Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Your Work as Your Worth – How Good Do You Want to Be at Your Job?

So at this point in your life, how are you feeling about your work/your profession?

Here are some fundamental questions we should all ask ourselves:

  • Is your job fundamentally a part of who you are?  To what extent are you what you do for a living?
  • What part of your self-worth is tied up in how well do you do your job?
  • Have you ever been without a job for an extended period of time (as most of us have)? How did that make you feel?
  • If you could afford it today, would you quit your job?
  • To what extent do you see your job as a fundamental part of you?

All of us have a job history, and the way we feel about it is different for each one of us. I’ve bounced around and made some big mid-course career changes. I’ve had three major career changes in my life that took me to quite different locations.

I’ve always loved my work and never had a job I didn’t like. I have consistently refused to take a job I didn’t like or I felt led to nowhere–even when I didn’t know where the cash was coming from to pay the bills.

But I totally get it that some people hate their jobs–and with really good reasons.  For instance, my job from hell was a volunteer museum worker. I get a knot in my stomach thinking about it.

A few years back I did some volunteer work for a museum and ended up working with some museum employees on a project I truly hated–only I was there temporarily and they were stuck there, perhaps for years to come.

We were tasked with making crepe paper flowers for an event that would highlight the museum and raise money. We needed to make hundreds of flowers for the display. There was crepe paper piled high on a table to make the flowers and we were all gathered around it working.

The goal was quantity and speed. There was no plan for making the flowers, no assembly SOP, or to be more accurate to say, of the six people working on the project, my unwilling workmates probably had ten competing ideas of how to make the flowers, and each was following their individual approach.

Then there was the manager over us all who didn’t have a plan, criticized the flower quality, and often reminded everyone that he was the boss and that we were behind schedule and needed to speed it up.

My fellow workers didn’t have a vision for the project, which could have been smiling museum visitors walking in to admire the flowers.

They glared at each across the table and especially at me and they just wanted to get it all over with. There was competition for scarce materials like crepe paper and everyone had to take turns using the scotch tape.

I was finally able to escape the job after three very long, mind-sucking days. I had always been puzzled by people who hated their jobs, but now I finally fully understood. I didn’t care about the flowers or the people making them. 

I don’t know if the flowers ever got made, I didn’t go to the event, and have never returned to the museum.

If I had have been a full time employee of that museum, I would have said emphatically, “I hate my job!”

But it’s not just people trapped in low level jobs who hate every single day that they work. I asked a highly skilled tech worker what he did for a living a while back and he said, “Well Jack, you go to work every day and then you come home.” His work was a sad necessity of living–it was inevitable but not something that had meaning to him.

I’ve always considered what I do for a living to be something that is fundamental to my life. I believe that I was put on this planet to build something that will be of use to those who come after me. I want to be the best I can be at my job. It’s the only thing like an Olympic sport I’ll ever be a part of. I probably won’t ever be quarterback of an NFL team, but I’ll be the star of the team I play on in my organization.

When I was a small child I thought about taking my place among the adults in my life that went to work every day, and what I’d do. In fact, when adults engaged with me, one of the first questions they always asked was, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It was assumed that what you did as an adult determined who you were. It would be your identity, for many people it would be their identity for life.

Yet the goal of many of us is to amass enough money to quit. Studies tell us that only about 20 percent of us are passionate about our jobs and somewhere around 50% would rather be anywhere else except at work. Companies and managers struggle to work with people who just don’t want to be there, to motivate people whose jobs have no meaning for them.

If you happen to be in a job where it’s impossible to learn, grow, and be fulfilled, you may have to be there for a while and bide your time. But being in a bad job is a soul-ripping experience where you lose part of who you are every day. Look for the opportunity to get out and get out while you can. Find a job where, no matter how small or unlikely to survive, it’s somewhere you want to bet a piece of your life.

In the next few Tuesday Reports, we’re going to be talking about creating that environment for success, about finding and creating star performers who are part of an amazingly aligned team that can win the game by making a come-back in the last two minutes after the crowd has left the stands. In these next few Tuesday Reports, we will also talk about motivating and measuring ourselves and our team so that when my organization cuts costs, we won’t be the first non-essential part of the organization to go.

In order to create star players in our organization, it’s time to go back to fundamentals to create an aligned organization where individuals thrive and develop their best skills.  Here are three of the fundamentals we will dig into in the next few weeks:

  • Human Resources Is Key. Human resources create the environment for a successful organization. They create a fair and safe environment. Employees and executives have too often failed to recognize how human resources creates a culture for success in organizations. Often HR is thought of as the people who calculate comp and benefits and serve as the gatekeepers. HR actually creates the playing field of fairness and equity that allows employees to excel and that makes accomplishment and goal-setting possible.
  • Good Managers Make It Happen. People bash managers, who are trapped in the vice grip of senior leadership above who constantly undermine the manager’s direction, pile on a huge number of tasks that draw them away from the people they are managing, and fail to provide clarity on priorities and direction.

But an effective manager keeps team members apprised of the goals and challenges of the organization, the immediate steps that will move the organization forward, how team members make a difference in the project the team is working on, and why priorities may change in the moment. Without a good manager, the things you need to work on don’t show up and things can’t get done. The manager maintains the social dimension of the team and creates the environment where the team can bond.

  • Team Goals and Outcomes Determine Success. This may seem obvious but I read many articles that explain procedures and give numerical goals.  But they don’t create the moment in time the organization is living. They don’t mention that if we don’t meet our goals this organization will fold like a poker game when you’ve run out of money to play the next round. In order to be outstanding players, team members need to know what yard line they’re on and if it’s fourth down.

A great deal of our lives are tied up in work.  Find a place where you can thrive.  Be your best and take other people to the top with you.  Stay tuned for a deep dive on how to create this environment for success in the next few Tuesday Reports.

Austin, Texas

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Carol Kallendorf, PhD. | (512) 417-9756 

Jack Speer | (512) 417-9428


We value your comments. Please let us know of any suggestions you have for this website, or for technical problems please email

All contents Copyright © 2010-2023 The Delta Associates. All rights reserved.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® MBTI®, is a registered CPP, Inc. FIRO-B™ and CPI 260™ are trademarks of CPP, Inc.

The Delta Associates 360-Degree Assessment™ is a trademark of The Delta Associates.

Keep in touch