When your work lacks meaning and you feel there has to be something better than this

When work just doesn’t feel right

You wake up one morning and the thought of going to work fills you with dread! You ask yourself “why am I doing this?” “I don’t love my job – I don’t even like it!” You realise that you never had passion for your work. You do it to pay the bills – that flashy new car – “do I even need it?” And the mortgage – “do I really need to keep working at this meaningless job for another twenty-something years just to pay that?” “Maybe I better keep at it. No, wait! I don’t want to feel trapped either!” “Oh God – what am I going to do?

If you’ve ever had thoughts like these or the feeling that your work-life is empty, it is likely that you are in the wrong job. It happens to many people. They get a job after school or college, start enjoying the independence that comes with having a steady income, the holidays abroad, a car – then a new car, and eventually a home of their own – with a big mortgage of course. This is also the period that many people get married and start a family. Life has been busy – time flies! Without seemingly thinking about it, we work, get promoted, work more, accumulate more earnings and material things. And now it just doesn’t seem to matter – what was it all for? Your life lacks something – meaning, happiness, contentment, fulfillment?

Most people start their working lives to meet the expectations of their parents, their teachers, society in general. Because they were good at maths or science, they were steered into studying engineering. Because their parents wanted them to be a lawyer or a doctor or a dentist, they became one. Because everybody kept telling them that banking or financial services was the best place to work, they got a job there. They have met the expectations of others who at the time were important to them. They still are probably, but meeting their expectations is no longer that important. And now? That “great” job is boring, meaningless and devoid of happiness.

This is the moment that a person feels that they really need to do something about this. But what? Look for a new job? A new career? Start their own business? What?

This is the time to seek the services of a career coach – someone to help you make sense of what you are feeling – someone to help you find a new direction for your life – whether that new direction is a career change, or starting your own business, or doing that which you always knew inside that you should be doing.

I wrote previously about the process involved in finding career direction (you can read that article here), and such a holistic and multi-faceted approach will give you much to think about. The process will bring you to a new awareness of yourself, your personality, your interests, your strengths, and your values. From these insights, a growing consciousness of what direction your career and life should take dawns. You feel at last a sense of excitement about the future as a fuzzy pathway increasingly transforms into a clearer and richer picture of where you want to be. Once you find that, your present reality becomes unacceptable – you have found the way forward and know you must take it. Meaning, happiness, contentment and fulfillment awaits! Go get it!

Why companies should use outplacement support when downsizing and retrenching

Outplacement support has multiple benefits

For various reasons companies in Singapore are downsizing and retrenching staff. In some industries, jobs are being lost to technology, increasingly so since the government placed more emphasis on the need for greater productivity – there are many government schemes in place to support increasing productivity. Jobs are also being lost by moving them overseas to cheaper labour markets such as Malaysia, Vietnam and China.

Every year therefore, more employees in Singapore are receiving the bad news that they are to be made redundant or retrenched. This can be devastating and very frightening news. Employees with families wonder what is to happen to them and their dependents – will they be able to afford the mortgage on their apartment, pay medical fees for elderly parents, and meet other commitments. They worry whether they will be able to find a similar job elsewhere or whether their career has become obsolete. How long will it take to get a new job? The questions are endless and the anxiety high.

Downsizing and retrenching doesn’t just impact the individuals to be laid off. It also affects those whose jobs survive – they too are frightened that it could happen to them. All of this has a big effect on morale and consequently productivity suffers. This negatively impacts the company internally. But there are also external negative impacts – the company’s image and reputation are affected: people view the company as heartless and inhuman for treating their loyal workers this way and this can reduce sales.

Both internal and external negative impact can be greatly reduced if the company provides outplacement support for employees to be retrenched. Such an initiative should be a crucial part of the marketing campaign that accompanies the process. Companies that provide outplacement support are seen as less heartless and even concerned for the ongoing welfare of former staff.

