I drive about 25,000 miles per year in my work as a consultant. The other day I was complaining – I believe I said, “Just shoot me” – during a particularly frustrating trip in and around San Francisco. My complaining also included, “I have no choice, so just get over it.”

It’s just not true. I DO have a choice. I even had the choice to not show up for my appointments. That wouldn’t have been good for business, but I DID have the choice. It got me thinking about how often people throw up their hands and claim “it” is out of their hands, beyond their control, not their fault.
So I asked myself, “What have you chosen? What rules have you made for yourself that now box you in, making you feel like you don’t have a choice? What kind of house have you built that you are now pissed off about living in?”
I turn the radio off when it spews the latest and greatest unemployment statistics. How does this information help me? It’s quite useful when I want to be frightened, otherwise it’s no help at all. It’s a quick trip from fright to helplessness. If I have no choice and I’m helpless, I’m sunk. So if you are suffering from the fear of unemployment, the ups and downs of self-employment, feeling stuck in your job because “there are no jobs” or know someone who is suffering from any of these conditions, here are some questions to keep your mind busy and productive:
Why do you work?
Why do you have the job you have?
What do you love about it? Hate about it?
Which happens more often?
If you hate it more than you love it, why do you stay?
What’s one thing you could do today that would help you love your job?
Is it “your” job? Does it belong to you? Or do you provide a service someone is willing to pay a person to do?
If you could say anything to your boss without negative consequence, what would it be?
Now, what’s a more constructive way to say it?
Why don’t you say it?
What might happen if you did say it, from the positive to the negative?
If you have lost your job, what’s bad about that? What’s good about that?
If that job would take you right back, would you go? Why or why not?
If it’s strictly for the money, what’s the cost to your well-being?
Is it absolutely true that there are “no jobs”?
What are you good at? Not good at?
What do you do well, that you hate? If you’re still doing it, how come?
What do you love to do, that you are also good at?
If you’re not doing this a lot, how come?
What if every employee in America stood up at the same time and said, “I’m a contributing adult and expect to be treated as such!” (All employees who do not act like adults nor make a useful contribution, please sit down.)
What if every boss in America stood up and said, “I’m paying you to do a good job and make a difference for this organization, so here’s what “good” looks like, here’s how I’ll reward and recognize you when you do it, and if you don’t want to, good luck in your next role.” (All bosses who beat people up, expecting them to be mind-reading door-mats, please sit down.)
WARNING: Exercising choice can lead to freedom, exhilaration, and withdrawal symptoms from giving up blaming others for your choices.