These days, the large majority of workers do not like their job. They are not happy at work. It is sometimes easy to find signs in a professional environment making it more detrimental than beneficial.

However, most of the time, there are no specific sign. We only have a gut feeling of unhappiness, but it is unclear as of how and why we feel this way.

Worse, we know unconsciously that our job is not good for us, but the need of a paycheck takes over our personal integrity. Then we tend to bury sings of distress and we try to convince ourselves that we like our job. When our colleagues are asking if everything is okay, we always answer by an innocent YES! Politically correctness prevails.

If that is your case, you are an easy labor to manage. You know how to look emotionally intelligent. Although that attitude helps consolidating your position and gaining respect in corporate environments, beware of physical and mental collapse. Hiding feelings at work is a dangerous game for your health.

Even if it seems like you love your job, you should take some time to ask yourself a few questions that may reveal your job’s toxicity. In the absence of obvious insanity, a professional position environment offers only left brain hemisphere stimulation. Absence of room for self expression is a form of alienation. Automated work environment is the main cause of undetected and misunderstood psychological and emotional deterioration at work. Balance between left brain and right brain is more important than ever in a period of history when people are waking up to personal development and when the main goal in life is no longer to toe the line (education, job, household, retirement), but self actualisation.

This article suggests you a few questions to ask yourself in regards to left-right brain balance at work. These questions are designed to evaluate if your right brain side is considered by your employer’s activity for your benefit and if your position really allows you to stimulate it.


1- Are my efforts recognized ?

Yet we can survive for long in a working environment without anybody being on your back, however, it gets wearisome after a while when you provide effort for your employer and no one even notices. Boredom leave space for revulsion. Eventually you will decrease your effort and your heart will follow the dropping pace. A depressive state may eventually appear and that is something your right brain does not need at all. Energetically speaking, intensity and frequency are intimately related. They are both necessary for a constructive career. Don’t let your life fading away because your job is stultifying. Make a move if that is the case.

2- What is my minimum wage acceptable ?

Although you can’t talk about your salary at work and it is a delicate topic to address during the hiring process, you need to clarify the minimum wage acceptable for you. There is no sense in wasting your energy for a demanding job if in return you don’t get enough to cover your current expenses. Make sure you make more than what you normally spend. Be careful with promises of re-evaluation after a year. Be firm from the beginning. You are better getting what you want from the start. When working hard knowing you are not paid according to your own value scale, that is a guaranty for an outcome called frustration.

3- How far from home am I ready to commute ?

Do not neglect the distance aspect. Commuting is usually not paid by an employer and you must take it in consideration. Two hours of commuting per day is 10 hours per week. Instead of being a 40 hours a week job, it is a 50 hours of work a week job. You waste 10 hours being stuck in traffic or be tightened against other passengers in collective transportation. Is your 10 hours waste worth it? Are roads or collective transportation fluid or jammed every day? You may be OK with it for a 6 months contract, but what if you want to spend several years even decades of your career working for that employer far away… Think about it!

4- Do I connect with my direct supervisor?

There is no need to be chummy with your direct supervisor, but you need a minimal connection on the heart level to maintain a desire to serve him. Although you can survive a direct superior you don’t connect with if your job is just for a paycheck, it helps a lot when you are on the same frequency as your superior, since you don’t feel you work. You feel like you go there to have fun and learn. That is crucial when you don’t like the nature of your work. At least you compensate from the right brain side by being socially satisfied.

5- Am I protected or harmed by my director ?

These days, directors are still too often acting like dictators. They are using fear. Sales environment are especially subject to that type of management style. They are forcing you to reach targets otherwise, they let you know you will be cut. Because that old school practice is widespread and because many sales senior managers don’t know any better, they perpetuate that retrograde mentality. It’s easier to do negative conditioning rather than positive reinforcement. That practice ensures they secure their ivory tower position with a minimum of efforts from their part, shovelling all the pressure on lower levels. When you are in that type of environment odds are you won’t find any balance at all. This old school is a typical left brained philosophy that needs to be thrown away. Work should be a learning experience, not a sufferance one.

6- Do I have enough flexibility ?

Are you allowed to be late? If so, is it for just a few minutes or an hour late once in a while is okay, as long as it is not abusive? Is your employer comfortable with the fact that you miss work? Are you offered to work from home as long as duty is done? If you have no margin to be late, if everybody at work  are under the 3 strikes rule, meaning you get a warning first time, a letter with penalty the second time and you are automatically fired the third time, that is a sign of a high pressure work environment. That’s usually the case when labor is oppressed and your employer needs slave rather than humans, because their profit margin is low and rely on cheap large-scale production. Such an environment is so structured that there is probably no room to be yourself. If your employer likes you, he should accommodate your needs in order to facilitate your presence at work.

7- Are my family interests taken in account by my superiors ?

Some employers demand their employees to be at work early and to provide unpaid extra hours otherwise they get reprimanded or even fired. That kind of practice is frequent in work environment where people don’t have a family. In work circles composed mostly of single persons that never had children, parental responsibilities coming along are totally misunderstood. It is preferable you check if your superiors are themselves parents or grandparents before you invest yourself in a job. Having children is a wonderful experience but also a choice. Those who chose not to have children must be respected for their choice, but in return they must help those who chose that large contribution to society that is raising children, even if they don’t realize fully the scope of familial lifestyle.

8- Is my personal balance taken in account by my superiors ?

One perfect example of a superior caring for your personal balance, is when you have a usual stable behavior, but one day was not your day, because an accumulation of misfortunes made you lose your temper ending in an emotional outburst. Instead of giving you reprimand, your boss proposes a paid break, to go outside for a 30 minutes walk, or even to go home for the day and come back the day after. That is a sign of personal support and respect. Be thankful if you have such a supervisor, because that is far to be the norm.

