Working for a Living

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  • Recently whenever I talk to a client or friend about their job, I hear:

    • I have lost the passion for my work.
    • My co-worker undermined my project.
    • It seems we only shuffle paper and no longer provide anything of true value.
    • My boss took credit for my work.
    • I have to work overtime again, without pay.
    • There is too much work to do. I am completely overwhelmed.
    • Once again, I had a nervous breakdown in my office.

    There are many reasons we feel this way. The economy tanked out in 2008 and led to layoffs but the same amount of work to be done, so those still employed are doing the work that used to be split between many others.

    A primary focus on quarterly goals has created an atmosphere of short-term thinking. The best choices for the company, customer, and worker are secondary to trying to increase the appearance of quarterly profits for Wall Street.

    Individuals are afraid of losing their job, feel their pocketbook tightening, and have increased pressures. Because of this, tempers are shorter, people share less, care less. Civility and compassion at work are diminishing.

    What is to be done?

    There may be a few very slow-moving changes we can make to the state of our business and the economy overall. In the meantime, what we can affect to make a less-than-desirable circumstance better is our own perspective, thoughts, beliefs, actions, and reactions.

    Often when there are issues or conflicts, we want the other to change. We want our boss to be fair. We want our co-worker to do their share. We want the economy to improve. However, these are not things we can truly affect. We are not in control of them. We may be able to state our case to our boss, but we can not control her response. We can bring the workload situation up to our co-worker but we can’t change his level of execution.

    To truly change our experience, we need to change ourselves. You may be in a negative circumstance, but you are still in control of how you experience that circumstance.

    We need to become Aware of our actions and reactions. Are our actions and reactions helping or hurting us? Are we making situations even worse by how we react and feel about them? Are we allowing a poor work environment to affect our sense of self worth?

    We need to learn Acceptance of the situation and others. This does not mean we rollover and take abuse. Acceptance means ending our desire for things to be different than they truly are. Much of our pain can be the pain from expecting and desiring things to be different than reality.

    We need to look for Alternatives. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. What are things you can change in your own beliefs, actions, and reactions which could improve your experience of your current job?

    We need to take Action. Complaining about our work but then approaching it the same way is not action. Blaming others and waiting for them to change is not action. Every day what are the small steps you can take to make your experience just a little bit better? That is action.

    What do you see as the answer to this problem for you? What are the small steps you can take today to make a difference in your own experience?

    Melissa Heisler

    Melissa Heisler is a Stress Reduction Expert. After 10 years managing and directing theatrical productions followed by a Masters in Integrated Marketing Communication and 17 years in corporate marketing, the stress of high pressure, deadline driven jobs led to her own ill health mentally and physically. This started her search for a long-lasting means of approaching each situation with more ease, contentment, and power. Melissa is committed to guiding professionals to improve their health, increase their mental clarity, easily deal with difficult people, and find peace in their current jobs all through reducing their stress levels. Melissa is the host of The Empowerment Show and also a contributing author for the books, Be There Now: Travel Stories From Around the World and Defining Moments: A Gathering of Women’s Journeys. Her first solo book, From Type-A to Type-ME: A Framework for Stress Reduction is being published in 2014. She has also contributed to Experiences of the Light, to be published by Career Press / New Page Books in 2014.

    For more information, please visit

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      • Melissa Heisler
        Melissa Heisler says:

        Yes Diana. It seems so simple but sometimes it is difficult to simply accept the truth of what we can not change. In that acceptance, we can then see what we can change about ourselves to find real joy.

    1. Melissa Heisler
      Melissa Heisler says:

      Yes Diana. It seems so simple but sometimes it is difficult to simply accept the truth of what we can not change. In that acceptance, we can then see what we can change about ourselves.


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