How to know if you’re in a good job

One of the things I had to do as an adult was learn to see what makes a good job. Some people intuitively know how to find a job that feels good. Most of us spend the first half of our lives trying to learn what feels right and the second half of our lives trying to get it. Maybe this post can speed up that process for some of you.

The bottom line of a good job is that it makes you feel like you have unlimited energy for your work because it’s so fulfilling. Psychologists would say the job matches your personality type. Mihaly Csikszentmihali would say it puts you in the state of flow. However you approach the idea of a good job, though, The Economist presents research to show that good work has these four components:

1. Provides clear goals.
The way I think of my childhood is that the first half was my parents ruining it, (in the house pictured above,) and the second half was my grandma trying to fix it. There were some fundamental problems with this situation. For example, it was impossible for my grandma to admit that her son had something wrong with him, so she had to blame the physical and sexual abuse on me and my mom. Not that my mom wasn’t responsible as well, but you can imagine the mental gymnastics this required of my grandma.

Since I spent my teen years with my grandma, my education about how the world works came largely from her. She was born in 1923, and while other people seem to have experienced the Jazz Age and Woodstock, those passed over my family.

My grandma and my great-grandma bought me all my clothes. I’m not really sure why my mom didn’t buy me clothes. But I know she started giving me money to buy my own clothes at a young age, and I bought 20 sweaters in one day and she grounded me.

I remember thinking to myself that I was stupid for buying so many sweaters. This is what we do when we take action based on unclear goals: we try our hardest and then blame ourselves.

2. Provides a sense of control.
So, anyway, I wore dress-up clothes to school, because that’s what my grandmas bought me. I didn’t know they were dress-up clothes, but I happen to have saved my dress that I wore on the first day of third grade, and its incredible how inappropriately formal it is.

My grandma ended up telling me things that I don’t think she told anyone else. I think, as she got older, she wanted someone to know, and she thought it would be fine to tell me because I had already been corrupted in so many ways.

She told me that her mother gave her this advice on the day of her wedding about sex: “It will hurt a lot. Don’t say anything. Just lay there and it will be over fast.”

She also told me that when she had her appendix out, when she was about six years old, the doctor raped her. She said she was groggy from the ansesthesia and she wasn’t sure what he was doing.

I remember, we were sitting in the car. She was driving. I remember being surprised that she knew the word rape.

That’s probably when I started feeling like I wanted to be a writer for a job. I wanted to make sure the information was recorded. I wanted to help maintain the public record: doctors were raping little girls in the operating room in the 30s. Of course we could have guessed this. But I wanted to write down that it’s true. I know it was important to her because she could only say it when she was looking at the road.

3. Provides unambiguous feedback.
My family won’t believe me. My family thinks I’m nuts. That I make stuff up. Of course, that’s the easiest way to deal with me.

Psychology Today has an excellent article about the hereditary nature of Aspergers. In girls, genetically speaking, the father’s mother has the most impact on the girl, because the mother passes on an X chromosome that combines her mother’s X with her father’s X. But the father passes on an X that came wholly from his mother.

So if the father’s mother has Asperger’s then the father’s daughter is much more likely to have Aspergers. This made so many things clear to me. My grandma and I were so similar. No social skills. Great memorizing skills. Both started multiple companies, both had a hard time with marriage, both read incessantly, both had difficulty with emotion and clothing.

Also, my grandma’s father’s mother: all we know about her is that she was very mean and very weird. So of course there’s a great possibility that this is actually just Aspergers. Also, of my grandma’s granddaughters, I’m the only one that came from her sons. The other granddaughters have great social skills because their father’s mom had great social skills.

The puzzle all fits together in my mind. It makes total sense. But the people in my family would say that I’m nuts. No one wants to hear from me that my grandma had Aspergers. It’s kind of like people write in the comments that I don’t have it. It’s hard to understand how successful people can have Aspergers, and my grandma and I share the trait of being excellent entrepreneurs against everyone’s advice.

My family thinks I’m the crazy unreliable person, which is such a stark contrast to what I am in my work. For example, right now I’m going to tell you here that to some extent, the local food movement is responsible for the shift to domesticity that has fueled the resurgency in stay-at-home moms.

