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Managing Your Professional Growth hbr.orgTurn the Job You Have
into the Job You Wantby Amy Wrzesniewski, Justin
M. Berg, and Jane E. DuttonA30-year-old midlevel manager—
let’s call her Fatima—is struggling
at work, but you wouldn’t know it
from outward appearances. A star member of her team in the marketing division
of a large multinational foods company,
Fatima consistently hits her benchmarks
and goals. She invests long hours and has
built relationships with colleagues that
she deeply values. And her senior managers think of her as one of the company’s
high potentials.But outside the office, Fatima (who
asked not to be identified by her real
name) would admit that she feels stagnant
in her job, trapped by the tension between
day-to-day demands and what she really
wants to be doing: exploring how the company can use social media in its marketing
efforts. Twitter, her cause-marketing blog,
and mobile gadgets are her main passions.
She’d like to look for another job, but given
the slow recovery from the recession,
sticking it out seems like her best (andperhaps only) option. “I’m still working
hard,” she tells a friend. “But I’m stuck.
Every week, I feel less and less motivated.
I’m beginning to wonder why I wanted
this position in the first place.”
Sound familiar? Over the past several
years, we’ve spoken with hundreds of
people, in a variety of industries and occupations, who, like Fatima, are feeling
stuck—that dreaded word again. According to a recent survey of 5,000 U.S. households by The Conference Board, only 45%
of those polled say they are satisfied with
their jobs—down from about 60% in 1987,
the first year the survey was conducted.
If you’re in this situation, and…

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