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Winning At Working: Which Half Are You?
by Nan Russell

When more than half of Americans were identified as overweight, people took notice. Major news outlets began educating on how to stay out, or get out, of that statistic. I wish the same attention had been paid when the Conference Board released their statistics saying half of Americans are satisfied with their job.

Of course, that means, half are dissatisfied. Disliking your job is hazardous to your health and well-being, too. You can't be winning at working if you're dissatisfied with your work or languishing in the status-quo of dislike.

Spending the majority of your waking hours dissatisfied, like being overweight, weighs you down, depletes your energy, and kidnaps your spirit. You can change all that. And looking for a new job should not be where you start. At least not yet.

First consider what is causing your dissatisfaction. Maybe it's that annoying coworker or irritating boss that's holding you back. Maybe if you only made more money. Maybe the work's boring or the company's unfair. Whatever your reasons, pause your thinking and go to step two: look deeper. More than likely what's at the root of your dissatisfaction is your own doubts, fears, and insecurities. You see, too often we become victims in our own life. We blame McDonald's for having French fries that make us fat, and blame bosses who give us substandard raises. When in fact, we control whether the French fries gets purchased and put in our mouth, or we do the quality of work that meets the performance standards for a higher raise. It's a choice. And choices bring accountability. It's easier to believe you're a victim of circumstances than a driver of your own future. But, this easier choice comes at a price: dissatisfaction.

The harder choice comes with a price too: personal accountability. That means when you're running an obstacle course and discover you're the obstacle, you correct your thinking, enhance your skills, and persist through your fears. It means, if you don't get the raise, the promotion, or the more interesting work, you look in the mirror first.

Sure, in the end, you may determine you need to change jobs or environments. Just be sure it's the job you're dissatisfied with, or you may find the same irritating co-workers and unfair bosses (with different names, of course) waiting for you in the new job. People who are winning at working don't see themselves as victims. They know the choices they make have consequences and payoffs. And while fears, self-doubts and insecurities may stall their progress, challenge their courage, and test their persistence, it doesn't stop them.

It's not easy to move through your fears, build your self-esteem or change your negative self-talk. But few things in life worth having are easy. People who are winning at working do the hard self-work. They're unwilling to let their fears, doubts and insecurities orchestrate the outcome of their lives, at work or at home. To them, the biggest dissatisfaction would be wondering about the person they could have been. Want to be winning at working? No one is stopping you, but you.

(c) 2005 Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.

Receive a copy of 21 Winning Career Tips (a free download) at Nan Russell has spent over twenty years in management, most recently with QVC as a Vice President. She has held leadership positions in Human Resource Development, Communication, Marketing and line Management. Nan has a B.A. from Stanford University and M.A. from the University of Michigan. Currently working on her first book, Winning at Working: 10 Lessons Shared, Nan is a columnist, writer and speaker. Visit Nan Russell may be contacted at or


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