Problems vs. Solutions: unhappy at work

A client want unhappy at work. She was frustrated with her work situation on a number of fronts—

  • shouldering more than her fair share of the workload while colleagues socialize
  • a company-wide freeze on performance raises
  • an impossible workload because her competency results in being assigned more and more projects

Unhappy at work

It would be easy for any of us—as it was for my client—to get caught up in how others are behaving (or misbehaving) at work, the disappointment of a static salary, and the unfairness of competency being “rewarded” only with additional work.

But something else is going on here: We train others how to treat us and it’s better to be happy than right.

We train others how to treat us.

By always stepping up and accepting assignment after assignment, my client had “trained” management that her perfectionism, competency, efficiency, and a rock solid work ethic would prevail even in the face of a workload impossible to complete within a 40-hour week.

As a result of always being willing to step up, she’d essentially trained management to take advantage of her.

Without better boundaries, a type of doormat syndrome had been created that was having a significant negative impact on her peace of mind and quality of life.

It’s better to be happy than right.

My client also wanted to be right more than she wanted to be happy.

When we’re right, we want to be acknowledged as being right. We expect our “rightness” to then lead to better conditions.

But sometimes being right actually stands in the way of being happy.

My client had allowed her frustration, anger, and disappointment at her work situation to permeate her non-work hours. Convinced that she is right, she’s given up any ability to be happy at work and outside of work too.

My client isn’t unique.

I can see myself in her situation. Maybe you can too.

We all get caught up in our own story and lose our way. We fail to set boundaries. We overly focus on how right we are at the sacrifice of our own serenity.

What boundaries do you need to establish about how you expected to be treated? Where are you overly focused on being right at the expense of your own happiness?