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Many people feel stuck in their current jobs.  They may be grateful to have a job in this economy, but the job isn't satisfying them. If you're in that situation, some information below might help.

Begin by doing some self-reflection on the sources of misery on your job. Once you know the main cause, you can take steps to combat the misery. Here are some common problem sources:

The Boss

Often communication is the problem. Schedule regular "update" meetings with your boss so that you can both be clear about goals and expectations. Take initiative in nurturing the relationship; don't expect the boss to do all the work.

Try to make his or her job easier; perhaps they are stressed, overworked. Find ways to take initiative to solve problems. Be solution-oriented!

Lack of Challenges

Set goals for yourself and your performance, and share them with your boss, if possible. If not possible, make personal goals so that you gain a better sense of achievement in your work. You will have a way to measure success, which can help you feel more personally invested in your job.

Identify challenges in the company, and take initiative to solve them. This is especially good if you can find new ways to save money for the company!

Make sure you document your extra work, share it with your boss so that you can be rewarded/recognized, even promoted.  If the boss is unreceptive, you can still use the extra accomplishments for your resume — leading hopefully to a better job!


Do you feel like a speck of sand on the beach? Focus on how your job affects others. How does your work matter for specific individuals, does it make their lives better?  Even if it's just a coworker whose life is made better by your work, focus on that.  That can change how you value those relationships and influence new, specific ways to improving your job.

Author Patrick Lencioni offers great insights about this in his fine book, "Three Signs of a Miserable Job."

Anxiety Over Possible Job Loss

Many people today fret over getting laid off soon.  Here are some ways to deal:

  • Go the extra mile to make yourself more valuable. Find ways to save money or make more money for the company. Volunteer for tasks that others may not want.
  • Nurture your networks. Networking can be easier while you still have a job.
  • Be prepared with an updated resume. Take some spare time to polish your resume and keep your eyes open for other opportunities.
  • Stay positive! Keep your focus on the big picture — a layoff is not the ultimate tragedy. Recharge your batteries away from work. A good attitude can be a factor in your boss deciding to keep you on the team; it's also critical for helping land a new job.

I also did a recent segment on CNN discussing this topic. Watch it here.