I Hated My Lawnmower

August 18th, 2008

Actually, I abhorred my lawnmower.  Abhor, according to dictionary.com, means “to regard with extreme repugnance or aversion; detest utterly; loathe; abominate.”  But after making one little change on Saturday afternoon, I came to actually like my lawnmower again.  If you abhor your job (or, if you have ever typed “hate my job” in a search engine ;) ), then read on – this might help.

A couple of years ago I took the bag off my lawnmower to throw out all the grass clippings.  Somehow, the spring that keeps the bag on “broke.”  From then on, anytime I mowed the lawn, I’d get a healthy spray of grass and dirt right at my face.  I’m sure it was a funny site (for others) to watch me pushing a lawnmower and getting a straight shot of stuff flowing right at my head.  Funny for them, extremely frustrating for me.  It was like self-imposed torture. 

I put up with it for years.  Dozens of mowings.  Grumbling, unhappy… even abhorring.

But on Saturday I finally decided to see exactly what the problem was.  I’m not very mechanical, so if something doesn’t work right I’m not inclined to stick my head in it and try and figure it out.  I don’t have the right tools, or know-how, and usually end up making it worse. 

Except this Saturday – I was in a “do it yourself” (DIY) mood.  I looked down at the spring on the left (the bad spring), and compared it with the spring on the right.  Guess what?  Nothing was broken at all!  The spring on the left just wasn’t secured like the spring on the right… !  All I had to do was get some plyers, secure it, and I should be good!  I did that, and five minutes later I was cruising along, liking my lawnmower, and perhaps on the road to *loving* my lawnmower!

I was amazed that something so small and easy to fix was such a thorn in my side for years. 

I was neglectful, and didn’t take proper ownership of my lawnmower.  I did my job begrudgingly, not stopping to figure out what could have made it better.  I took the default, not even trying to empower myself.

I wonder, how many of us do that with our careers?  Maybe we loathe, hate, abhor, despise our jobs… but we just sit around and do it, accepting by default what is given to us.  Perhaps:

  • … we hate our work hours.
  • … our coworkers are not the right team members.
  • … our projects aren’t challenging enough.
  • … our pay isn’t up to market level, or what we should be pulling in.
  • … we don’t have strong relationships with people in our office.
  • … we aren’t getting proper recognition for our amazing accomplishments.

In a job search, perhaps:

  • … the recruiter isn’t calling us back.
  • … our resume isn’t getting us into interviews (my resume was keeping me out of interviews, big time!).
  • … our interviews aren’t getting us to the next level.
  • … the people we network with aren’t giving back, just taking, taking, taking!

In our personal career management, if we just accept the default we are given, we may never know what career bliss could be. 

I challenge you to find that one tweak, whether big or little, put your CEO of Me, Inc. hat on, and take charge of your job, or job search.  It may make the difference between abhor and love, and it will be worth it!

 

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11 Responses to “I Hated My Lawnmower”

  1. sanjeev says:

    Indeed.. .I wonder what masochistic urge makes us suffer through our jobs (and job searches) in inaction-mode even though we recognize the perils of doing so!

  2. Scot Herrick says:

    I would suggest that each of us go outside our daily routine at work and ask ourselves three simple questions:

    1. What worked well this week?
    2. What could I have improved this week?
    3. Is this still the right position for me to be working?

    You get continuous improvement in your job skills and performance by doing this. And, if you answer number 3 honestly, you get the early warning signs that something isn’t right here. And you can get out your pliers and secure the right stuff.

  3. Willy says:

    I had a lawnmower moment when I was thinking about how to increase subscribers to my blog…

    I made a small change, saw huge results, and wrote about it as a guest post on CopyBlogger

    http://www.copyblogger.com/increase-blog-subscribers/

    Little tweaks can make amazing differences.

  4. Young says:

    I can identify with both the lawn mower and the job issues. For help with the lawn mower, your readers should try http://www.bestratedlawnmowers.com For the job, they should try your advice, get out of bed each day and work 8 hours on getting a job so they can go to work at a job they like. Hard to do – but absolutely necessary.

  5. [...] I wrote about taking time out to address minor annoyances in life and work (see Jason Alba’s post, “I Hated My Lawnmower”). Today, I am thinking about challenges at work or in life that start small, grow larger, and that [...]

  6. [...] to make a resolution that sticks if you’re putting up with something that’s always in the way. In I Hated My Lawnmower, author Jason Alba provides a lesson in the satisfaction that can come from fixing a simple but [...]

  7. [...] under your skin now that might be fixed with only a minor adjustment? My friend Jason Alba, wrote a great piece about this recently–he lived with a lawnmower that spit grass in his face for years until he spent [...]

  8. [...] out the first time I wrote about this in one of my favorite blog posts titled I Hated My Lawnmower.  One tiny change made a huge (significant) difference in my lawn mowing experience.  And my [...]

  9. [...] we are doing. Check out the first time I wrote about this in one of my favorite blog posts titled I Hated My Lawnmower.  One tiny change made a huge (significant) difference in my lawn mowing experience.  And my [...]

  10. [...] this one got a lot of offline comments and people still talk to me about it.  It is titled I Hated My Lawnmower, and I talk about a major problem I had with my lawnmower and the very simple [...]

  11. [...] this one got a lot of offline comments and people still talk to me about it.  It is titled I Hated My Lawnmower, and I talk about a major problem I had with my lawnmower and the very simple resolution. I still [...]

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