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Signs of a Miserable Job

Posted by: Diane Brady on June 12, 2007

Pat Lencioni made his mark with the bestseller, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Now, he has written about The Three Signs of a Miserable Job, which will go on sale this summer.

He hopped into BusinessWeek’s New York office the other day—on crutches from an injury while playing football—and said the idea came to him while watching workers in an airport begrudgingly go about their jobs. “My dad used to come home and complain about his job,” explains Lencioni. “It’s the subject that’s closest to my heart.”

So what are the three signs? The first is anonymity. “You feel like you’re not really known by your boss.” Lencioni, who works with a number of professional sports teams, says the problem even afflicts top-paid athletes who feel their coaches don’t take an interest in them as people. This is less about rewarding good work than going for a personal touch. When someone gets back from maternity leave, says Lencioni, ask about the baby.

The second sign is irrelevance. You feel like your job doesn’t make a difference in anyone’s life. Third is what Lencioni calls ‘immeasurability’—the inability to gauge the progress of work for yourself. If you feel that success depends on the whims of someone else, you feel out of control.



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