It’s a surprising connection, but it makes sense (those links are great – click them!) and you probably believe me. You probably think: Hmm. Interesting.

But whatever you think, you tell me in the comments. I know where I stand with you. It’s very clear, which makes it much easier for us to get what we need from each other.

4. Stretches you without defeating you.
Cassie emails me all the time. About her mom (she won’t do Mother’s Day with Cassie’s girlfriend). About her boss (sales genius with a knack for content). About her girlfriend (she would hate to be on my blog because she would want to control what I said).

What Cassie emails to me most, though, is ideas. She has a million ideas about sales and marketing and social media but the ideas are not relevant to her job. Cassie’s job is actually very easy for her and her mind runs way deeper than her job.

Like, look at this. The coolest chart about marketing technology. Cassie can talk about this chart for hours. Each time she looks a little closer, she gets another idea.

But Cassie’s boss is big at their Fortune 500 company and has to stay focused. Cassie’s co-workers are not interested in her volcano of maybe-inter-connected business ideas. So Cassie tells them to me. And we sort them into startup ideas. I teach her how to evaluate them from a financial perspective. She dumps some ideas and gets more. And what she loves, more than anything, is having someone force her to think more intricately about business models so her questions get sharper and sharper.

I struggle to figure out why I work more than I need to. Clearly I don’t need to earn as much money as I’m earning in order to support my family. But I keep working. And the reason I do it is because the four traits of a good job are nearly impossible to get while taking care of kids, but the four traits are so comforting to have in my life.

We are all capable of seeing a good job and a bad job. We can recognize when our failure is from lack of goals, and not lack of effort. We can recognize when we’re not fulfilled at work and we can extend our job to include what we need. Once you know what you need from work you are much more likely to get it. And this is true of me and Cassie and my grandma.

Posted in Fulfillment
68 comments on “How to know if you’re in a good job
  1. Razwana says:

    I love how you weave your life into each of these posts. Love it !

    Is it also about context? For someone who has children and works in an office away from home, location may be important for a few years whilst the children are growing up.

    So it’s a good job for right now. In a few years, the definition of the right job changes.

    For me, it’s an evolving process, not a destination.

    – Razwana

  2. Tim Chan says:

    I love how you put that last point – “stretches you without defeating you.”

    This topic is something I’ve given a lot of thought to, in my search for an ideal job. One important piece of a good job is knowing that your work matters, that it is making a bigger impact on the world. To add to this discussion, here’s a blog post I wrote about 5 things I look for in an ideal job:
    http://timandolive.com/my-ideal-workplace/

  3. anonymous says:

    I hate my job but am too chickensh*t to quit…

  4. Gary says:

    Hmm. You have created another exemplary post, which means I’m challenged and inspired, and doomed to a few days of rereading and deep thinking. You keep popping out these essays while I’m in a state of flux, and your guidance at this time is invaluable. Thanks for dragging my brain, kicking and screaming, to the year of our Lord 2013. KOKO, G

  5. Lindsey says:

    I think that these four can also come from a good boss, regardless of the job. I wonder if it is better to have a job that is good for you or a boss that is good for you, if you can’t have both. I wonder because I have an unexciting job and a boss that is a great mentor, but I worry I’m not getting the specific skills I need to move up.

    you are right–good links.

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      Interesting point about the boss vs. the job. I think that a good boss is someone who can make sure you have these four traits in your job even if they are not expressly in your job. For example, a good boss looks at what a job is missing and fills in that part with something that may or may not be great for the company but is great for you, because good employees requires give and take from the company.

      Penelope

    • Jen Gresham says:

      It’s so hard to leave a good boss. They’re rare and they earn your loyalty. I had a boss like that, but the job itself was not a good fit for me, even though I’m sure career counsellors would have thought it was perfect. It wasn’t. I valued my days off more than the days in the office. I simply couldn’t take any more pointless meetings and rampant bureaucracy. I finally got the courage to change careers and am sooooo much happier. I’m glad I left, and no surprise, my former boss was happy to support me in my new efforts. (And the real secret? He isn’t all that happy there either)

      • chris says:

        @ Jen Gresham

        I wonder, don’t you, what people in the military or people in the large health care corporations would say about this. Especially about the chronic problem of micromanagement and following to a “t” policies and procedures.

