Is finding joy on the job – even when you work for an idiot – even possible?
No, I am not asking is working for an idiot possible – we all know that it is. Painfully!
But finding joy on the job is an important part. Can it be done if you work for that idiot? I think so. In fact, I know you can find joy at work, even while working for an idiot.
Here are some ideas on how.
Finding Joy on the Job – Even When You Work for an Idiot (Podcast Outline)
Leave. Start looking for something else in a serious hunt. You do not have to be committed to leaving – but just the hunt alone might help you find joy. Recently I was working with someone who was unappreciated at his job. He was not the most organized guy – but he was powerfully effective with clients. But the establishment did not appreciate him – especially two women on the team. He was dogged in every meeting of management. Then when he got a new manager, that manager led by giving him a written warning with human resources. I told Jack that he would never thrive at this company – too much damage was done and they were not a good fit. He should leave. While he is still with the company, he is hot after job leads and bouncing with optimism. His optimism is so infectious that even on his current job he is starting to get some respect. So be ready to leave – even if you do not. Nothing is worse than being at a place that you are not respected or do not fit in.
Find the real problem. Sometimes our real issues are not the other people – sometimes it is us. Look in the mirror and ask “What really is going on here?” Your boss might or might not be an idiot, poor leader, or any other kind of an uninspiring jerk – but either way – how you feel should not be in his or her control.
Stop and think hard about the situation. A coach can really help you peel back the layers here and find out what is going on. Too many times I have worked with clients who complain about poor leadership, but when I ask questions it becomes clear to them that the boss might not be the whole problem. They own some responsibility. So do you. Find out what is going on. Think about these questions:
- What do I need that I am not getting? Appreciation, guidance, accountability, support working with others, etc. What are you missing?
- How does the boss make me feel? Be honest and own your feelings here. After all – your misery is a feeling itself. What is the source of it? The bottom line is that others cannot make you happy, sad, miserable, or anything else. You can find it fun and joy anywhere.
Be a helper to the boss. Yes, the person you think is an idiot or mean or ineffective. Find out what is going on with them. Someone in their home life? Stress from their superiors? Boredom? Maybe the person that is really unhappy is the boss – and by opening up to you, you might find your work more meaningful. Maybe, just maybe, the ministry and mission you need to take care of most is your boss.
Play a game. You know all those psychological games that say smile and you will feel better. Be happy even if you have to fake it. Dress nicer to be treated better. Forget trying to manipulate – but have fun trying it just for the joy of it.
When I worked for AT&T, I had a string of idiots I worked with. (OK so given all I have said – they may not have been idiots – but that is how I saw them at the time.) I was miserable. I hated every Saturday because after that was Sunday and it only led to Monday- you know what I mean.
So I started playing games with me -and I noticed I felt better. It was just kind of fun. I was ignoring the pain – even looking for an opportunity in it. But something else happened – others seemed to respect me more. Doors started to open. Was is my dress? My attitude? Who knows – but it had effects I did not expect. Not saying it will for you – but it is a game.
So here are things to try:
- Read the book Resumes are Worthless which outlines how to be a Company of One and get a heads up.
- Dress a little nicer for work every day. Feel good about the way you look.
- Go to lunch with someone different. Certainly, avoid hanging out with the office crowd.
- Smile. Yes, smile. Just force it if you have to. Make people wonder why you are smiling. Notice how people might change their view to you as you smile.
- Breathe deeper. When you find yourself tense, slow down and breathe. Relax. Especially when someone attacks you – just relax and be slow to respond. Or better yet – do not respond, just smile. (It drives them nuts!)
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