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When You and Your Work Are Not Working Out

Bob Goldman on

Ding-Dong! Ding-Dong!

That's the sound of the bell ringing in your head.

Yes, you frequently hear strange sounds at work: the rattle of chains, ghostly screams, not to mention the constant sniggering as you walk through the cube farm, but this bell is different. This is the bell that rings when you finally decide to throw off that cloak of misery and passivity and actually do something to make your job better.

"Improving your situation at work will most likely require some proactive attention," is the opinion of Kevin Granville, the author of a recent article in The New York Times on the provocative topic of "Improving a Job You Like."

Not to be a negative Norbert, but I'm sure you can see the dangers of trying to improve a job that you like or loath. Being proactive could raise your visibility, which goes against the prime directive for job survival:

If they can't find you, they can't fire you.

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Not rocking the boat has kept you on the crew, but should you get it in your silly head that you want to rise above your position as corporate galley slave, here's what Kevin Granville says the experts say you should do.

Your first step is to complete a rigorous self-assessment. This requires an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses, your skills and limitations, your accomplishments and shortcomings. This sounds daunting, but before you crawl under your desk for your mid-morning nap, consider how few strengths, skills and accomplishments you really have. This should leave you plenty of time to come up with a few positive negatives, like "I care too much about my job," or "I'm so lucky to work at this company, I don't cash my paychecks."

You know, the same bushwa you came up with in your initial job interview.

The experts also recommend that you undergo a professional psychological examination as part of your self-assessment. As Granville writes, "critical here is becoming aware of your own natural strengths and interests."

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