        My experience is that in those situations you turn into a front-liner, a worker bee. It is not kosher to think for yourself, even though you may be a professional with a degree and a license. Individuals are NOT–they are interchangeable. It was demoralizing. What once got top billing as a goal–in my case, really caring for a patient–became a low priority.

        I have moved to being an private practitioner–an independent home care provider. I am happy now. I think for myself now. I function more like a professional than ever.

        • Jennifer Gresham says:

          @Chris,
          Well, I was in the military! LOL. So I don’t claim to speak for all in government service, but I can relate my own experience.

          At least at the levels I had direct interaction with, there was enthusiasm for innovation. We were running a research lab after all, and if you can’t innovate your own workspace, how are you supposed to create the future fighting force? The problem, as I saw it, was that: 1) Although my bosses appreciated and supported my ideas, they were usually unable to implement them, and 2) the whole culture is so risk-adverse that it took forever (sometimes literally) to make a decision, any decision. I started asking that we hold ourselves hostage in meetings until at least one decision had been made. That innovation, unfortunately, was not adopted. :)

          • chris says:

            Yes, healthcare, too, is “risk-averse”–good point. Of course, healthcare organizations would say they are safety-conscious, rather than risk-averse.

  6. Sunshine says:

    I dont think they make careers for my type. I get easily bored from every job I’ve ever had. Which makes me leave after a year or two. I don’t know how people stay at the same job for several years. Although I secretly envy those people I just cant bring myself to enjoy work enough to stay. I’ll have to mull over these 4 components…maybe there’s still hope?

    • CL says:

      It’s ok to job hop. You may want to be in a field that requires you to job hop, then. One of my dream jobs requires you to learn a new job from scratch every 2-3 years after basic training (not military). You haven’t found the place that puts you in the zone (state of flow) and that’s ok. That’s where most people are.

    • Travis says:

      The average person changes careers about every 2-3 years, so that is ok. However, are you changing jobs w/in the same industry or trying out completely different careers? If you are taking the approach the grass is greener w/ different companies, you will be disappointed most of the time, but if you are just trying to find what makes you tick then I commend that.

  7. Marc says:

    The new color on the shutters sucks…and the lean on that tree has to be an additional 10 degrees…they should sell.

  8. John says:

    The most amazing thing about that chart is that it takes ten more of them to cover the market:

    http://www.slideshare.net/tkawaja/marketing-technology-lumascape

  9. Paul Morran says:

    One of your best!

  10. Sarah M says:

    I think that connection totally makes sense. It’s a lot more time and work to make healthy food from scratch instead of popping something frozen into the microwave or oven to heat up, or just get take out (which is expensive). I only skimmed the Lisa Miller article, but it was quoted that Cheryl Sandburg had the question of something to the effect of ‘women’s genetics being better equipped to stay at home’. You might want to read Dr. Sax’s book Why Gender Matters. Pretty good stuff. http://www.amazon.com/dp/0767916255/?tag=brazecaree-20 Explains a lot of these things that we intuitively think, but backs it up with the research.
    Sarah M

  11. Fred says:

    References to abuse and rape are totally inappropriate for a career article. I get it—overcoming adversity, etc.—but there are better examples. Major overshare.

    • The Troll Patrol says:

      You must be new… Thank you for visiting, we ask now that you leave if real life bothers you. Exits are to the left and please watch your step lest you trip on your own stupidity.

      And please no need to respond, never-never land was made for you and the legions there await your prompt return.

      Best,
      The Troll Patrol

      • Amanda says:

        LOL absolutely perfect reply.

        • S says:

          I think the comment above is valid, just like everyone elses comments, except the Troll Patrol’s.

          • Anne T Stone says:

            I looked at that and Fred must be a newbie….now that he has been asked to leave graciously, I wonder if he will lurk to find out why he should not be afraid….

