Not Happy in Your Job? Be the Chicken not the Egg

Here’s a note from Jill –

“I am 33 years old and have nothing to show for it. Nine years after college, I have no job, no career. Just a couple useless degrees. I studied fashion design, then graphic design. I’ve had around 5 jobs in that time lasting 6 months each. The jobs I’ve had have been crappy. The people in all of them were hateful and toxic. I’m starting to think the typical workplace isn’t for me.  All the doors seem shut for me. I still don’t know if I have any talent. I’m starting to doubt my self-worth. I’ve read your books, but nothing has clicked yet.  I really can’t seem to get a job? Not even a crappy job, what do I do? Please Dan, help me.”

Jill – let’s be brutally honest here.  All the jobs you’ve had have been crappy and all the people Angry Womanyou’ve worked with were hateful and toxic?

What’s the common denominator in all of these situations – YOU.

Happiness and contentment are very much an inner game – not just a result of circumstances.  If your happiness depends on the circumstances around you, you are always very vulnerable.

Become a person people want on their team.  Be a happy, enthusiastic person. Smile readily, compliment other people on their work.  Ask people about their interests and then listen intently.  The quality of your work will improve and other companies will be recruiting you.

Now ultimately you have to be able to produce work that has value.  And whether you do that as an employee, a free-lancer, or by standing on the street doing caricatures  is not important. The key is that you are able to produce something that people will pay for.

I’m sending you a fresh copy of the latest version of 48 Days to the Work You Love – with the audio CD “Is Your Job Your Calling?”  A lot of what I talk about in there is becoming a person of value – that’s 85% of the process.  Having degrees or training is maybe 10-15%.

Jill, you can change your success immediately – read on:


Here’s another note – the day before – from Terry in Orlando, FL.

“Hi Dan, Reading 48 Days and No More Dreaded Mondays gave me a desperately needed attitude adjustment toward my job and life in general.

I started giving an extra 110%, all while focusing on the great aspects of my job instead of the toxic negativity, which had affected all areas of my life. Shortly thereafter, I unexpectedly received a 10% off-season raise. My manager said that I was bringing a lot of value to the project and I deserved a boost. Three months later, I received a stellar performance review with an additional 5% pay increase. Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom to help me turn my life around.”

Same job, same boss – what changed.  Terry did.

When I crashed financially a few years ago it would have been tempting to point fingers at the bank that pulled my credit line, the “economy” that was at a low point, or the customers who were slow to pay.  But I knew all that would do is keep me down.  I wouldn’t hurt them nearly as much as I would hurt myself and my family.  I had to look at the guy in the mirror and decide to be a person others wanted to be around – in spite of my circumstances – and that lead to the incredible opportunities I enjoy today.


Don’t like your circumstances?  Change yourself and watch your circumstances change as well.

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  • Happiness definitely starts between the ears. Often I see people get caught in waiting for happiness or chasing happiness. In either case you will never find it because its not a destination.

  • Billie

    I get in that trap blaming this and that – but I’ve been listening each morning and at every chance to Earl Nightingale, Brian Tracy – hey and Will Smith, too. I know that it’s me! – it’s making such a difference as the ideas and work are pouring out. I just had a pity party but turned on a youtube video of Will Smith. Now I am ready to work!! And am happy and light hearted. Thanks Dan.

    • Billie – sounds like you’re in the driver’s seat in creating your future – rather than waiting to see what happens. Awesome!

  • Dan – My wife recently wrote a children’s book focused on gratitude for kids with an accompanying gratitude journal. We’ve started to do the gratitude journal as a family and that process has increased my happiness level immensely.

    It’s amazing how focusing on what you’re thankful you have rather than what you don’t have changes everything.

    • Adam – if your children learn the principle of gratitude instead of blaming, it will put them on a different trajectory from their peers – for life. Way to lead –

  • Wonderful words of wisdom Dan.

    This article reminds me of the familiar words of Jim Rohn – “If you want to have more, you have to become more”.

    Today, in the information age, there are plenty of ways to “become more”.

  • Great words of wisdom Dan, spot on!

  • We can never find fulfillment in the external… jobs will come and go; people will wander in and wander out; cars and refrigerators die. If external circumstances affected my fulfillment, I’d be a miserable wreck. But, I’m having the time of my life blurring the lines between work and play and having people invite me to tell them how to do it. I write things that are sometimes incoherent and other times inspirational. I have coffee with my wife when I want and don’t really need a vacation because I didn’t look for a job; I found my passions! Dan’s encouragement and wisdom has been a huge part of everything I’ve accomplished.

  • dftomkins

    God’s timing is so good. I have been trying for the past several years to get out of my job and start a business because I have been so unhappy and the toxicity around me has been getting to me. Hummm …. I know it’s not just me but if I can avoid it I will be much better off. I have been through 48 days and No more Mondays as well as a slew of others books with out any success. I am learning that before I can be successful in a business venture I have to learn to be content where I am now. If I am not content as an auto mechanic and open a business I am foreseeing that the business may not last long. I would love to get in music. I really enjoy Playing, Mixing and Producing but for now I realize that it is a hobby and not a business for me. Not just yet anyway. If the Lord is willing the time will come.

    Choose to avoid the Negativity out there. When the gripes come walk the other way and praise Jesus. That’s what I am trying hard to do.

    God Bless you all.

  • Bryon

    A little over a year ago, I got canned from a job that I hated. I had been there eight years in a toxic environment, and while some of that did indeed come from management, I know now looking back that a lot of it was my own making. Now I am enjoying myself in a totally new career, making twice as much and having a thousand times as much fun. I’ve had to cut myself off from a few coworkers from that former job because they are still stewing in that self pity and I can’t be around that now.

    • Bryon,

      Rock and roll. Sounds like a good move. Recognizing your part in that environment is good information. Don’t let the whiners suck you back into that thinking. Congrats on movin on!

  • J

    I wonder if being honest in interviews is a good idea. Lately I had a interview and they asked me what I did not like about my last job and I was honest and said I did not like the cussing and mistreat. That was not what the interviewer wanted to hear, but I was honest as she asked.

    • OneAmericanAmongMany

      This kind of a question is tricky, and the fact that you called out the “people” situation rather than the “job function” situation may have been a red flag for the interviewer. It may have gone better for you if you stated what things about the job (not the people or the environment) made you want to leave it.