Unfulfilling Work

Is your job just a job?

In the years after Russell Muirhead left college, he noticed an unexpected trend among his classmates: career restlessness. "Many were changing careers, going back to school, taking extended leaves of absence. They wriggled into and out of enviable jobs," says Muirhead, an associate professor of government at Harvard University.

This was something new, a generational change, Muirhead realized. He recalled a conversation with a friend who had told his father he was unhappy in his job.

"That's why they call it work," the father replied.

That' my life exactly. When first told my dad in 2002 that I wanted to go do my own thing, he gave me a big lecture about how people from his generation just wanted a job and I should be happy to be taken care of by a big company, yada, yada, whatever…

Obviously it didn't stick.

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