    • Gary says:

      Fred, this blog isn’t a textbook. It’s a person sharing her life with us. Everything. Professional, personal, pretty, ugly. For some reason, we’ve chosen to walk and talk with P a while. Please give her some slack. Most respectfully, GS

  12. Darnell Jackson says:

    Good topic PT,

    Here’s one that I would add to the list,

    Your boss doesn’t keep reminding you that you’re lucky to have a job.

    I’m hearing this more and more from people.

    This BS economy is giving employers more leverage over employees than ever before.

    Everything seems to be increasing in price except wages.

    So if things are getting better for business owners maybe it’s time to start a business?

    Ultimately no one is going to treat you or pay you what you deserve except you, right?

    • Cristen H says:

      Your comment makes me think of our experience making the shift to self-employment. My husband left a high-paying, soul-crushing corporate job last November for entrepreneurship. His boss and colleagues were shocked, absolutely floored that he’d actually walk away, moreso as I was eight months pregnant with #3. Best thing we ever did as a family, and for his career.

      • John says:

        +1

        Everyone always says how hard it is to leave work and go into entrepreneurship. And it is hard, but the real difficulty is psychological. Once you make that mental transition, you start to realize that the cage has been unlocked and there really are no limits. A month ago, my business was earning at a rate of $23,000 a year. Now it’s making $86,000 a year. No boss would ever have given me a raise like that.

        Further, I’m very aware that the only thing keeping me from making 500K this year is my hesitation to go out and meet prospective clients, the fact that I have not yet sufficiently organized myself yet and the fact that I have not yet mastered outsourcing.

        But for delta of $400,000 a year plus more free time, I think I might just get off my ass and do it. :-)

        tl;dr: Jobs are the biggest scam ever.

  13. Rebecca Dadge says:

    That’s another great and entertaining blog. I LOVE that marketing chart and will be studying it in detail.

  14. Ellen pitts says:

    The foodie movement that you touched on is absolutely responsible for a shift to domesticity. And we cant do it all. I keep a garden, am planning chickens and milk goats, grind my own flour for homemade bread, cook everything we eat from scratch ( i have no options here due to uncommon allergens) and next year we’ll be homeschooling again, because as much as i dont want it to be true, schools Really are glorified babysitters. Where do you fit a career in all of that? When i think about trying to have a career to stave off the intellectual boredom and i constantly have great ideas for ways to create a career for myself, every time i reason through it and realize that i cant do it without making sacrifices that im not willing to make. I’ll be a housewife as long as i have kids.

    • Jay says:

      What do you mean “fit a career in all that”? THAT IS THE CAREER! Raising a family and creating a loving home is the absolute highest form of contribution to our culture and civilization.
      Trying to make a home and also be a professional is no more feasible than trying to work full time as a carpenter during the day and a lawyer 8 hours at night.

      • Ellen pitts says:

        Well, yes, you are correct that the amount of time involved is a career, but i have an intense need to problem solve and continually do new things. I just get bored. (Which is why we’ve moved a dozen times in the past 15 years.) i’m very driven and i really like working with a team or group. my life is very lone ranger…not my thing. but am trying to learn to be content where i am and to find projects that can work with both my life circumstances and personality. I dont really expect a man to understand the internal struggle….

        • channa says:

          Grinding flour and milking goats, though, those are neat hobbies but they are just hobbies. If you would rather have a career then just stop doing that. You can’t complain about balance if you choose to forgo the past century of food-chain modernization. It’s like saying you can’t balance a career with your urgent schedule of operating ham radio and building ships in bottles. We all get the same 24 hours per day.

          • Ellen Pitts says:

            You see it as a hobby. I see it as a necessity. Whole flour is something that is not shelf stable. You can’t buy it in a grocery store. If you buy whole wheat flour it has had the wheat bran and wheat germ removed, which are the parts that contain the highest nutrients. And raw milk is illegal in most states. It is in the one where I live and although you can sometimes find bootleg sources, I have found them to be sketchy and I wouldn’t want to buy form them. One of my children has a feeding disorder that he has had since birth. Therapy has proven unsuccessful and he has a severely limited diet. I have seen the amazing difference that raw milk has made in his health. It’s a complete food. Without it, he becomes very sickly. Sure I could just go find a career. But from my perspective I would be trading my children’s health as well as their education. Besides the food, there is the homeschooling. I am not willing to do what Penelope does in order to make that work. I also have more children than she does so it’s very unlikely I could be successful at both career and homeschooling if I tried.

