Fire Your Boss by Stephen M. Pollan

17 Jan

Now, this was an interesting book. At first glance you may think it is a rabid book about quitting your job and finding that dream career you have always wanted. But it is not. This book takes you in a different direction. The idea is that the term “career” is actually misleading. Career is what we think we need to find satisfaction in our life. But the book rightly points out that our satisfaction should, and does, come from our personal life. It’s all about getting your priorities in order. Why do you work? So that you can take care of yourself and/or your family. Essentially for the money. All other reasons for working, such as respect, prestige, meeting people, or any other reason you may have, can be better accomplished outside of work – in your personal life.

I expected the book to be just another “This is how I got rich and so can you” book. Instead, it helped me put things into perspective. Throughout my life I have been waffling around this principle. I was an art student because I love everything about art. I love making it, looking at it, analyzing it, talking about it, sharing it. But I correctly realized that the possibilities of “making it” were slim. So instead of choosing art as a career I decided to pursue teaching. This way I could continue to create in my own time while doing something “meaningful”. Well, I was halfway there. The problem was that teaching was not what I thought it would be. My priority as a teacher was the students. Mistake number one according to Stephen Pollan. To be successful as a teacher my priority needed to be my boss (aka the administration). Now I understand why I was always having difficulty. I suppose in hind sight, I could have worked with the administration and been more focused on their needs. But this went against every principle I had about teaching. The needs of the administration are not the needs of the students. Anyway, I got out of teaching because I realized this and knew I wouldn’t be able to play that game. I also realized that my own children were suffering because of my devotion to my work. So I quit teaching and never looked back. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made.As this book points out I finally realized that I was looking to teaching for satisfaction but instead, I found it in my own kids.

That is the point this book is trying to make. Generally speaking, most people are not satisfied with their job. Pollan’s point is they are unsatisfied because people see their job as the means of satisfaction. Reading this book has opened my eyes. All last year my husband and I have been telling each other that we just needed to find some kind of meaningful work. Now I realize that I get the most satisfaction from the things that I do in my life outside of work – spending time with my family, volunteering, making things, cooking. I was missing the point. Are you?

Buy this book at Amazon.com

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