9- Are my advices and ideas taken in consideration ?

I have worked for an employer who convoked us on a regular basis for anonymous survey on management practice and sometimes meeting about what’s new in the company. Of course at the end of each survey or meeting, they asked us to formulates recommendations or suggestions. I formulated once a suggestion about the security at the door and the main director told me that was a good idea, asked his assistant to write it down. I heard by the branches he did not like my questions because he had no answer for it and he felt embarrassed. Worse, I heard that the high management did not care about our ideas and suggestions. They made up this facade to divert away employees questions so they get forgotten. It was all smoke screen and mirrors. You don’t want such an hypocritical practices from your employer.

10- Do I have respect from all my colleagues ?

Relationships with colleagues are more important than we think. In some work environment where team work takes the most part, employers tend to reinforce the family spirit and organize events where all employees are gathered. However, too much proximity between certain employees is not good either. When some employees are too close to each other, they form a clique that will turn overprotective of its members and influential toward management. It is not necessary to be part of those cliques to be in good term with your colleagues. Try to go out for lunch when you are invited, but don’t forget not to mix too much your private life and your professional life. When you have bad relationship with one or more colleagues, it is important not to let it go especially when you work in team with that person. Make sure you fix your misunderstood like mature adults would do.


11- Are my efforts sufficiently rewarded energetically ?

Do I get enough money for what I worth? Our ego wants certainly more, but the real question is are you slightly or severely undervalued? You can take a cut and keep working on the same job if you like it and that’s not going to be a problem as long as you have enough revenues to cover your expenses and have enough left to live your life. If you are not a demanding person, you can be satisfied with a low income. But pay attention to the quality of the work you provide, not just the quantity. Your employer may be trying to take advantage of you…

12- If I win a million dollars (or pounds) tomorrow, do I stay or do I quit my job?

That’s a one million dollar question. If you would chose to quit right away, you may have to question yourself if you really like your current job, because it seems you don’t. Some people like their job so much that they would take the million to but would keep working the same and their life would not change a bit. Others would keep their job, but would decrease the number of hours of work. At the end, what matters is what you wish to do today do with your job regardless of unrealistic possible scenarios.

13- What is my passion ? Can I let my supervisors know about my passion or will it endanger my position?

Very few people live from their passion. That’s a blessing if it is the case. That’s why there are more and more people quitting their job trying to start up their own business in a field or a position they like. It is a serious trend. People are fed up of being slaves, especially in countries with the highest quality of life where they have the power to make a turn. Sometimes we have a dream, but we cannot talk about it because that could harm our current position at work. If your employer does not like you have personal aspirations, you must reconsider giving your service to that employer. A good boss may wish you the best and encourage you that way.

14- What is my mission in this life? Do I feel like I am becoming myself in this job?

Are you building up the career of your dream in your current job or you are waiting for a miracle to turn the tide because you are not going anywhere? Have you listen to your heart when you have made the choice of that job? Hearts never pays right away, but it also never lies. When you listen to criteria rather than your heart, you will eventually feel fooled and derailed. You need a sense of direction. Chose a profession that corresponds to your personality and goals. It’s hard to find but there should not be any compromise. You spend 30% of your life at work. Make sure you spend your time and energy in a job that makes you a better person at least. Your goal in life is more important than your job. Make sure it’s not the other way around.

15- Do I have free will? Do I have enough room to create my own way to execute work?

Are you forced to follow guidelines all the time or do you have a certain freedom to execute work the way you want it to be and the way you see it? In general, the bigger the corporation is, the more structured the work environment is. That being said, if you want more opportunities to express yourself, you must chose a start-up company where they need polyvalence rather than hyper specialisation. You can also work in a human environment, as a sales representative or in customer service where the contact with public provides a bit of quantum action where right brain hemisphere is sought.

16- Am I allowed to have fun while working or will that be interpreted negatively ?

As a right brainer, you need to express your feelings and creativity skills. Most jobs on the market are stultifying, so if you want to stimulate your right brain hemisphere, you need to create a funny atmosphere where you joke and tease your colleagues in a friendly manner. If your employer is trying to suppress any kind of form of self expression for a behavior conformity, your employer is looking for robots not human beings. If you have the chance to evolve in an environment where joking and having fun it is prioritize, do it at will. We never have too much fun at work, as long as you know when and where to trace the line and make sure your duty is done.

17- Are my suggestions and ideas executed sometimes ?

You know an employer is honest when everyone receives an email to start executing your idea right after the meeting when you proposed it. When your ideas are approved right away, that is a sign your are working for an employer who needs and encourages brainstorming for the real purpose of making a better organisation, not just to pretend it. That ground is useful if you are a predominant right brainer, because your creativity and ingenuity will be recognized, where as in an environment where everything is conformed, your right brain side will be suppressed. Make sure you benefit from such an environment if that is the case, because it’s a rare blessing in this hyper-corporative era.

18- Do I have a social life with my colleagues ?

For an extraverted predominant right brained person, social life is crucial in a job. Even when you are introverted, you need a minimum of social integration. Is your employer in favor of social life among employees? If there is a social comity there and still an office party before Christmas paid by your employer, that’s a good sign. If your work organisation is traded on stock market and partying was cut years ago due to budget reconsideration, you know what’s your employer’s priority… Ensure though you don’t rely on your employer’s social activities to build social relationship with your colleagues. You must take the bull by the horn and take a few minutes to know a little bit from anyone you are working with. You will find common ground for connection, the foundation of a social life.

By: Christian Theberge

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