So what is outplacement support? There are two elements to outplacement support. Firstly there is career review, choice and change. This is where retrenched staff receive career coaching to help them review their current worth in the labour market or assist them in choosing a new career. With some upskilling, the person may well be able to continue in the line of work they have previously done, but in industries where jobs are being downsized, usually there is a reduced demand across the board for such jobs. Retrenched staff are encourages to look at a new career, perhaps something they previously had wanted to do but never got around to it. Frequently psychometric inventories or assessments (often incorrectly called personality tests – but they are not ‘tests’ as there are no right or wrong answers!) can be used to suggest a career in which they might find fulfillment and contentment. Strengths-based and values-based approaches are often used too. The objective is that the person will have a clear idea of the job and career that they are going to pursue. This clarity and specificity is necessary for successful job searching, which is the focus of the second element of outplacement support.

People who have been employed for an extended period usually do not have the knowledge and skill required to successful secure a job in modern day Singapore. They need to know how to craft an impactful resume and to be able to refocus it on the specific requirements of an employer for a particular job. They also need to know how to promote themselves in an interview as the best candidate for the job in question. And before getting an interview and sending in a resume, they need to know the three approaches to finding an available job in Singapore. Outplacement support equips people with these necessary skills and knowledge.

The benefits to a company of providing outplacement support to retrenched staff is twofold: it lessens the negative impact internally as both outgoing and surviving staff see the company as supportive in the process; and through well-managed public relations and marketing, customers and the public in general don’t view it as heartless and only focused on the bottom line. The earlier outplacement support is planned and engaged the better – this gives retrenched workers more time to find a new job – hopefully even before their current one disappears.

Using Psychometric Assessments for Career Direction Finding

Personality inventories can help find career direction

People use various methods to help them find direction for their career such as a strengths-based approach, values-based approach, etc. I previous wrote about focusing on your strengths when identifying your skills (you can read that article here) and doing so greatly helps if you are going to use a strengths-based approach. Another popular approach is to use psychometric assessments.

Psychometric assessments are frequently referred to as ‘personality tests’, but the use of the words ‘test’ or ‘tests’ conjure up associations with an examination of some kind. Even the word ‘assessments’ can conjure up such associations. But associations such as these are inaccurate and incorrect because there is no element of examination involved – they are not ‘tests’ as there are no right or wrong answers to the questions. The ‘correct’ answer to each question is the one you feel is right – the answer to provide is the one your “gut reaction” tells you. After all, the questions are asking you about your preferences and interests, so your answers are about you and how you are – there can be no right or wrong answer therefore.

So these instruments are more correctly called psychometric inventories or personality inventories – they compile the preferences, traits and interests that you report in your answers to the various questions. This leads us to another point – the output of these inventories is only as good as the input. In other words, you need to be completely honest in answering the questions. The instruments are ‘self-reporting’, which means that the final ‘assessment’ is based on the answers you provide. Any attempt to control, sway, skew or distort your answers may well affect the outcome and the final report – it could lead to you being given a false assessment of your preferences or interests. As only you and your career coach will see the final report, it doesn’t make sense to interfere with it by attempting to portray yourself as you would like to be or the way you would want others to see you. So truthful answers will lead to a final report that will be genuinely useful in assisting you in finding your career direction.

One of the better known and most popular personality inventories is the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI for short. The MBTI is the most robust and most researched of all the personality inventories with more than three and a half million reports completed per year. The research confirms its validity and reliability. The MBTI determines your personality type based on four sets of preferences: where you prefer to focus your attention and get energised – whether you are introverted or extraverted – I or E; the way you take in or perceive information and the kind of information you trust – sensing or intuition – S or N; the way you prefer to make decisions – thinking or feeling – T or F; and how you prefer to deal with the outer world around you – judging or perceiving – J or P. These provide a four letter reference to one of sixteen personality types – e.g. ISTJ or ENFP.

That may sound a little complicated, but your career coach will explain your report to you in a simple manner!

So what are the benefits of using a psychometric inventory such as the MBTI? Firstly, it provides greater understanding of yourself and others. In relation to your career and career direction finding in particular, it helps you to see how your personality type affects your career – is your personality type in keeping with the work you do? If not, you are likely to feel stressed and unhappy in work. It explains how your MBTI preferences affect what you like about a given career, and identifies the tasks and jobs that give you satisfaction. It also explores your preferred work tasks and work environments. Most importantly, it suggests careers that people with your personality type find fulfilling and rewarding, and that they are successful at.

