The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers... and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $24.95
  • Save: $9.10 (36%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Like New | Details
Sold by TheEscapePlace
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: Eligible for FREE Super Saving Shipping! Fast Amazon shipping plus a hassle free return policy mean your satisfaction is guaranteed!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (And Their Employees) Hardcover – August 17, 2007


See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$15.85
$4.25 $1.64


Frequently Bought Together

The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (And Their Employees) + The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable + The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable
Price for all three: $47.34

Buy the selected items together

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (August 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787995312
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787995317
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Patrick Lencioni, renowned business consultant and bestselling author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, is on a critical mission: create widespread job satisfaction in a world full of workplace misery. His latest book, The Three Signs of a Miserable Job: A Fable for Managers (And Their Employees), tells the inspiring tale a high-flying, but deeply dissatisfied Chief Executive Officer who ditches the power and perks for career bliss as the manager of a pizzeria! In this unusual and inspiring story, Lencioni convincingly demonstrates how career happiness (or misery) is the direct result of the manager--employee relationship. Patrick Lencioni took the time to tell us about his life-long "obsession" with job misery, shatter some myths about workplace satisfaction and offer some real advice on how to turn that daily grind into daily fulfillment. --Lauren Nemroff


Some Questions for Patrick Lencioni

Q: Why did you decide to write this book?

A: As a kid, I watched my dad trudge off to work each day and became somewhat obsessed with the notion of job misery. Somewhere along the line, I came to the frightening realization that people spend so much time at work yet so many of them were unfulfilled and frustrated in their jobs. As I got older, I came to another realization--that job misery was having a devastating impact on individuals, and on society at large. It seemed to me that understanding the cause of the problem, and finding a solution for it, was a worthy focus for my career.

Q: What exactly is a miserable job?

A:A miserable job is not the same as a bad one. A bad job lies in the eye of the beholder. One person’s dream job might be another person’s nightmare. But a miserable job is universal. It is one that makes a person cynical and frustrated and demoralized when they go home at night. It drains them of their energy, their enthusiasm and their self-esteem. Miserable jobs can be found in every industry and at every level. Professional athletes, CEOs and actors can be--and often are-- as miserable as ditch diggers, janitors and fast food workers.

Q: How prevalent is job misery?

A: Attend any kind of social gathering, anywhere in the country, and talk about work. The stories and anecdotal evidence confirming job misery are overwhelming. Misery spans all income levels, ages and geography. A recent Gallup poll found that 77% of people hate their jobs. Gallup also contends that this ailing workforce is costing employers more than $350 billion dollars in lost productivity.

Q: What is the root cause of job misery?

A: The primary source of job misery and the potential cure for that misery resides in the hands of one individual--the direct manager. There are countless studies confirming this statement, including both Gallup and The Blanchard Companies. Both organizations have found that an employee’s relationship with their direct manager is the most important determinant to employee satisfaction (over pay, benefits, perks, work-life balance etc).

Even employees who are well paid, do interesting work and have great autonomy, cannot feel fulfilled in a job if their managers are not providing them with what they need on a daily or weekly basis.

Q: What are the three signs?

The first is anonymity, which is the feeling that employees get when they realize that their manager has little interest in them a human being and that they know little about their lives, their aspirations and their interests.

The second sign is irrelevance, which takes root when employees cannot see how their job makes a difference in the lives of others. Every employee needs to know that the work they do impacts someone’s life--a customer, a co-worker, even a supervisor--in one way or another.

The third sign is something I call "immeasurement," which is the inability of employees to assess for themselves their contribution or success. Employees who have no means of measuring how well they are doing on a given day or in a given week, must rely on the subjective opinions of others, usually their managers’, to gauge their progress or contribution.

Q: Why don’t managers do these things?

A: As simple as the three signs are, the fact remains that few managers take a genuine interest in their people, remind them of the impact that their work has on others, and help them establish creative ways to measure and assess their performance.

There are a number of reasons. First, many managers think they are too busy. Of course, the real problem is that most of those managers see themselves primarily as individual contributors who happen to have direct reports. They fail to realize that the most important part of their jobs is providing their people with what they need to be productive and fulfilled (a.k.a. not miserable) in their jobs.

The second reason that managers don’t provide their employees with the three things they need is that they simply forget what is was like when they were a little lower on the food chain. They somehow forget how important it was to them when a supervisor took an interest in them, talked to them about why their work really mattered and gave them a means for evaluating their progress.

