If you're reading this book, there are at least a few things about your job that you don't like. If you're like a lot of people, there are more than just a few. Before we start trying to change these things or even to understand them, it's important to get "all the cards on the table." So let's get specific. Find yourself a blank sheet of paper, a quiet corner, and get ready to vent!
Here's how: Draw a vertical line down the center of the sheet of paper. On the left side, write the word "PROBLEMS" at the top. Underneath, make a list of all of the things about your job that bother you. Anything goes! You can be specific or vague, listing people, places, tasks, relationships, or anything else. The only rules for your list are to leave at least two lines of space between each item on the list and to use only the left hand side of the page. Start as many new pages as you need to make the list complete; just follow the same format on each page (see Figure 1-1).
Figure 1-1 Sample problems and evidence "venting" list
After that's done, it's time to get even more specific. Write the word "EVIDENCE" at the top of the right side. To the right of each of the problems you listed, write a few comments about how you know that the problem is happening. Imagine that your whole work day was videotaped and that you want to explain the worst parts of your job to a close friend watching the tape. What would you point out to illustrate the problem(s)?
You might not be able to provide evidence for everything on your list. Do your best but don't worry if you can't think of evidence for some of your problems.
When your list is complete, read it once. This is the core of your job dread. Some items might be solvable, others might be permanent, but all of them together comprise the source of your negative experience at work.
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Your list might be short, or it might be long. If you've hated your job for a long time, you are probably pretty sure you want to leave. If not, you might want to fix things, or you might simply be unsure what to do next. Choose one of the following three sentences and write it at the bottom of the last page of your list:
- I think I want to find a new job.
- I think I want to stay in this job.
- I'm not sure whether to stay or leave.
Either option might turn out to be the best answer for you. A big part of the value of the new perspectives you will learn in this book is that they will help you decide.
For now, fold up your list and seal it in an envelope. We mean this literally: Don't just fold the flap, but seal the envelope as if you were going to mail it. Label the envelope "FOR LATER" and store it safely. We will return to this list and this question. For now, we are literally and figuratively setting these things aside so that we can practice with some new perspectives.