Personal Mastery: Work
  • Are you bored, restless, frustrated, or fatigued in your current job?

  • Looking for something more significant in your life, not in just for the financial stakes?

  • You are in your current job because this is what you were trained to do but not what you enjoy doing?

  • Are you on the verge of burnout and just want to quit your job?

Values and Beliefs

People often attribute their unhappiness at work to the company or the boss. Often these frustrations are due to a misalignment of one's values and beliefs with the company’s values and beliefs.

Changes in organizations that are taking place across the world today reflect a very deep shift in their values and beliefs. If your values and beliefs are not aligned with your organization’s, this could lead to potential miscommunication, unrealistic expectations and burnout on your part.

Values and Beliefs Exercise

Make a list of your values and beliefs and those of your organization and compare them. The greater the mismatch between the two, the greater the level of stress that you may be experiencing. If you are a manager, it may be worthwhile to do this exercise with your team.

The chart below outlines the shift from traditional beliefs in the Industrial era to emerging beliefs in the Information era. How have you prepared yourself for these changes that? What skills, knowledge or attitudes do you need to align yourself with the new environment?


Traditional Beliefs

Emerging Beliefs

Valuing Loyalty and Tenure

· Personal sacrifices are often necessary “for the good of the company”

· Loyalty to a company is rewarded by tenure with the company

· Acceptable career patterns show stability of employment

Valuing Commitment and Performance

· Team contributions and team loyalty are important

· Value is placed on making contributions and for being adaptable to new demands

· Acceptable career patterns show commitment to personal ideals; loyalty to these ideals results in the development of confidence


· Is equated with promotions; climbing the corporate ladder equals success


· Growth is associated with personal development and meaningfulness, and typically involves broadening one’s knowledge and skill base

· Engaging in personally meaningful activities equals success

Employee Development

· Organizations focus on employee development; individuals focus on career paths within an organization and seek security by the acquiring skills the organization deems important; the organization is responsible for employees’ career development

Personal Development

· Organizations focus on personal development; a work place that encourages on-going learning and development of employees will be the most successful; responsibility for career development rests with the individual


· The longer the tenure, the better; personal security associates with ‘permanent’ employment; one should stay with the same employer for a long time


· Security is now linked to personal competence and adaptability; one is unlikely to stay in the same setting for very long


Organizational Model

· Organization is compared to a nuclear family; “Mom & Dad” (the senior management) will take care of us

Organizational Model

· Organization is compared to an extended family; partnerships and networks are important, and services shared

Organizational Structure

· Structure is based on hierarchy of positions, which leads to the use of defined jobs


Organizational Structure

· Structure is based on work that needs to be done, which leads to the use of contracts, alliances, and networks

Source: Day, B.: Radical Change in the World of Work: The Backgrounder, Alberta Advanced Education and Career Development, Edmonton, 1995.