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Count Your (Job) Blessings

July 25, 2013 By admin | Write Comment

image_about14For those of us fortunate enough to have kept a job for the past few years, news that the unemployment rate has shifted up or down some fraction of a percentage point has become something similar to hearing another commercial on TV – we have begun to tune it out.  We are beginning to forget that there are still millions of people out there still unemployed – some have been that way for years.  Some have resorted to part-time jobs, or jobs at significantly reduced salaries.  Some have had to absorb the cost of re-education and career changes.  Others have simply disappeared from the equation altogether because they are no longer eligible for unemployment benefits and have resorted to doing whatever they can for whatever they can earn.

But the rest of us still complain about our jobs, our bosses, our work environment, our wages, our ever increasing workload, the lack of a work/life balance, insufficient praise or promotions, or anything else that pops into our minds that at the time seems like a gross injustice.  Just spend a few days perusing through the news articles and blogs on LinkedIn about happiness at work, how to deal with difficult employees or bosses, improving your work/life balance, making better use of vacations or how to better separate vacations from work, fixing this, changing that, making something better, and you will begin to see a pattern.  We are taking our jobs for granted.

Yes, I went and said it.  I made myself sound just like my grandfather, who walked 20 miles in the knee deep snow, barefoot, uphill both ways, to school every day, and liked it.  We somehow came up with the idea that we shouldn’t have to work as hard as our parents or grandparents did.  Where in the world did we get that idea?  We’ve somehow forced the job market in general to give up the 8 to 5 workday, the 40 hour work week, and the idea that a job should be performed at a place called the office or the jobsite.  Now we can work from home in our pajamas.  We can work whenever we feel like it.  We can stay awake half the night and sleep in the following morning.  We are supposed to feel good calling this our career choice?  Something we can tell our grandkids about with a bit of pride?

I am fortunate enough to have a small office, an office that has a window, and the window actually looks outside.  I am employed for 32 hours a week with a 20% pay cut, but our firm still calls that full-time, so I can still get full-time benefits.  I realize that at any time our firm could decide to outsource my position, or hire someone fresh out of school that could probably do my job cheaper than me, or merge with another company who already has someone who does my job.  I am still making a salary that keeps a roof over our heads, the bills paid and everyone fed.  When was the last time you actually thought about thanking your boss for that?

Of course my job could be better.  But my job could also be one heck of a lot worse.  As human beings, we have a nasty tendency toward being greedy and selfish.  We see all the things wrong with a situation, but we have to force ourselves to see any good.  I believe someone once coined the phrase “an attitude of gratitude”.  I think this is a concept that should be re-introduced into the new version of “Corporate America”.

Before you finish your work at your job tonight (wherever that may be), how about take 5 minutes, and just think about what your life would be like if you didn’t have your current income?  What would you have to give up?  What all would you have to do to find a new job?  Once you have yourself in that frame of mind, take another 5 minutes and think about something you could do to make your current job better.

Michael Paulson

Follow Michael @PaulsonMichaelJ

CareerToolbox international, LLC

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