  15. Jana @ 333 Hand Lettering Project says:

    I’ve figured out that all I want to do is draw all day but I haven’t figured out how to get paid for it …yet :)

    • Penelope Trunk says:

      You probably don’t need to get paid for it. I mean, it’s not like I got paid to write this post. I think we do what we love because we love it. And if we do it really well it opens other opportunities. But meanwhile, we have to do something to make money. Forcing yourself to make money from the drawing is too constraining just like me rewriting this post so that someone would sponsor it would be too constraining.

      Penelope

      • John says:

        I used to make money from writing. And one thing I learned: even though we all made a lot of money, the truth is that we wrote for free. What we got paid for was for selling out – for not writing as well as we could have.

        • Cindy says:

          Interesting perspective, John! Obviously it’s true that when we write for money we are not usually writing for ourselves. Of course, we could be hacks selling out, but wouldn’t it also be possible to have mutual goals with those who hired us? I suppose in many cases, though, the least desirable jobs are the ones that involve the most selling out, and that work might often pay the highest.

  16. Lorraine S says:

    Great post Penelope. In spite of your advice elsewhere, I am plotting how to get to grad school (while homeschooling, single parenting and requiring me to move interstate :) ) and your succinct delineation of what good ‘work’ needs is, as your posts most often are for me, useful for being both specific and generalisable. Just the litmus test I need. I love that you admit that these things are “nearly impossible to get while taking care of kids”; certainly not THROUGH taking care of kids in my experience.

  17. rebecca@midcenturymodernremodel says:

    Very interesting post for so many reasons. BUT the marketing chart is priceless. I support marketing applications and websites and many people think they can pop out a few logo names and blow everyone away with their incredible marketing knowledge. People have no idea how complicated things have gotten. This chart is AWESOME and will be in a PPT soon.

  18. MBL says:

    Love the title to the link “Is Michael Pollan a sexist pig?” I’m reading Cooked right now and I think not, but still funny.

  19. Serene says:

    I don’t know if you’ll read this but in saying it’s nearly impossible to get it from looking after kids.. I’m a single mum, I’m 19 and struggling to find it fulfilling but I want to get this from looking after my kid!! Could you do a blog on how I could do that by any chance!?

  20. chris says:

    I KNOW that some people can find the 4 elements and feel fulfilled when they make raising/teaching their kids and creating a sensational family milieu.

    If you are bored, please consider trying these things.

    Commit to simplifying your head, if not your life. One thing at a time, with total concentration on that one thing.

    Answer your kiddos’ questions thoughtfully, completely, with follow-up, with humor, with story-telling (applications).

    Think “it” whatever it is, through thoroughly, dragging the kids with you in your process of thinking it through (first lessons in analysis, if you will).

    Teach them how to think, slowly, calmly; how NOT to judge, but rather, to keep an open mind.

    Teach them cooking, animal husbandry, even if only with the family pet.

    Teach them to move, to explore outdoors, to run, bike, do their own homegrown gymnastics.

    Read to them. Tell stories, spin stories, write down those stories!

    Teach them mindfulness and meditation.

    Teach them how to not be bored, and you will have taught yourself the same lesson.

    Chris

    • Lorraine S says:

      Great advice Chris. I do all of those things and while they are imo the best things for my child and make my parenting rewarding, they are not enough for me to feel fulfilled in life. I have a mind and I want to use it creatively outside our home.
      That would be my advice to you Serene – do as many of those things on Chris’ list as seem important and meaningful to you, and keep an eye on what fulfills you as a person aside from your parenting. Not easy at 19 – it took me until my 40’s to know myself well enough. Hope you get there much sooner. At least enjoy the journey as much as you can by being as fully present in it as you can.

      • Anne T Stone says:

        Dragon stories are my nephew’s reward from his grandmother…”your job is to tell the story, and my job is to listen carefully” then Oma says “yes, there will be a quiz, do you know what a quiz is?” he could define “quiz” and he wanted to win.

        he will wait patiently until she is ready (morning coffee and whatever else he is responsible to accomplish). he is 8 soon, and this has been going on for at least 4 years.,. it doesn’t matter if its the same story or one of a menu…it can be long or short….just a fun thing to start doing to get the questions coming and learn what’s on the kid’s mind a bit…and make him earn something…memories to make and treasure..like Penelope’s grandmother’s…well maybe not all of them!

  21. Gary says:

    This is completely off the subject, so please forgive me. How on earth do some of you post your photos with your comments? I like to take mine around with me, not to scare anyone, but to put a face to my name. Just personal preference, I guess.

    • Razwana says:

      Hi Gary. You go to gravatar.com and add your details, including your photo. Then when you leave a comment and add your email address, your photo will be used. Simple !

      • Gary says:

        Thank you so much, Razwana, you were actually the first one I was going to ask, as you’re perhaps my favorite serial commentator!

  22. Gary says:

    Test

  23. Jen Scaffidi says:

    “We can recognize when our failure is from lack of goals, and not lack of effort.”

    Man, if there’s one lesson I need to hear over and over and over again, it’s that one.

    Thanks!

  24. Shelly says:

    Although I do respect your own writing style, I must say I don’t feel like this was a great piece relating to knowing if I have a good job.

    I stumbled across this piece while browsing for job related articles on LinkedIn. I could not finish reading this post after I read the part about your grandma’s experience getting her appendix taken out. It was really sickening to me and I’m very sorry that happened to her. I stopped reading your article because I wasn’t sure if you would include more stories like this in your examples.

    It might be helpful if you included a disclaimer of some sort stating the heavier topics that are covered regarding this article. You never know who might be reading it (young teenagers, women who have been attacked, etc) and I don’t think most people would expect to read about such a traumatic incident.

    I’ve read some of your other articles related to getting an MBA which I felt were done well. I feel that what you have to say could potentially be very helpful for people, so please don’t take offense to this post. I just felt that some of those examples were a bit too heavy and did not completely relate to knowing if you have a good job or not. I didn’t leave with any new knowledge after reading this article, but instead with a recount of a traumatic event that terrifies me beyond belief.

  25. ABE says:

    Please keep writing about your life as well as your work. Overcoming obstacles to get what you want – eventually – is my mantra. Never give up!

    I have one of the few ‘jobs’ you can do if you are disabled by a chronic disease (ME/CFS): I write.

    With what energy I can extract from my non-working system riddled with brain fog, I put words on ‘paper.’

    Your list shows why this is almost the perfect job:
    1) I have clear goals – the novel I’m writing, and blogging.
    2) I have complete control – over what I do with the writing time I eke out every day.
    And 4) learning to write, learning craft, practicing until it meets my standards, polishing, revising – everything stretches my mind.

    As for 3) feedback, I realized that I desperately needed it – so I started a blog, committed myself to putting up a finished scene every Tuesday, and have pushed, again, to learn all the details related to blogging, self-publishing, … The feedback – comments, and a wonderful beta reader, likes and follows – is coming.

    And it makes all the difference. Writers labor in obscurity unless they make a way to get feedback. Writers who are slow have it the worst.

    As soon as it’s possible, I’ll kick the entrepreneurial gene into gear and get it published, blog and novel. Might even be able to make this a paying job.

    Meanwhile, it is the greatest job for me. And one I can do.

    Thanks for all the business AND personal tips.

  26. Tatiana says:

    I really like this post. I mean, I love all your posts.

    This made me realize that my last job was actually a really awful job. The company had an internal issue of creating and giving expectations (which translates into feasible goals) for their employees. I realized today (actually) that I was feeling chronically powerless in my role, while my coworker did all the work and I just played on youtube. The work itself was really boring because – as the new person – I was routinely given menial tasks. Additionally, the work didn’t challenge me – the only thing I really liked was networking because I got to meet so many different people.

    But this list is something I can keep in mind as I go about creating my own work.

  27. dcline says:

    I had no problem with the rape paragraph but had a hard time getting past the anal sex and poop paragraph in the last post. If Penelope was doing this “professionally” she’d have to take out the references to rape, anal sex, poop, abuse, neglect, dead farm animals, etc ad nauseam.
    She’d probably have to write more about Aspergers (since it’s trendy) and it would be crap since she doesn’t seem to spend time around people on the spectrum outside of her own family. And because Aspergers can affect people in many different ways.
    Her writing wouldn’t be better because it wouldn’t be real.
    By using her blog to create a cult of personality that drives people to her seminars, Penelope gets to write for real people then gets the pleasure of dealing with real people in her real job.
    Neat system.

  28. JML says:

    Thanks for fixing the comments section!

  29. Anne T Stone says:

    BAM! My husband told me to not miss this week, Noting your productivity is up with your trusted scribe, and also you were dishing out the great meal! essentials on controlling the narrative of ones own life is so important! And, my husband said, don’t miss Cassie’s infographic.

    Now, figuring out the storyline of rape after appendicitis surgery at 6 is probably a life’s work, and in her telling that story to you inspired you to your life’s work…helping others with theirs! Well, we all must be grateful to your Brave

    .success in a role: .it’s a dance between you and your management….and depending on the step and partner, it can appear to flow, and yet have no energy. It can turn out many toes are injured, or worse.

    1. Provides clear goals: I remember thinking to myself that I was stupid for buying so many sweaters. This is what we do when we take action based on unclear goals: we try our hardest and then blame ourselves.
    >>>>Clearly articulated goals (number to meet) vs unsaid expectations (what you are really being measured on)…don’t kid yourself out of asking directly….but don’t blame yourself if you can’t figure it out. They ain’t doing their job!

    3. Provides unambiguous feedback: my grandma and I share the trait of being excellent entrepreneurs against everyone’s advice.
    >>>>>lack of feedback, positive reinforcement…can ruin trust instead of building it.

    4. Stretches you without defeating you: volcano of maybe-inter-connected business ideas, I keep working. And the reason I do it is because the four traits of a good job are nearly impossible to get while taking care of kids, but the four traits are so comforting to have in my life.

    Once you know what you need from work you are much more likely to get it.

    >>>>>stretched and defeated at the same time sucks. And when one’s own inner voice has the strength of an anesthetized 6 year old, or worse, the power of a child-rapist, it can be hard to know when to stop trying to be a people pleaser and focus on knowing what you need for flow and energy building….hint: look for energy signatures like a scientist would…

  30. m says:

    Dear P, this post is so bizarre, its contents are unrelated to work since the anecdotes stem from your life, furthermore they are unrelated to caption you have provided. It just sounds like you are trying to get people to read your blog by being sensationalist..

    Also, have you actually been diagnosed with asperger’s .. or is this a self diagnosis?

  31. Michael LaRocca says:

    I’ve decided to get rich. I’m writing a new book called YOGA WITH YODA and using the pen name Penelope Funk. I think the pen name is the part that’ll make me rich. What do you think? I love your hat.

  32. Ryan says:

    If you are still searching, here are some ideas. I love the homeschooling posts.

  33. Avodah says:

    Penelope-thanks for the great article. I’ve struggled to find my stride, but my current job has everything you described.

    I feel challenged, but not overwhelmed, there are clear goals and opportunities to learn. Most importantly- my work energizes me. When I get home I’m tired, but I still have energy for friends, family and hobbies.

    • Gary Sarratt says:

      Huzzahs Avodah! You, Madam, have attained the brass ring. May you be similarly challenged and fulfilled for the rest of your life! G

  34. the last word says:

    I was molested and raped several times. I am not uncomfortable with the topic but rather intrigued. How interesting to weave several random topics into a comoelling read. I am a teacher and my job is very confining. After no child left behind legislation it really made teaching quite stiffling. No art, no music, no laughter only teach to the test and reading and math. That bores me. I want conversation and thinking and imagination. My principals have been very political and want only to raise API. My sons teacher is good but she is so old that she is left alone to do what has worked for her for 30+ years. Newer teachers are given Scott Foresman and whatever math program and told to teach this boring crap for 10 years and stay excited about it. I am not excited about it. Changing grades is the only way I can see to not get bored teaching the same stories. I just want the freedom to have fun even though it might not be fullfilling some Core concept.

    I just started eating whole foods and juicing. Very different. Im abt 85% raw. I am suffering from a migrane because I ate chocolate and beef which I cant process any more because I dont eat it often. I am very sick from 20 years of bad eating and letting work stress me out. Im living with the consequenes of my life but I have learnef that I dont like the way I feel when I eat bad food. And I dont like being around small minded people. I ignore them now and actually have nothing to say to them. People think what they want to think and I font particually care anymore if everyone else agrees with me. My thoughts are unique and Im no longer offended if others disagree eith me. But I probably won’t care. Like Fred we all have our ideas of cooth. He is where he is but I think he should be aloud to comment. He has his own opinion and in his world his opinion counts. To just say hes going to never never land with his legions, while very clever writing it kond of make me think others won’t want to be as honest. Maybe Fred was molested or his son or brother and it is still uncomfortable for him.

    My mom was homeless for many years after taking prozack perscribed by her doc. It made her have a mental breakdown as she took it with weed and alcohol. Bad combination. I am still uncomfotable with the homeless and I dont like hearing her stories and I tell her so. While im glad she isnt homeless anymore I still cant stand the pain of the memory becauseher mental illness couldn’t handle it and as young women my sisters and I weren’t wise enough to understand and know how to get the help she and we needes, she ended up losing her two youngest daughters and almost her grandchildren. My wise husband came in and basically said why is your mother homeless. We said she threatend to kill us, he said hasnshe hurt you, we said no. He said what harm will it be for her to see our child. I said I dont know. See she had been gone for so long I didn’t know how to have her in our life. Well we saw her randomly on the street by then she was licing with an older lady taking care of her. When we went to see her she had so many gifts for my 6 month old daughter it blew me away. She eventually moved in with us. I am so glad she did because my mom was able to get to know my dwar sweet daufhter who died at 9 and a half months. She has gone crazy many times and now we take time from her when we cant handle it. She is like a tea pot. When she gets too stressed she blows up. But my kids love their grandma. They call her on their fake phones. They talk about her and just love going to her house and play. I am glad we didn’t through awayna perfectly good grandmoher just because we thouh

    • the last word says:

      Just because I thought she was a bad mother. I may be a bad mom to my kids in their eyes but I do try my best. Which I often tell them that is all they and we ever can do. If I could do better I would to better. Yet as for these posts ive sent please overlook the typos as I am not the best speller or texter. Enjoy

    • Gary says:

      Last Word, you’re a TEACHER?? Mother of God! I hope you don’t teach English. I’m leaning toward not believing you; you seem to have a ax to grind against NCLBA. You seem to have many unresolved conflicts through your life. Please find some good help, you don’t need to be troubled.

  35. Kerri Ponder says:

    Wow. I stumbled across your blog today for the first time, and in reading it, I immediately wanted to know more. I read all of the comments regarding the appropriateness of adding sexual misconduct to an article about loving your job. My opinion, Penelope, is that you should remain true to yourself – it is YOUR story to tell however you feel necessary. In addition, I find the personal trials somehow motivating, as you’ve proven success is available to those who rise above being abused and inappropriateness only holds you back if you allow it. Keep writing! I will certainly be reading, knowing my position as one of your readers is to simply take it or leave it. If your life is ever so slightly changed forever by reading any article, the author has been successful. Success with this one, my dear =)
    ~Kerri
    PS I hate my job but I am working to change that!

  36. topdiablo3 says:

    Very interesting post for so many reasons. BUT the marketing chart is priceless. I support marketing applications and websites and many people think they can pop out a few logo names and blow everyone away with their incredible marketing knowledge.

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