Common Outlook
October 2013 - Issue # 13-10

Founder's Message


19% of us are unhappy in our jobs(1). Or is it 70%?(2) Maybe expectations weren't met. Or is it that they were inflated?(3) And even if we are happy; is it because we slack-off(4) or because we're fully 'engaged'?(5)

The answers depend on what study/poll you read, on the questions posed, on the segment(s) surveyed, and on the way the percentages were calculated. In other words, it's easy to get lost in what the headlines or polls say rather than relying on our own experiences, and on the experience of trusted colleagues and friends. 

Indeed, engagement does seem to play a large role.  And, if being happy is about being fully 'engaged' in an activity or venture, then I'd have to say that thousands of the business people I've met and gotten to know over the years are pretty happy campers. But of course, there are many others who aren't so enthralled.

Happiness and engagement have a lot to do with our thoughts about the likelihood of one event or another happening - in other words, our expectations.  It's not always easy having a conversation (sometimes with yourself) about expectations during the initial stages of any venture, but if we want ourselves and others to be to be fully engaged down the road, it's one of the most important conversations.

Both October and November's issues examine expectations; the difficulties they create; their potential impediment to happiness, and how we can re-engage when we're thrown off-course.



(1) Chasing the American Dream Report. P. 22, 24, 41, 43, 44
(2) State of the American Workplace. P. 35
(3) New Psychosocial Risks Human Resources Executives Face
(4) Want to Be Happier at Work? Try Goofing Off, Bad at Their Jobs and Loving It
(5) Amabile, T. & Kramer, S. J. The Progress Principle 2011. HBS. Boston, Mass.





There's a line between who you are at work and who you are at home, but it's an imaginary one.


What's New? 


In next month's issue, we'll look at how to resolve three workplace laments: 1) "I worked a lot harder and he got promoted", 2) "My boss doesn't like or support me", and 3) "I don't like my job". Pssst: Even if you don't, you can still be happy.    





"I didn't get the script to life. No one else did either."
~ A.A. Gill 




Expectations and Happiness 

People who immigrate to other countries are good 'engagers'; they know the pitfalls of expectations and instead, invest their energy in the here and now, hoping their efforts will pay off. A shoemaker near and dear to our hearts works a second job on his days off. He also designs websites, drafts budgets, and does books - on a volunteer basis. He's working toward landed immigrant status, and if successful, has made plans to put his Masters Degree in Banking and Finance to work. And the run-down shoes he's fixing? He just smiles and says he knew (read "expected") the path would have its challenges.

It's when we don't expect difficulties that we run into trouble. We take on someone's workload when they leave and the promised new hire doesn't happen; a slacker colleague on a project gets promoted; or a boss doesn't like or support us. Yes, they are unpleasant situations, but we can deal with them. We just have to figure-out the crux of the issue so we can create a plan - and manage our expectations along the way. Here's what we mean...

Read More 


Peter Hiddema


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