Another popular and useful instrument is the Strong Interest Inventory which explores your interests and what you like to do. The completed report links your interests to possible careers, generates a list of careers suitable to your interests, and indicates what you need to consider when evaluating career options. Because it connects possible careers to your interests, the careers it suggests are sure to be satisfying and fulfilling for you.

Finding Career Direction

Use multiple approaches to finding career direction

There are various approaches to finding career direction and each have their proponents and adversaries. Many career coaches favour a more holistic approach where a number of different approaches are used to provide a wider perspective for the client. Here are three approaches.

Personality inventories are popular and used to good effect in career finding. Better known examples are the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (usually known as the MBTI) and the Strong Interest Inventory (SII). Personality inventories are assessment tools that help people identify their personality type and they also highlight various traits that people have in social and work situations. They can also be used to identify people’s interests, motivations and their strengths and weaknesses.

Whichever inventories a person uses, they will learn a lot about themselves. However, they are not error-proof as they are self-reporting (you answer the questions as truthfully as you decide) and are therefore best used as indicators rather than as definitive. The various factors identified by the personality inventories are used to assist a person in choosing a career that they will find personally satisfying and fulfilling, and they have much success in doing this.

Another approach to finding career direction is using a strengths-based approach. Firstly let us define a strength as a skill that you are both good at and enjoy doing. Merely focusing on skills you are good at could lead you into a job or role where you use skills you are good at but don’t actually enjoy doing – that’s a recipe for unhappiness and a short lived career. Focusing on strengths, on the other hand, attempts to find a match between the skills you enjoy doing and are good at, and a career or role that utilises all or most of your strengths. Obviously being in such a role would lead to happiness, contentment and fulfilment at work.

The process of discovering your strengths is one of reflection and self-assessment – various exercises are used to identify skills you like using, achievements you are proud of, roles you enjoy, and the type of people you like working with. To get a more objective view of your strengths, you can also ask your family, friends and colleagues what they see as your strengths. The exercise, Your Reflected Best Self, is one way of accomplishing this.

Another approach is to identify our values and relate them to possible careers and roles. Our values determine whether we are happy and content with our work and working life. They influence our behaviour and our attitude to various situations. If our work conflicts with our values, we will feel unhappy and stressed at work, so it is important to know what our values in relation to work are.

Examples of values are fairness, justice, compassion for others, integrity, attention to detail, neatness, etc. If you have to work long hours, but you value family or work-life balance, your job conflicts with your values and you will feel stressed and unhappy at work. If you value working with people and helping others, and your job involves this, you will feel happy and motivated in work. So it is important to find a career or role that is in keeping with your values.

The process of identifying your values is normally led by a career coach or counsellor, but using a long list of values and ticking off the ones that mean something to you also works.

As stated above, it is best to use more than one approach. While it is possible to do a lot of this self-assessment and self-discovery on your own, it is far more productive to seek the assistance of a career coach or specialist.

Focus on your Strengths

Compile your skills, but focus on your strengths
Compile your skills, but focus on your strengths

One of the larger and more arduous tasks involved in managing your career – whether when looking for a new job or preparing for promotion – is systematically compiling a list of your skills. In doing so, you need to focus not only on current work skills, but on skills you may have developed in school and university, in your sports or leisure pursuits, in voluntary or community work – in fact, from every and all aspects of your life to-date. A skill is a skill and it matters little where you gained it – it may well turn out to be a valuable transferable skill that you might need in a new position or role. So don’t confine yourself to only compiling work skills.

A skill is the ability to carry out a particular task. Some skills we are very good at and others we don’t do so well. In our working life, we tend to have to use a mix of skills some of which we are very good at, others ok with, and again others that are still a challenge for us – but we still manage to get the job done.

Then there are skills that we enjoy doing and others that we don’t enjoy. Again, our jobs tend to involve some of both. When we are using skills that we enjoy doing, we feel happy and motivated in our job. Conversely, when we have to use a skill we don’t enjoy, our job is challenging, boring and discouraging.

