The Three Signs of a Miserable Job


In the book “The Three Signs of a Miserable Job”  Patrick Lencioni outlines that many working people are in a miserable job. In this post I want to share the basic idea behind his book.

The cost of people not liking their job is staggering. Productivity collapses greatly when employees are unfulfilled. It does not end at work. There is also a great social cost. Even emotionally mature employees share their work misery, frustration, cynicism, weariness into the lives of others. It becomes impossible to appreciate the joy of life. The emotional and psychological damage can be profound and irreversible.

The following three factors will make any job miserable. They seem obvious and maybe even easy to resolve. However, they remain unaddressed in most organizations.

  1. Anonymity – People need to experience that they are known for their work. We need to feel understood and appreciated for our qualities by someone in an authority position. When we don’t feel heard or think we are invisible, generic or anonymous within the company we will not love our job.
  2. Irrelevance – We need to know that our work matters to someone. When we cannot make a connection between what we do and someone else’s satisfaction we simply won’t find lasting fulfillment in our job.Someone needs to appreciate it and we need to know about it.
  3. Immeasurement – It is important that we can gauge our personal progress and contribution. We cannot be fulfilled when our succes depends on the opinions or whims of another person. Our motivation heavily depends on our ability to self assess success or failure. When we perceive that we cannot control our own fate our motivation quickly deteriorates.

Patrick tells us that we will feel miserable with even one of these factors present. What I read is that we our job needs to be meaningful to us and that we need a way to know how we are doing. How about you? Are you in a miserable job? How can we take ownership of these three factors?