect it to be, it might go unnoticed. Then we could get discouraged, or might eventually want to give up.

Another cause of burnout is FUTILITY. This is the feeling of not getting anywhere, or of having unattainable goals. In this case, it could be we need to set new goals or find better ways of reaching our existing ones. In the same way that we don't cancel our trip just because a given route is blocked, we shouldn't give up on our dreams because there is a flaw in our road map.

A third cause for giving up can be STRESS. This is like the story of the guy who was given the job of separating the big potatoes from the little ones. After a couple of weeks he wanted to quit. When asked if the work was more than he could handle he replied, "No, the work is not bad at all. It's just the decisions that are driving me nuts." It could be that some decisions could be delegated or shared, resulting in a lower stress level.

Also, some decisions can even be postponed until a better frame of mind prevails. In certain cases, Scarlet O'Hara's approach is best: "I'll worry about that tomorrow."

Lastly, when we speak of negative attitudes toward our careers, we need to include SELF PITY. Personally, I know that I'm too susceptible to pity parties. On such days, it's easy to feel sorry for myself because I feel trapped behind a barber chair, because I didn't get the speaking engagement I really wanted or because I'm just being silly. Poor me!

During such times, something Socrates said is especially meaningful. He said that if all the human suffering and hardship of all the ages was put into one huge pile, and each person then made to take a equal portion, most would be happy to just carry away the problems they brought to the pile. It's something to think about.

If we're employed, I'm sure there are many who are unemployed who would gladly trade places with us. If our health permits us to go to work each day, again, there are those who would love to be in our places. In other words, think and thank!

BARBER-OSOPHY: The difference between winners and losers is not that one gets down and the other doesn't. It's just that winners never stay down long, because they find ways to get back up.

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