Frustrated At Work? Lawyer and Manager Find Solution

Amy (not her real name), a client, worked for a startup for 5 years.  During that time she worked on a project that no one else was interested in taking on.  Her boss was in another state so she was left on her own to get this project going.  She told me she had relatively little direction but could call him when she was stuck.

Amy loved her relative independence.  She was able to learn what she needed to on her own in order to do whatever was needed to complete the project.  This involved developing new skills and doing stuff she had never done before.  In a larger more established company she never would have gained this experience and she loved it.  She especially liked running her own show.

Suddenly the company took notice of what she was doing and was impressed.  Everyone was in awe of what she had accomplished.  Now it was time to staff up the project and the first person to be hired was a boss for Amy.

In addition to the new boss the company started restructuring and in the restructuring Amy expected to receive a new assignment with new responsibilities and a promotion.  In fact that is what she had been promised.  Unfortunately as time went on Amy saw that the positions she wanted were already taken and anything available didn’t sound exciting to her.

Disappointed, Amy made the decision to leave the company to look for something else.  She could have stayed but she was unwilling to do work that wasn’t as thrilling as what she had been doing.  With part time consulting position lined up, Amy is now spending some time figuring out exactly what kind of work would be meaningful.  She is volunteering in places that will allow her to stretch, learn new skills and recapture her enthusiasm.  She wants fulfilling work so she can once again be happy at work.

Don (not his real name), a relative of mine, was a partner in a large New York Law Firm.  As a corporate lawyer he worked on mergers and acquisitions.  As most lawyers he worked long hours and rarely had a vacation or weekend free of conference calls, client calls and/or documents to review.  Still to the observer (me) he seemed to enjoy the work and others told me he was very good at it.

I was really surprised when he told me he was going to give up his partnership and take a new job at an Insurance company helping them to grow the mergers and acquisition insurance business.  His new job was related to his old one but it was not doing any legal work.

He told me he had been doing the same job for 20 years and it was no longer challenging to him.  He felt he was no longer learning and growing and that he needed to do something new.  Was he nervous about the new job?  Yes, of course but he was excited about it too and looking forward to a new chapter in his life.

To me both Amy and Don are very courageous.  Why?  Most people are more comfortable with staying with what they already know rather than venturing into unknown territory.  They both could have stayed where they were but chose a different course.

Starting something new after you have been very successful is particularly challenging.   You must start from the beginning once again.  Unless you have or develop a passion for the new work it can be discouraging.  Both Amy and Don believe in themselves and their abilities.  They have a growth mindset.

What do I mean by a growth mindset? With a growth mindset you believe your abilities can be developed by dedication and hard work.  The opposite of this is a fixed mindset. With a fixed mindset you believe that everyone was born with a fixed amount of intelligence.  A person is either smart or dumb and there is no way to change that.

Where do you see yourself?  Growth Mindset or Fixed?  Perhaps it is a growth mindset in some areas and a fixed in others.  To be happy at work you need to have a growth mindset with a belief in yourself and your abilities.  That will help you to be ready for change in the job you have and to recognize when it is time to move on.

Coaching opportunity

If you are stuck in a rut and want to expand your horizons a coach can help.  I help people with job searches, finding new and more fulfilling careers, working with a difficult boss, getting a promotion and more.  Whether you are a business owner, a professional, an entrepreneur, or an employee, I can help you find the spark within you that ignites your passion.  Call me at 781-598-0388 or email me at


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