George and Mary-Lynn

What to Do if You’re Not Happy with Your Job

ByWynn Bigg
Bigg Success Contributor
04-15-08  

Wynn Bigg Today

Daniel and Debra are two of my closest friends. My wife, Fanny, and I recently attended the wedding of their “little girl”, Denise. Only she isn’t so little any more … I know I’m biased, but she was a beautiful bride.

It was great to see old friends again and catch up with all their comings and goings. But it’s the conversation I had the day before the wedding that I wanted to talk about today.

Fanny and I got to Dan and Deb’s house early Thursday afternoon. Dan was out-of-town on business; he wasn’t expected in for about five hours. Fanny, Deb, and Denise went shopping to take care of some last-minute details before the bigg day.

That left Derek and me. Derek graduated from college about three years ago. I’ll never forget the look on his Dad’s face when Derek went up to get his diploma.

Derek went to work for a large company. He was so excited because they had selected him for the management fast-track. He would rotate through a number of divisions and assignments over the next few years.

Derek and I hadn’t seen much of each other since he started his job. It was a gorgeous day, so we sat down by the pool to catch up.

I said, “Geez, Derek, I can’t remember the last time we really got to talk.”

“Yeah, it’s been a few years, Uncle Wynn.” The kids called me “uncle”, although we weren’t actually related.

“So how have you been?”

“Doing pretty good.”

“How’s the job?”

“It’s going pretty well.”

“Is it everything you hoped it would be?”

“Well, I guess I’ve learned quite a bit.”

“I’m sensing that you’re not telling me something.”

“Well, I guess the job’s alright … it’s just not everything I had hoped for. I feel like I could be doing so much more.”

“Why do you feel that way?”

“I have friends who have done so much better.”

“But Derek, you can’t judge yourself by your friends.”

“I know, I know … but I’m nearing the end of their management program … I just don’t feel that there are any good opportunities for me.”

“Why is that?”

“Because they keep cutting back … they’re selling off the companies where I really wanted to go.” He squirmed in his chair, and tugged on his tee-shirt. “I guess, Uncle Wynn, I’m just not as happy in my job as I thought I would be,” he hesitated before continuing, “what do you do if you’re not happy doing what you’re doing?”

“Ah, that’s a good question, grasshopper! You know, I get asked a question like this a lot. It’s really a very simple answer … you have to either change the job or change jobs.”

“What do you mean … change the job?”

“Well … you’ve made an investment in your current job. So has your company. So it makes sense to first try to change it so that it makes you happy.”

“How do I do that?”

“First, decide what you want from your job. We make the best decisions we have with the information we have. But we’re constantly getting new information. When you took this job, you made the best decision you could. Now you know more about your company, there have been some changes, and most importantly, you know more about yourself. So what do you want now? That’s the first thing you have to do.”

“Okay, so what’s the second?”

“Talk to your supervisor, or your HR people. Tell them what you want to do … what you want from your job. See what options they may have.”

“And if they can’t come up with anything that fits, I’ll have to start looking for a different job.”

“That’s right, Derek … you either have to change the job you have or you have to change jobs. Because work is too bigg a part of your life to not be happy at work.”

“Wow, Uncle Wynn … that helps. I’ve really been stressing over this. Thanks for the advice!”

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