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Meet Tom Petersen

Tom Petersen works at a company in the Midwest, where he processes e-mail, attends meetings and recalibrates management expectations. His book of essays on work and faith is currently lurking outside of publishers’ back doors, trying to meet a naïve editor. Contact him at www.HisWorkInProgress.com.

 
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His work in progress

What is the Most Frustrating Part of Your Job?

By Tom Petersen
www.HisWorkInProgress.com

CBNMoney.comI had an epiphany of sorts recently. It happened when my work computer informed me that an unknown error required the machine to shut down and obliterate the document I was frantically trying to finish before deadline. It was during that ensuing moment of gentle reflection that I was reminded that many things frustrate me at work.

On any given day, my work frustrations may number in the hundreds. They range from the vagaries of voice mail to unfair compensation programs (which I define as any system that pays someone more money than I get). Some frustrations are big, like my own failures to be a strong witness for Christ, and some are embarrassingly small and pet-peevish, like people who jump on a full elevator before the passengers have a chance to disembark. Some frustrations are foisted on me by others, like the co-worker who steals my lunch from the department refrigerator, and some are self-induced, like forgetting to fill out my timesheet and going a week without a paycheck. (Although I work for the sheer joy of it, the paycheck comes in handy for the little things, like my mortgage payment.)

Two groups of frustrations
I have organized and color-coded my workday frustrations into two categories. The first are those things that are universal to all people who work. The second group consists of things that uniquely frustrate those of us who try to maintain our faith in a sometimes alien and forbidding work environment.

The first group of frustrations are universal for a reason; everyone experiences them. It’s frustrations like bad bosses, obnoxious co-workers and unforgiving customers (or so I hear, because as my boss, co-workers and customers know, I don’t experience any of those things).

 The second group of frustrations sometimes compounds the first group. An example is trying to behave as Christ would, when you have a bad boss, obnoxious co-workers and unforgiving customers.

Listing the Top 10
But if I had to pick only my most frustrating aspects of work, what would make my Top 10? I have a list, but if you’ve read any of my previous postings, you’ve probably figured out what’s on it.

I’m more interested to hear what frustrates you at work. I want to compile a Top 10 list of what discourages, frustrates or thwarts you at work. What is there about your typical workday that just wears you down? What are the things you would most like to change about work?

Once I have your nominations, I’ll list the most frequently-mentioned frustrations in a future column. I’ll also spend the coming weeks exploring those topics, identifying what scripture has to say about them and how I try (unsuccessfully, usually) to cope with them. More importantly, I want to find a way to poke fun at them. If we can’t eliminate them, at least we can laugh at them and take away some of their power to frustrate us.
In the process, it’s a good way for us to remind ourselves that the joy of working in serving to Christ should outweigh the frustrations of work. Even when someone knocks you down as they rush onto the elevator.

What frustrates you most about your work? Send Tom an e-mail at tom@tomcpetersen.com and let us know. We’ll tabulate the responses and report the results in a future column.

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Tom Petersen works at a company in the Midwest, where he processes e-mail, attends meetings and recalibrates management expectations. His book of essays on work and faith is currently lurking outside of publishers’ back doors, trying to meet a naïve editor. Contact him at www.HisWorkInProgress.com.

 

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