Our strengths are those skills that we are both good at and enjoy doing. Imagine a job where you only had to utilise your strengths! Think how fulfilling and motivating that would be – a job that would make you very happy indeed!

So when you are thinking about your career direction or looking for a new position, don’t just identify your skills but rather focus on your strengths. When you have identified and written down your strengths, ask yourself (and others) “what job or role would involve using these strengths?” See if you can group or theme some of your strengths – do these suggest a job or role? Research these strengths in as much depth as you can – what you are trying to identify are all those jobs, roles or positions that use your strengths. You may not find a job or role that uses all of your strengths, but if you find one that utilises many of them, wouldn’t that be a job worth pursuing?

Our work takes up a large portion of our life, so shouldn’t we try as much as possible to ensure that we are happy at work – that our work is fulfilling and motivating. The way to do this is find a job or role that utilises our strengths.

What should we do when our job only uses some of our strengths (besides looking for one that requires more of our strengths!)? It is important for our inner happiness and contentment that we find the opportunity to use as many of our strengths as possible. So for those strengths that are unused in our work, look for other avenues to use them. Does a local charity or voluntary organisation need help that involves using some of your strengths? Would taking a committee position in your sports or leisure club facilitate using some of those unused strengths?

How Essential Is Your Job To Your Firm's Mission?

how essential is your job

If you were offered several different jobs, there would be a lot of factors that went into deciding which job to take.

In addition to the usual factors like seniority level, salary and work-life balance, new research by professors at University of Wisconsin and Washington State University, suggests another important factor to take into account.

How indispensable you are to place?

In other words, is the role a ‘lynchpin’ and how essential is the job to the firm’s overall goal?

Examples of lynchpin roles are engineers in a technology company, or a management consultant at a consulting firm.

To gauge the lynchpinness of a job there are four dimensions that come into play:

  1. How vital the work is to the overall purpose of the company.
  2. If someone else can do the work.
  3. How quickly other work activities would stop, if the job was not done.
  4. How many other work activities would stop, if the job was not done.

The study in question found that being an “organizational lynchpin,” as researchers put it, has several advantages.

First, and most obvious, is that of job security. If you are perceived as vital to the life of a company, you really don’t have to worry about being fired or replaced. This is good, but it’s not the only advantage.

Lynchpins also feel a higher sense of job satisfaction because people like to know that they are doing something meaningful and something that others depend on. Being essential also helps to foster a deeper emotional connection to the company. All this leads to more enjoyment at work, and a smaller chance of getting burned out by your job.

So, why is this good to know?

  • As you are considering future career choices, it’s important to think about your role in the company in question. Are you getting a job as just a cog in the machine, or are you signing on to play a significant role?
  • This also has implications for internal transfers within an organization. If you are offered a transfer to a more central position in the company, it is something you want to seriously consider.
  • For supervisors, this research also suggests that efforts to increase employee satisfaction are best targeted to those employees who work in more peripheral areas of the company. That’s because they are the ones who will most likely be unhappier in their jobs due to burnout, a sense of being left out or a feeling of not being important.

4 Excellent New Books For Your Career

best career books 2017

To help your career in 2017, here is a selection of new books that provide guidance on topics such as changing careers, finding a good job, professional development, networking and achieving your goals.

“Pivot: The Only Move That Matters is Your Next One”

Former Google career development manager and current career coach Jenny Blake explains a four-step, incremental method to change your career in “Pivot.” The steps include:

  • Planning your career and goals for the future.
  • Getting a good idea of your strengths.
  • Figuring our how to get from where you are, to where you want to be.

Blake offers dozens of how-to exercises to illustrate how you make small changes in the right direction. She advocates making small changes in succession until you reach an ultimate career goal.

“Reinvention Roadmap”

Liz Ryan, founder and CEO of Human Workplace, gives her tips on how to reinvent yourself as you look for new opportunities and new career paths.

Her 20-plus years of experience in HR demonstrate her expertise.

Ryan has more than 1 million followers on LinkedIn, so you should listen heartily to the concepts presented in her book “Reinvention Roadmap: Break the Rules to Get the Job You Want and Career You Deserve.”

“Designing Your Life”

“Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life,” by professors Bill Burnett and Dave Evans of Stanford University’s design department, explores how interior design principles can be used to improve your life and career.

The authors talk about a five-step, life/career design process. The trick to design the life you want lies in continually testing things in small yet impactful ways until you discover what works best.

For example, the pair say you should explore your next move by conducting interviews with someone who made the same decision in their past that you’re pondering for your future.

In the midst of the interviews, you get a feel for the reality of your possible path and whether it measures up to your expectations, effort and expertise.

“Build Your Dream Network”

We all know that developing meaningful connections, both off and online, is important for our careers.

However, many of us don’t make the time to do so. We also don’t go about it in a well planned and strategic way.

Author J. Kelly Hoey provides great tips, expert interviews and checklists, to help you make the process easier and effective.

Happy reading!

My Big Career Change From The Corporate World To Online Freelancing

how to change careers

I always believed in the notion of succeeding most at your career when doing something that you are really passionate about which is why, a few years back, I decided to make the shift from the corporate world into online freelancing.

I can’t say that it was an easy ride, but it was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.

Below are a few reasons why:

I Earn More Money On Average

When I first started online freelancing, to be quite honest, I was earning peanuts but my salary was doubling in the first few months, something that would never happen in the corporate world.

Until now, my income is not doubling each month, but it sure is increasing at a rate that would never happen had I still been an employee doing something that I was not passionate about.

I Am My Own Boss

Being your own boss means working at your convenience including choosing when and where you work.

For me, this has always translated into more independence and piece of mind, which allows me to appreciate my work more.

I am a big travel junkie, so the ability to travel the world while working is something that I find to be a big advantage of being an online freelancer.

Online Freelancing Perfectly Fits My Personality

It’s been said that people should choose their jobs based on their personalities.

I am personally introverted which makes working online and not having to communicate much with other people (not face to face or over the phone much, at least) a big advantage.

It’s not that I don’t like other people, but rather I work better by myself and do not like to make a social effort during my working hours.

If you want to make a big career change in your life but are unsure of how to do it, consider talking to someone with similar experience, do a bit of research or find a life coach to help you mitigate the career transition.

If you want to be an entrepreneur for instance, talking to someone with similar experience – or who has made it into a successful entrepreneur can help you. Likewise, if you want to become an online freelancer, for instance, you can do some research on freelancing and the best online freelancing platforms to have an idea about the concept and how to go along doing it.

Finally, hiring a career coach is very popular nowadays. A career/life coach can help you navigate the obstacles that you will face when attempting to attain your career goals.

Can Money Buy Happiness And Career Satisfaction?

money buy happiness career job

Do you ever wish you had more money? Do you ever dream of being rich? Have you ever thought about why that is the case?

For many people, the desire to be wealthy is extremely common, but is there a root cause to wanting to be rich? Does money make a person intrinsically happier?

As it turns out, the short answer is yes. However, there are some nuances to the subject that make it a bit more complicated.

If you want to understand why money is such a sought-after commodity, then take a look at what the research says and decide for yourself if having tons of money will make all your dreams come true.

Are Money and Happiness Related?

For many years, this question has been at the forefront of people’s minds. The idea that money can buy happiness has been touted by both sides of the issue, with one side saying that happiness comes from within, and the other saying it’s easier to be happy in a Rolls Royce than in a Daewoo.

So which side is right?

Well, like all good arguments, the reality is that both sides make compelling points, which means that there is no correct answer.

Ultimately, how happy money can make you will depend on your own personality, life situation and thoughts on the subject, but this is what research has to say.

Recent surveys conducted all over the world say that richer people tend to be more satisfied with their lives than poor people.

However, it is important to note that this relationship shows a correlation but not necessarily a causation. In other words, the increase in happiness could be caused by factors than money.

We also need to consider the Plateau Effect and the amount of variation in happiness.

The Plateau Effect

Let’s say for the sake of argument that you win the lottery tomorrow. To keep things relatively simple, we’ll say that the lottery is worth $100 million.

Chances are most of you have thought about how you would spend that kind of money if you got it, but what happens if you get that kind of money every year? Instead of a giant windfall, what if you earned $100 million annually?

Winning the lottery is a thrilling moment, but eventually, you will get used to it, right? 

As with all vices, money has the same plateau effect as anything else. The more drugs you take, the more you have to ingest to get the same high. The more alcohol you drink, the higher your tolerance level.

Money operates the same way, which means that once you reach a certain amount you become desensitized to it and you don’t feel as happy about it anymore. After all, if you have plenty of money to take care of your bills and family, then what will you do with the rest?

According to research, there is a limit to how much money can make someone happy. One study concluded that beyond $75,000 of family income and $40,000 of individual income, more money did not lead to more happiness.

Once you have at least that much money, other factors such as health and friendships become much more valuable. This makes sense, because once your base needs are met, then you seek out other ways to make yourself happy.

Variations in Happiness Based on Income

Poorer people will have much higher hopes for financial gain because the effect is so much more pronounced when you have little to begin with.

But how much is the variation in happiness between people of different income levels?

As per research, people who earned $32,000 a year were just 10% happier happier than people who earned $2,000. And moving from an income of $40,000 to 80,000 increased life satisfaction from 6.5 to 7 out of 10.

So money might make people happier but not my much.

So What Does All Of This Mean For Your Career?

As we have seen, money doesn’t increase happiness by much, especially above a certain income level.

Also, an analysis of more than 100 studies revealed a very small relationship between money and career/job satisfaction.

So the conclusion is simple, don’t make money the main focus of your career. Also think about what you would do if money was not an obstacle, use evidence from science to guide your career path and see what your personality says.

Common Triggers For Quitting Your Job

when quitting your job

Chances are pretty high that once you’ve settled into a secure job, you have no intention of leaving it any time soon.

There are, however, certain situations that can put the idea of seeking a new job front and center in your mind.

According to research by CEB, people have a higher tendency to change jobs after certain events and milestones.


1. Significant social gatherings with your peer group.

Attending a social gathering where you’ll be among peers who are close in age and life experience can inspire a desire for change. For instance, you decide to attend your high school or college reunion.

The reason you go is to catch up with old friends you knew back in the day, and you enjoy sharing a few laughs and some fond memories. As you share life stories, you can’t help but hear about career choices and successes others have had along the way.

Naturally, you’ll compare your job with others and silently measure your career success against that of your friends and associates. Perhaps it’s time to rethink your career goals, start working on increasing your chances of promotion or seek a job that more closely aligns with your values. Attending peer group events can trigger all of these thoughts.

2. Job anniversaries.

As the anniversary of your current job rolls around, you may reflect upon your reasons for taking the job in the first place.

Job anniversaries bring to the forefront everything you like or dislike about your job, as you ponder the years you’ve spent in one place.

3. Promotion anniversaries.

The anniversary of your promotion into a certain job position can lead to positive or negative feelings, depending on how well your job is going.

If the promotion isn’t living up to your expectations, you may decide it’s time to start looking into positions that offer more career fulfillment.


Make sure your career decisions are strategic.

So it could be the case that your dissatisfaction or restlessness with your current job, is less about the company or job, and more due to the fact that you just turned 40.

While it’s never a bad idea to take stock of your career and plan for the future, do make sure that any changes you are thinking about, actually make sense.

Career Choices – What If Money Was Not An Obstacle?

what is career choices

We all have that dream. The dream to have enough money so that we could live out our lives in the manner of our choosing.

Money is always the obstacle.

We either don’t make enough, or we spend too much trying to make ourselves happy, or at least happy enough to continue on wishing we had more.

No matter the circumstance, there has always been a time (usually when sitting in traffic on the way to work) when we’ve wanted to chuck it all and quit our drudge of a desk job.  It’s a nice daydream isn’t it?  Just imagine: Wouldn’t it be nice to do what you really want to do instead of what you’re supposed to do, or what you have to dFo?

These questions are the topic of a video narrated by the late author Alan Watts.  Watts, a native of London, became fascinated with Far Eastern life at a young age.  After a short stint as an Episcopal priest in Chicago, he left the church to focus on Asian studies.  His studies led him to Zen Buddhism, which he wrote and spoke extensively about.

