Do you need a decision coach?
While you’re trying to decide, let me introduce you to Nell Wulfhart, the author of “Decide This for Me,” a helpful feature on The Muse website.
Wulfhart sees her job as helping people to “quit procrastinating, make important decisions, and move on with their lives.”
Alas, I didn’t utilize the decision coach’s decision-making process to solve a major career dilemma I recently faced. The situation was a working lunch with my manager. The scene was a gourmet bistro near the office. There I was, cruising confidently along the steam table at the Smorgy Bob’s, showing my financial acuity by passing up vegetables and loading up on Sea Legs, when I was suddenly faced with a critical decision.
Do I pick the tried-and-true Meatloaf Fantasia, and prove to my boss that I couldn’t think out of the box, or do I demonstrate my risk-taking nature by going with an upstart international newcomer, Tuna Parmesan Parisian? Going with my gut, I decided on the tuna. As my gut quickly found out, this was a very bad decision, although I was able to move on—in this case, in an ambulance.
“Should I Tell My Boss I Am Not Happy At Work?” is a recent decision du jour for the decision coach.
Utilizing her mastery of the Socratic method, Wulfhart takes you through eight yes and no answers, each response containing the information that could make it the right decision. It’s an excellent technique that should improve your decision-making process.
Caution: This technique could be very disorienting, considering you’ve never made a right decision in your life.
Also, I am not sure that the decision coach is truly savvy about what it takes to succeed in today’s workplace. For example, Wulfhart thinks that admitting you’re not a happy camper could go horribly wrong if the boss thinks “you’re looking for another job and starts treating you as such.”
This is not the way work works. In fact, making your boss think you could leave is the best reason you’ll ever have to stay.
After all, the time and effort the company has spent crushing your spirit would be wasted if you leave. Plus, your boss will know that creating another compliant zombie employee is way more work than just giving you the measly emollients required to keep you chained to your desk.
“More vacation? How about every other Feb. 29 off?”
Ignoring these basic truths, Wulfhart responds with a series of what ifs. So, should you confess your unhappiness? The decision is:
“Yes if: You Can Identify the Problem (and the Solution).”
Can you present your boss “with a realistic plan how you (and your boss) can make the changes that will make you happier at work?” If so, the decision is a yes.
Good decision, but if the realistic change you have in mind involves the boss experiencing a rush of self-realization, immediately resigning in shame and turning over their position—and their paycheck—to you, there may be another decision you should make first—should I talk candidly to the boss or should I check myself in at the local laughing academy?
Conversely, the decision is a “No if: Your Boss Actually Can’t Help You at All.”
Your unhappiness could be the result of actions made by your boss’s boss, or your boss’s boss’s boss. Maybe your entire industry is doomed. That’s why I left my job at Spats-R-Us, giving up the dream of disintermediating the entire spat-buying process.
(Spare me your pity. I have a garage full of spats, insuring a major ka-ching moment for yours truly when wearing spats comes roaring back.)
It’s a “Yes if: You’ve Got a Safety Net.”
Sure, telling your boss you hate your job has its risks, but fortunately, you have $30 million in Bitcoins in a storage locker in Switzerland, so if you lose your job, you won’t starve.
To which I would add, it’s a “No if: Your $30 Million in Bitcoins is Currently Worth Two Bits.” You may have to stay on the job for another couple of days until you’re back in the black.
In the final analysis, the decision coach leaves the decision to you.
“Get a back-up plan in place,” she concludes, “study your manager, and come up with realistic solutions to your problems before mentioning anything.”
That’s probably a good plan, but whatever you do, don’t decide to go with the tuna.
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 now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at email@example.com.