Finally, many managers don’t do this because they are embarrassed or afraid to try. They fear that their employees will see them as being disingenuous or manipulative, or that by taking an interest in their personal lives they will be stepping into inappropriate territory. It’s almost as though they fail to understand the difference between the interview process (no personal questions allowed!) and the actual work experience (treat people like a full human being).

Q: What can a miserable employee do to improve his or her situation?

A: The first thing they can do is assess whether their manager is interested in and capable of addressing the three things that are required. And they have to realize that most managers really do want to improve, in spite of the fact that they may seem disinterested.

The second thing miserable employees need to do is help their managers understand what it is they need. If they have a strong relationship with their manager, they can come right out and say it ("You know, it would mean a lot to me if you knew more about who I am and what makes me tick." or, "Can you sit down and help me understand why this work I’m doing makes a difference to someone?").

Finally, employees would do well for themselves if they turned the tables and started doing for their managers what they want for themselves. For instance, employees who take a greater interest in the life of their managers are bound to infect them with the same kind of human interest. Similarly, employees who take the time to tell their managers (in a non suck-up kind of way) about the impact they have on their job satisfaction, will likely inspire them to respond in kind.

However, if an employee comes to the conclusion that his or her manager is indeed completely disinterested in helping them find fulfillment in their work, it may well be time to start looking for a new job.

Q: Why do so many professional athletes and entertainers seem miserable in their jobs?

A: In spite of the money they make and the attention they receive from fans and the media, many athletes and entertainers experience one or all of the three signs of a miserable job.

Most professional athletes feel anonymous in their jobs because their coaches and managers dedicate little, if any, time or energy getting to know them personally. I’ve had coaches tell me "Hey, these guys are professionals and this is a business. They don’t need anything special from me." Keep in mind that they are referring to young men in their early twenties who are living on their own for the first time and feel surprisingly alone--even with all the fan attention.

Entertainers are in similar situations, but for them, it is often relevance that suffers. Many actors cannot reconcile their celebrity and wealth with the fact that they see their work as being somewhat unimportant, in terms of impacting the lives of others. Perhaps that’s why so many of them get involved in charitable causes or politics--it gives them a sense of purpose.



From Publishers Weekly

Lencioni, a consultant, speaker and bestselling author (The Five Dysfunctions of a Team), pinpoints the reasons behind and ways around what many consider a constant of the human condition: job dissatisfaction. According to Lencioni, job-fueled misery can ultimately seep into all aspects of life, leading to drug and alcohol abuse, violence and other problems, making this examination of job misery dynamics a worthy pursuit. Through the "simple" tale of a retired CEO-turned-pizzeria manager, Lencioni reveals the three corners of the employee unhappiness pyramid-immeasurability, anonymity and irrelevance-and how they contribute to dissatisfaction in all jobs and at all levels (including famously unfulfilled celebrities and athletes). The main culprit is the distancing of people from each other (anonymity), which means less exposure to the impact their work has (immeasurability), and thus a diminished sense of their own utility (irrelevance). While his major points could have been communicated more efficiently in a straightforward self-help fashion, his fictional case study proves an involving vessel for his model and strategies (applicable to managers and lower-level staff alike), and an appendix-like final chapter provides a helpfully stripped-down version.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Patrick Lencioni is founder and president of The Table Group, a firm dedicated to helping leaders improve their organizations' health since 1997. His principles have been embraced by leaders around the world and adopted by organizations of virtually every kind including multinational corporations, entrepreneurial ventures, professional sports teams, the military, nonprofits, schools, and churches.

Lencioni is the author of ten business books with over three million copies sold worldwide. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Bloomberg Businessweek, and USA Today.

Prior to founding The Table Group, Lencioni served on the executive team at Sybase, Inc. He started his career at Bain & Company and later worked at Oracle Corporation.

Lencioni lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and their four sons.

To learn more about Patrick and The Table Group, please visit www.tablegroup.com.


Related Media


Customer Reviews

I found the book to be a fast, easy and interesting read.
J. Noel
That was able to keep me engaged in the reading of the book and learn ways to apply the principles in my own work life.
fashionista student
I highly recommend this book to all of my folks and I would recommend it to anyone that is managing people.
Vincent P. Bedus

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By John W. Pearson VINE VOICE on August 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Memo to Everyone I've Worked With Over the Last 40 Years: I'm sorry! Honest! Had Patrick Lencioni written this book 40 years ago, when I assumed my first summer management position, I would have been a better leader and more nurturing manager.