Watts’ worldview changed radically with his immersion in Zen philosophy.  The video “What If Money Was No Object” is one in a series of audio lectures he recorded before his passing in 1973.

One of the main points of this talk is the futility of earning a college degree simply as a way to earn money, just like you would get some personal $10000 loans 24/7 application processing or some long term installment loans approved.  Watts speaks of a situation involving graduating students who come to him for career advice, during a time when he worked as a vocational counselor.

Watts’ first question to the students is, “What would you like to do if money were no object?”  The reply was usually, “Well, I’d like to be an artist/painter/writer/….”  Watts then turns the conversation back to the point, “You can’t earn any money that way.”  What Watts is looking for is an admission from the student that they are only looking for a way to earn money.

The most important point of Watts’ talk is to “do what you really want to do, and money be damned.”  His scathing indictment of “working solely for money” is that the chase for riches will cause one to end up working in a job that they don’t like, for their entire life.  In his words, “It’s stupid!”

Ultimately, Watts does come back around to earning money.  But his advice for earning a living is a much more creative, and satisfying way of doing it.  The basic premise is, “Do something you love doing, become extremely good at doing it, then charge a fee for doing it.”  Earn money while you do something you love to do.

The importance of Watts interpretation of Zen philosophy, as it relates to our goal-oriented, get ahead world, is refreshing.  Yes, money is an object and we all need to take practicalities and realities into account. However, it is worth thinking about and exploring if there may be ways to earn a living that won’t destroy your soul, or your spirit.


How Men are Discriminated Against in the Job Market

Confused Man

It may come as a surprise, but men may have better opportunities if they stay unemployed rather if they accept part-time work.

David Pedulla, a sociologist with the University of Texas at Austin, sent out several thousand fake resumes to see how work history and gender would affect the number of callbacks. The results he found showed that women currently working part-time jobs were twice as likely to receive a callback as men.

“There seem to be penalties for men who choose to work part time that are just as significant as being unemployed, while women appeared to not face any such penalty,” reported Prof. Pedulla.

During the 2007-2009 recession, an estimated one out of every six U.S. workers lost their job at least once. The unemployment rate continued at a higher-than-average rate in the years that the economy was recovering. Research shows that the psychological and financial damage created through unemployment can be long-lasting.

The research completed by Prof. Pedulla involved over 2,400 applications, submitted for 1,210 open positions. The study was completed throughout five cities in the U.S. between November of 2012 and June of 2013. The fake resumes belonged to both female and male candidates who were graduates of large public universities throughout the Midwest.

The candidates were given similar work histories until the prior 12 months. For the most recent 12-month period, each candidate was put into one of five categories. The applicants were either unemployed, working at a job below their skill level (a retail store sales associate), were working at a position provided by a temporary employment agency, working a part-time position, or working full time.

Of the male and female applicants who currently already had full-time employment, over 10 percent received a call back from the potential employer.

The men and women who were working a job well below their skill level received much lower numbers. Of the women, 5.2 percent received a call back compared to 4.7 percent of male workers.

The candidates employed through a temporary agency received similar results. Men received a call back rate of 7.1 percent. This category came in second, only behind those who already had a full time job. The women employed through temporary services received a call back of 8.3 percent.

When it came to hiring female applicants, the employers didn’t penalize them for being in a part-time job. They received a call back rate of 10.9 percent. However, male applicants who were currently working part-time positions only received a 4.8 percent call back rate. This was just slightly better than the 4.2 percent of unemployed men who received a call back. The rate of unemployed women who were called back was 7.5 percent.

Discrimination against men

According to a separate survey, which was given to managers in charge of the hiring process, men are penalized for taking a part-time position because it creates the perception of a lack of commitment.

While this does not explain why managers don’t perceive women that way, maybe managers assume that women working part-time may have done so for childcare reasons (and are now more available to work full-time) whereas men (whom managers may assume have never had to cut back on work hours for childcare reasons) in a part-time role might be signaling something negative about their competency.