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Whining Your Way to Meaningful Work

whining (1)By Mark Guterman

— I recently facilitated a job search strategy session for a group of 12 mid and senior level professionals and managers. It began with a great deal of complaint about how “tough” things are and how they don’t see things improving in the foreseeable future. After a fair amount of ranting, one participant commented that the “whining” was counterproductive, as well as being annoying to listen to.

Once that was acknowledged, the whole group realized that the energy they were expending in whining was feeble and a-not-very-effective way to connect to what they hoped their next job or career would be like. So, we began to discuss how their whining was distracting them from their efforts to express their values, their desires, and what they really wanted. This lead to a discussion about how they needed to reframe their story from a lament (I hope I get something . . .) and a complaint (I’ll take anything at this point . . .) to a coherent and authentic statement of what is important (This is who I am . . . , what I can do . . ., what I want . . .) and how to position themselves for meaningful work.

They started to recognize that a more powerful stance was to see themselves as co-creators of their future. For some people in the room, this was a relatively easy shift—they saw that their previous way was ineffective and, being pragmatic, they saw clearly the need to change; others were at a stage of readiness to hear a new message and were open to considering that there are other ways to think about moving toward meaningful work. Nearly half the group, however, stayed stuck in their whining and remaining a victim, and even though examples were offered to contradict their positions, many became louder and more adamant in their whining.

The bottom line is that each of us always has choice in the matter of how we look for meaningful work. We can do it the way we always have done it, and “hope for the best,” whining all the way. Or we can step back and look for new options and possibilities, and choose a different path to achieving our goals.


MeaningfulCareers.com was created by Mark Guterman and Dan King, two guys
with a shared commitment to the power of meaningful work. They help
professionals find greater meaning in their careers, lead happier, more
satisfying lives, and instill lasting value through their work. For more
information and resources visit:  http://www.meaningfulcareers.com



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