Rather than hating work, many people have misconceptions about work that lead to dissatisfaction. 

During the height of the Great Resignation, I noticed a piece about the myth that Americans hate their job. Kudos to the writer for using the word “myth.” 

The idea of hating your job has been around for a lot longer than the Great Resignation (which was also kind of a myth). It’s been celebrated in songs like “Take This Job and Shove It,” movies that depict the misery of the 9-to-5 workday, and countless other pop culture references. 

You would have to go back to the 1950s to see the working world depicted as joyous, albeit through the worst tropes ever: the man tying his tie while his wife and kids stand by the front door waiting to wish him a good day. His wife, kitchen apron on and in full makeup, hands him his brown bag lunch. A quick kiss. A hug for the daughter and a hair rub for the young son. Or, the men leaving the home at the same time, waving to each other before climbing into their Cadillacs. 

If I were to depict work life in this context today, I might be accused of “work washing” and suppressing the supposedly miserable working majority. 

So how do Americans really feel about work? I don’t believe they truly hate their jobs. 

Maybe I’m in the minority (I doubt it), but I love what I do. And I work incredibly hard to keep doing what I love, especially in an industry that tends to practice ageism (a whole different story). I think that rather than hating work, many people have misconceptions about work that lead to dissatisfaction. 


Here are ways to overcome challenges that lead to work unhappiness: 

1. Set Boundaries

When you take a job, it’s an agreement between two parties: you and the company. You agree out of free will to work for a company on their behalf, and in return, the company agrees to compensate you for your skill, effort, support, and assistance with whatever the job description says. 

You accept the financial compensation not only aligned to your skill, but also in line with the value of your self-esteem. It seems like a clear and simple agreement. Financial and emotional satisfaction in harmony.  

So what’s the issue? As I see it, it’s the boundaries. How clear is the job description? Did you clearly define and communicate your personal boundaries or “work/life balance?” Or, is there a shadow of vagueness looming?

The more employees and companies can be clear on boundaries and expectations, the greater the chance of a happy working relationship. 

2. Protect Your Feelings

People have feelings; companies don’t. So employees must protect theirs. 

Companies employ a diverse group of human beings. We aren’t robots. The vast majority of us want to make others feel good and comfortable. But a company, the business, doesn’t have feelings. By the way, the CEO or founder is not the company. They are people who work for the company.   

With that in mind, your personal and emotional boundaries are your responsibility to protect. No one else will do so. Understanding the why of your decisions takes self-reflection and ownership over your actions. 

3. Take Command Of Your Career 

If we all desire a positive and harmonious work culture for all, then each of us needs to be more vigilant in our command of our careers.  

There’s no magic work genie that will suddenly appear and grant our work wishes. We need to consider what brings us joy, determine our goals, and take action to align our work with our interests and objectives. 


I believe it is possible to achieve happiness at work. Each of us can take a look and see how we can set boundaries, protect our feelings, and take charge of our careers. Otherwise, the myth that work is miserable really won’t be a myth.

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