Stuck in the Muck? Yuck!

By Robert Goldman

October 10, 2019 5 min read

Believe it or not, there are people who love their jobs. Not only do they enjoy every hour of every day they are privileged to come to work, but they also see a broad, bright future ahead on a career superhighway to power, pay and perks.

They're delusional, of course, but they do exist.

For normal people, like thee and me, that career superhighway is a muddy patch of rural road full of potholes, insuring a rocky ride to a dead end.

Definitely not a fun drive.

While my highway analogy is wonderfully poetic, and totally representational of the highfalutin prose you always get in this column, it is not a fantasy. If you're not zooming down that career superhighway, chances are you're stuck in a ditch. The wheels are spinning, and you ain't going nowhere.

Fortunately for you, and for my analogy, we have Robert Hellmann to help push.

Hellman is the author of "Feeling Stuck In Your Career? 10 Questions to Help You Move Forward," a recent post on Forbes' website. The 10 questions in question represent a tool the career coach uses to "gain the needed insight" for his clients.

It's a good quiz, but there is one question that is missing: Should you venture out onto the superhighway, or is it better to stay stuck?

Before you decide, you need a "thoughtful self-assessment," which is exactly what the 10 questions provide.

A smattering follows. I invite you to smatter along.

No. 1: "When thinking about accomplishments that you enjoyed achieving the most, what patterns do you see?"

Considering there are so few of them, looking at your accomplishments won't take much time. Still, I do see a pattern: They always involve beer and pizza.

You are also asked to come up with "the greatest sense of enjoyment/satisfaction while you were achieving them." That's easy: being sufficiently sneaky to get someone else to pay for the beer and the pizza.

You decide. If getting unstuck requires a career where sneakiness is rewarded, you'll have to become a banker or a politician. I'm sure you'll agree that it's better by far to stay stuck in the muck, preferably with a free pepperoni pizza in the trunk.

No. 2: "Do certain work situations consistently cause feelings of anxiety, resentment, frustration or anger?"

That's an easy one. Those certain work situations consistently require you to actually do work. Your path to getting unstuck is clear now. All you have to do is find a job that has no deliverables, no challenges and no tiresome demands to be productive.

Be honest, now. Isn't this exactly the job you have now?

No. 3: "When (if ever) were you happy in your career?"

Easy-peasy. The first time you were happy in your career was in fifth grade. You were the king of elementary school and looking forward to crushing junior high. It didn't work out. Fractions? Equations? Geometry? Who knew?

This explains why you're stuck with zero confidence and no hope for the future.

For you to get unstuck will take years of therapy — or a return to sixth grade. Considering your age and experience, this time you will crush it — probably. On second thought, better stay stuck. Your current job is a whole lot easier than sixth grade.

No. 4: "Does your work violate some key work-related value?"

Most def! Your work violates all kinds of values, especially the value of sleeping late on workday mornings. Your key to getting unstuck is finding a job in the mattress industry.

You'll be competing with MIT Ph.D.s, many of whom majored in advanced sleep technology. On the positive side, your first job interview will certainly put any potential employer to sleep.

Climbing out of the muck is always a risk, but it's worth it for a job that lets you work in your jam-jams.

No. 5: "What regrets might you have in 20 years if you do/don't make a move?"

"Jeff Bezos did this exercise," Hellmann says, and decided he wanted to quit his "lucrative investment banking job to take a chance on starting his own company."

Clearly, getting unstuck was a tremendous mistake because Bezos now has more money than he could ever spend. Trust me, if you have to fill all 60 rooms of your mansion with greenbacks, there's definitely going to be a lot of dusting to be done.

This is why you should stay stuck in your muck and never make any changes, ever. It could only get worse.

No question about it.

Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at [email protected] To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at

Photo credit: TeroVesalainen at Pixabay

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