When the job is no longer enjoyable

626986_web_R_by_Erwin Lorenzen_pixelio.deEdgar is in my office and he makes a very down-trodden impression. For six months he has had a 12 years younger boss. Since then his job has no longer been enjoyable. In the beginning he enjoyed his new boss and his many ideas. Just like the saying “a breath of fresh air”. But it quickly became apparent that the new boss had many ideas, but his leadership qualities leave a lot to be desired.


Edgar misses the recognition. Now it is all a question of rules and regulations and the name of the game is not to do anything wrong. He is not praised for good work, but reprimanded for every small inaccuracy and delay. He feels like a small cog that has nothing to say. A cog that has to turn, but should function only mechanically and have no feelings. How he feels, interests no one. Getting up in the morning is hard for him and the way to work has become pure torture.

Edgar is considering throwing in the towel and after 15 years leaving the firm. But Edgar is afraid and beholden to his obligations. After all he has two children still at school, a wife working part-time and if his salary, which is very respectable, should be lost, his family would be in difficulties. Somehow he does not dare to discuss this with his wife, because their marriage has long been silent and without a real exchange of views.

I listen to Edgar, whom I know from the past as a very amusing and cheerful person and began to worry about him. If this goes on, he will make himself sick and ill, I think to myself, and tell him the story of Bruno:

I had known Bruno for many years, he had been my client for a long time. He had worked for ages as the CFO of a small bank and he obviously enjoyed his work and life. I liked working with him. Our meetings were pleasant, productive and amusing. Over time we grew to respect one another highly. And one fine day he told me that he was leaving the bank.

I was taken aback. I knew that a year ago his bank had merged with a significantly larger bank, but he was able to keep his job as CFO. He explained to me that the culture and the behaviour to one another had changed a great deal. The person is no longer so important. This was not at all to his taste and he wanted again to do something, which he could believe in.

I was flabbergasted. He was 3 years away from retirement and then he could expect a golden parachute at the end of his career. He gave notice without having a new job. I admired his courage. But it wasn’t long and he started a new job as CFO of a family company. His salary was more than halved, but his satisfaction had again leapt sky-high. Life is too short to inflict pain on oneself every day.

Edgar listened to me eagerly. I hope he picked out the right conclusions.

Image source: Erwin Lorenzen / pixelio.de


One thought on “When the job is no longer enjoyable

  1. Interesting read and like it.

    An employee is unhappy because he is not recognized/appreciated and his leader misses certain managerial skill set. In the other example the CFO was a leader himself and really talented. It comes back that Edgar either accepts his situation and does not complain, try to change his boss (bottom up approach) or when those are not optional: ‘hit the road Jack (Edgar) and never come back’. With respect to the latter, when you are really talented such a decision is less risky. The CFO’s skill sets are more scarce compared with those of Edgar. The CFO is also at the end of his career (les impact for kids, mortgage; etc.). Taking that cut in future salary can not be compared with Edgar’s ‘as is’ situation and his future uncertainty. Is Edgar not a symptom of the real problem: his boss and lack of certain skills? You can have a look at the story from different angles. Out of curiosity what happened with the boss; assume based on examples given that his weaknesses were structural and also not in line with company’s objectives?

    Thanks for sharing, enjoyed reading!

    Liked by 1 person

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