In my role as an executive recruiter I met with a potential candidate for a CFO position with an advertising agency. He was currently working in a boutique media shop for the past six years and began telling me how difficult it was for him to work with the CEO.

“She is a micro-manager, who can drive me crazy, always asking questions that take up too much of my time. I’ve been there too long time and it’s time to get out, now.”

Throughout my career, I have found that businesses offering creative products or services can have volatile cultures. This volatility can lead to poor decision-making, driven by thwarted expectations, fear of failure, and lack of communication.

In these cultures, people can have a difficult time balancing their work and personal lives, many falling into what I call the “Work-to-Have-a-Life Syndrome.”

In talking with this candidate, we agreed he was suffering from this syndrome, putting up with work simply as a means to make money or to steer him in the general direction of the life he wants “one day.”

Years often go by and that “one day” is still out there like the carrot before the horse, somehow out of reach. People put up with jobs that too often frustrate them and, at best, offer limited satisfaction.

Working to have a life brings to mind a quote from Will Rogers: Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” We can become numb to how work is supposed to be.

Many believe, “That’s why they call it work; it’s hard.” Or they live with the understanding that they work so they can enjoy their life when they are out of the office.

If you are not happy at work, you will become resentful and frustrated.

This was obviously happening to my candidate. As time goes by, this will cause him to be less and less productive in the office as well as at home, leading to forced change. I promise you, working from frustration will eventually run over your career success and opportunity.

There are Seven Signs of Frustration that indicate you’re suffering from the work-to-have-a-life syndrome:

  1. You are too tired when you get home, and need the weekend to recover from the previous week of work.
  2. You have no time to take care of personal matters that are important to you, and aren’t happy about that.
  3. You are physically and/or mentally worn out, unable to get significant sleep, or have developed bad eating habits.
  4. It is constantly problematic to find time for your spouse, family, and friends.
  5. You find yourself short-tempered or depressed, and it is hard to have fun.
  6. You are resigned, and believe there is little you can do to improve your work-life balance.
  7. You can strongly relate to terms such as Monday morning blues, Wednesday hump day, Thank God it’s Friday, and Sunday night dreads.

If you find yourself suffering from any of these frustrations, there is a way to bring back your motivation to go to work every day.

Whenever you are frustrated, certain values of yours are being disconnected. You perceive them as not being honored. By identifying the values that disconnect you, you can then empower other values that will inspire you and those you work with.

Empowering a value is mindfully “being” the value. At work, we often do this without thought, allowing circumstances to either connect us to empower a value, such as accomplishment, having just won the account, or disconnecting us from it, having just lost it.

A good example of empowering a value despite the circumstance would be when we become frustrated by an unexpected business event that throws us off our plan.

Unconsciously, an executive may empower the value of, sense of humor, which can lighten the load of upset and frustration. This alone however will have a limited shelf life for effectiveness.

Your ability to consciously empower values that have even greater impact to inspire you and those around you, such as confidence, organization, and trust, will make a world of difference in the way you approach you job. The more values you learn to empower the more you will enjoy your work, giving frustration the limited shelf life it deserves.

You can be sure at this point that CEO senses the lack of trust my candidate had for her and reciprocates the same frustration with him, continuing to micromanage. By authentically empowering the value of trust in the CEO my candidate would create a bridge of connection in trust.

A micromanager often lacks trust in others which is the reason they micromanage. If consciously my candidate authentically trusts her, she would begin trusting him more and stop micromanaging as much. This would save them both the added stress they don’t want and increase their productivity.

Most of us spend more of our waking hours at work every day than anywhere else. When you learn to empower your values quickly and easily your time at work will give you greater success in your career and life.

Barney Feinberg, President of The Chemistry Factor