His book will get your management juices going again. It's a five-star, must-read, very, very important book. (I've just moved it onto my Top 10 books of all time list--it's that good.)

In story fashion, Lencioni helps us discover why so many CEOs, senior leaders, managers and employees are miserable at work--and what to do about it. His diagnosis is simple, yet profound. The story gives practical solutions and the book concludes with a this-makes-sense discussion of next steps and case studies. Gratefully, he's also posted "miserable" resources on his website, including the anti-misery worksheet for managers.
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
According to research conducted by The Gallup organization, only 25% of employees are engaged in their jobs, 55% of them are just going through the motions, and 20% of them are working against their employers' interests. What's going on? In the Introduction to his latest book, Patrick Lencioni acknowledges what he characterizes as "Sunday Blues [:] those awful feelings of dread and depression that many people get toward the end of their weekend as they contemplate going back to work the next day...What was particularly troubling for me then [when he had such feelings] was not just that I dreaded going to work, but that I felt like I should have enjoyed what I was doing...That's when I decided that the Sunday Blues just didn't make any sense" and he resolved to "figure out what [personal fulfillment in work] was so I could help put an end to the senseless tragedy of job misery, both for myself and for others."

In this book, Lencioni shares what he then learned during his journey of discovery.

As is his custom, he uses the business fable genre to introduce and develop his insights. His narrative has a cast of characters, a plot, crisp dialog, various crises and conflicts, and eventually a plausible climax. Here's the situation as the narrative begins. Brian Bailey is the CEO of JMJ Fitness Machines. After fifteen years under his leadership, JMJ has become the number three, at times two "player" in its industry. "With no debt, a well-respected brand, and plenty of cash in the bank, there was no reason to suspect that the privately held company was in danger. And then one day it happened"....
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M. Loarie TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Work has always held a special fascination for author Pat Lencioni. As a child, he could not believe adults, like his dad, worked eight hours a day, or more, with most not liking their jobs. "Why would people spend so much time away from family and friends and not be happy?" He feared he would meet the same fate... He did, but he refused to settle for misery and changed careers.

Fortunately, for Lencioni and for us, he has found his calling and is fulfilling his purpose by sharing his observations about what it takes to make the work experience something to look forward to, something meaningful.

In his sixth book, "The Three Signs of a Miserable Job," Lencioni identifies the three causes of job misery - irrelevance, immeasurement, and anonymity - and provides an antidote for each. "Three signs" utilizes a fable to drive home each of the "three signs" and the "cure."

Protagonist Brian Bailey loves being a manager, but he has just retired and is bored. After several visits to a local restaurant where he gets poor service and the employees appear to be disinterested in their jobs, Bailey buys into it. He then sets about implementing a "get well" program to turn around the restaurant by changing the employee's attitude toward their jobs.

Lencioni repeats the fundamentals of his "ending misery" model with a second application to a larger company when Bailey returns as CEO of a company in the industry he left.

The principles Lencioni hammers-on will resonate with all who work. He points out that job misery is widespread (a recent PEW study estimates 75%).
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Matthew W. Certo on September 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book while on the run. I was intrigued by the title and, more importantly, have been impressed by Lencioni over the years. I've read some of his other books and heard him speak at a conference. Plus, I am always on the lookout for management wisdom because I think we can all use more!

I read the Wall Street Journal review of his book and had to say that I thought it was an unfair review. Although I don't know the reviewer, I do wonder whether the reviewer has ever managed people or been in a situation similar to that of Brian (the main character in the story).

Traditional management theory is hard to really apply on a day-to-day basis; I feel that much of it is written for huge companies--not small ones. I thought that this book was fairly easy to apply for the small business owner because it is based on a small pizza place. The author does a very nice job of developing the characters...one can almost hear the voices of the employees as they all seem to personify others that we've all worked with: the eager beaver, the dissenter, the high-maintenance person, etc. This made the book practical for me as I envisioned the character's problems and attempted solutions.

I also felt that the author's voice was one of reality and practicality--not ivory tower idealism. He does a good job of saying things like (and I'm paraphrasing) "I know this sounds soft" or "this may sound hokey" to confirm those very thoughts.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews