Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why Stay in a Bad Job....

Seth Godin offers something of a challenge to dissatisfied workers:
You might very well be doing a good job. But that doesn't mean you're a linchpin, the one we'll miss. For that, you have to stop thinking about the job and start thinking about your platform, your point of view and your mission.

It's entirely possible you work somewhere that gives you no option but to merely do a job. If that's actually true, I wonder why someone with your potential would stay...
Last year I read Godin's book, Linchpin and found a lot of good ideas. I know that some will read it in the hope that it's a how-to guide, and be disappointed that it's much more a description of a mindset. The concept as presented is at times a bit too personality-oriented, but I think any good manager reading the book can find inspiration for how to improve a workplace and get more from his workers, and any worker whose job includes a creative element can find inspiration for how to make himself more valuable. That said, as I read the book I couldn't help but think back to my last traditional job and how completely out of synch that workplace was with Godin's concept of the linchpin. I won't bore you with examples, but... oh, my. And yes, I got out.

Look, I appreciate how "in this economy" (or any economy) people want to keep their jobs. Or to have another job offer lined up before giving notice. But for professionals I'm finding myself thinking along the lines of Godin, that "the very nature of a job is outmoded". That if you can find ways to make your skills and insights more valuable, you'll do better and be happier outside of a traditional "job" (even if you have a traditional employer and collect a traditional paycheck). Is the path from 'here' to 'there' going to be an easy one? For most people, no, it will involve hard work and risk-taking. But you know what? The boring, mind-numbing traditional jobs will continue to be around for a while, so you have a fall-back position. And if the risk pays off, you won't look back.


  1. Why stay in a bad job?

    Because it has good benefits and you're the sole source of income for your family?

    Heck, on some level for all the same reasons you take a job instead of living a life of leisure . . . oh for the open rails. : )

    Although, I'll grant you that the phasing out of the "prior conditions clause" will change that equation for some.


  2. Yes, correct, it's much more difficult to change jobs or go independent once you have a house and kids. You would almost think our nation's tax policy was designed to entice you into making the choices that make you less able to change jobs or be self-employed.... Oh, wait.


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