By Taunee Besson, CMF, CareerCast.com Senior Columnist
Question: I’m a highly paid executive who’s good at my job, but I hate it. Every Sunday my stomach ties in knots and I dread the thought of going to work in the morning. If my compensation package and the job prestige weren’t so high, I would leave in a minute. Unfortunately, my golden handcuffs are firmly secure. If I’m so good at what I do, why am I so unhappy?
Answer: How many of these statements apply to you?
_____ I’m counting the months/years until I retire.
_____ I hate my job, but love the income.
_____ My job situation is bound to get better if I just keep hanging in there.
_____ I may not like my current career, but I know I’m good at it.
_____ I’m constantly worried about my position being eliminated.
_____ I’ve lost interest in my work, but I enjoy the camaraderie of the people.
_____ My associates know the caliber of my work. I don’t have to keep proving myself.
_____ The chances of my finding a job I will truly enjoy are slim and none.
_____ When friends talk about their new careers, I wish I had the courage to make a change as well.
_____ Changing careers is much more risky than staying where I am.
_____ I doubt I can find an equivalent position at another company.
_____ I would rather swim with sharks than start a job search.
_____ I tend to focus on the negatives of a career change, rather than contemplating the positives of its potential.
_____ My family and friends think I’m in the catbird’s seat. They tell me I’d be crazy to make a change.
_____ Work isn’t meant to be satisfying. That’s why it’s called work.
If you checked just one of the above statements, maybe you’re just having a bad day. If you checked two are more you’re probably suffering from a self-inflicted malady called “Comfortable Misery”, a career syndrome characterized by inertial thinking and an overwhelming need to maintain the status quo.
Those suffering from Comfortable Misery run efficiently on autopilot. They go through the motions of completing their projects and emptying their in-baskets, while experiencing little joy, learning, or feeling of genuine satisfaction. They’re like zombies in business suits.
Why do these talented professionals cling to the jobs they hate? There are lots of reasons:
“Never forget, you are lucky to have any job, let alone one you enjoy.
“Your work puts food on the table and a roof over your head.”
“You labor to support yourself.”
“Personal satisfaction is for dilettantes.”
If any of the above reasons resonate with you, you are suffering from a bonefide Comfortable Misery. This is a treatable syndrome, but only you have the power to cure yourself.
Senior Columnist Taunee Besson, CMF, is president of Career Dimensions, Inc., a consulting firm founded in 1979 that works with individual and corporate clients in career transition, job search, executive coaching, talent management and small business issues. She is an award-winning columnist for CareerJournal.com and a best-selling author of the Wall Street Journal's books on resumes and cover letters. Her articles on a variety of career issues have appeared on numerous career/job websites and trade and business journals. Ms. Besson has been quoted numerous times in The Wall Street Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Business Week, Time, Smart Money, and a number of other websites and publications.