The best recipe when you hate your job

The other day someone wrote to me and asked: I’ve got multiple pages of writing on one very important and stressful topic.

Now what?

Great question.

Time to narrow things down a little. Time to really consider the beliefs rising within that feel so painful.

If you’re not sure, here’s what I like to do to get started:

First, I’ll make a list of interactions or moments with other people, incidents that happened, memories I have in my mind, that are all related to this topic of concern.

For example. Let’s say I’m worried I’m not doing a great job. (I had this thought the second day on staff at the School for The Work because I forgot to do something in my job description).

But let’s say it’s an overall stressful topic for you, when you think about work, employment, job, boss, your career. You’ve journaled on it. You’ve written about what you’d rather be doing. You’ve made a plan for yourself about how to change. You’re definitely troubled about the whole thing.

Now, make a list, as you look over your own journaling, of moments in time that were stressful when it comes to this topic. If you had a camera on these moments, and filmed the whole thing and saved them in your internal mental files, what memories would you say “prove” that this topic (in this case work) is stressful?

  • the moment at a staff meeting when my boss asked for a report and I didn’t have it, and she looked very disapproving
  • the moment one of my co-workers huffed with anger and said she had to do two jobs–hers, and mine!
  • the moment I received the assignment to create a database for new patients and update it weekly
  • the moment I’m in rush hour traffic taking 80 minutes to drive home, when it could take only 20 when not rush hour
  • the moment I had so little money left because of unemployment (before I got my job), I almost lost my house–I was sitting on my couch looking at my bank statement
Now I have some snapshots of moments I really dislike about working, and not working. My collection of what bothers me about the whole thing.


I start with one. There’s my scene from the troubling movie of my life. I see it vividly.


I then write a Judge Your Neighbor worksheet on that moment in time. Only that one. I start there. It narrows things down, puts it into a container the mind can handle.


Write all your troubles on the JYN. And then, of course (narrowing it down further to a small simple thought) we question what we’ve written on the JYN.


“She’s disappointed in me”. 
This thought is so different from “I hate my job”.


It drills into our overall blanket concepts and digs into why, how, where, studying the details of this experience of life we think of as “bad” or “wrong” or something we’d prefer not to encounter.


And wow.


When these specific concepts are taken to inquiry….


….how fascinating to discover they may not be as bad as we think.


Or just maybe, they may have had something to offer of deep importance.


Who would I be without my story of difficulty with working, employment, money-earning, bosses?


When I did this work in the past, I noticed I was freer, just one little bit at a time. I was more relaxed, I opened up to my boss, I had a difficult discussion with the co-worker I thought was always watching me like a hawk, I started enjoying the commute with my CDs to listen to on the way home, I noticed the gorgeous fountain in front of one of the buildings of the organization I worked for.


So much that was good about that job.


And more important, my attitude adjusted automatically, without me having to try, without me having to plan on how I would be quitting and what I could do to solve the problem.


Just a wee bit at a time–one thought at a time–taken to inquiry.


“What you’re thinking about them [or it] is the recipe for what you want.” ~ Byron Katie

Much love,


If you don’t get a job soon….are you sure about the worst that could happen?

One of the more frightening times in my life was when I had no money and had to find a job ASAP.

It felt like a major emergency.

I tried to sell my house (no takers, couldn’t sell it for even the amount I owed on it), I had been on 20 job interviews, I had borrowed $6000 from a family member, my credit card was at the highest level as I had used it for groceries, and I was late on a mortgage payment.

Things looked very bleak when it came to money and work.

When I asked people to share with me their top stressful thoughts a few weeks ago, I had quite a few sharing “I need to get a job”.

The urgency and fear around getting a job can escalate with our scary images of what will happen if I do NOT get a job. I’ll lose my house, my car, my possessions, my sanity. I’ll never recover from these losses. Other people might even suffer (if you have dependents).

As I did The Work at that time 8 years ago on my dreadful feelings of panic about not getting work, a dear friend and facilitator asked me a powerful question:

What’s the worst that could happen?

Not insanely-wild-imagination-worse-case-scenario…but very likely what could happen that’s really, really bad.

So for example, even if my mind might imagine I’d be dying of starvation on the street, owning nothing, my kids given away to relatives to be raised….I really deeply knew this simply would not ever happen. I know too many people who I love and adore and who also love me. I’d have places to stay most likely. I really couldn’t see myself dying of not having work or money. Not really.

But I could see a worst case scenario that I was indeed quite terrified could happen: I’d have to go live in my mother’s basement with my two kids.

I pictured having to wake up at 5 am to drive them miles if I wanted to keep them in the same schools with the friends they knew. I felt horrible imagining their lives being further disrupted (there was already a divorce, just finalized).

I pictured feeling burdened by living with my mom, that she and I would drive each other crazy. We’d fight over refrigerator space, or chores (like when I was 13). I was sure I’d be such a loser, I’d hate myself and had an image of never recovering, never really coming back from the divorce or the failure–even though I was only 44 and could live many more years possibly.

I had thoughts like “my life is almost over” and “I should have gone to medical school” and how my life so far had been a huge mistake, I should have seen it coming, blah blah blah.

That mind will kick into high gear with incredibly alarming voices, words, shouts, pictures, and the resulting feelings of panic.

I felt abandoned.

My primary intense thoughts: I need money, I need a job. This is horrible.

Let’s inquire.

Is it true?

YES! Can’t you see my bills?! (I thought at the time)?! How can you even ASK this question—of COURSE I need more money and I need a job in order to get it!


Can you absolutely know it’s true you need more money, and a job?

Yes. I felt so sure. I maybe had a tiny sliver of awareness that I would still be breathing without money or a job. I could see that I still had a car in my driveway, some food in my cupboards, and a beautiful rug on the floor.

Honestly, I could see in that very moment that it was not absolutely, 100% required I get a job immediately, or I would die on the spot. I was scaring myself with pictures of a slow decline and death, failing miserably and never recovering. But I had no idea what life would really look like, and I could see I was OK in that moment.

So no, I couldn’t absolutely know I needed a job and money NOW.

How did I react when I believed I needed money and a job NOW!?

My hands were bunched in two tight fists. My whole body was tense. I couldn’t sleep. I had to pace. I was sick to my stomach and not eating so well. I was frantic when I looked at job boards, and combed through online HR departments. I’d change and re-change my resume. I’d ask myself “what am I missing?” and wonder where else I could try to find work. I’d apply to everything that even slightly fit my qualifications.

My attitude, at that time, towards work was that it was a sucky thing you had to do for money. Money was required, and this world was set up poorly because of it. I didn’t even really WANT to work. I had never had a fun job.

My beliefs were that jobs were dull, you had to do what the boss says, and you get rewarded for your compliance with money and health care. SLAVE for money.

Heh heh.

If I was on a dating site, thinking a relationship was a required pain-in-the-ass but you need it to survive life, like the way I believed I was forced to work full time to survive in life….I’d be the worst partner ever. Desperate.

So who would I be without this terrible, disheartening, frightening story that I needed more money and definitely must have a job?

Kind of weird to wonder about NOT having this thought, when it appears you have a stack of bills, and debt, and you might even lose your house, right?

But let’s do it anyway.

It’s just an exercise in meditating on this very stressful belief about having to have a job, like I’m forced into something–I’m very small and tiny and needy, and life is big and dangerous and has the security–but only if you work and are willing to do things you don’t even care about doing.

Who would I be without that terrible attitude? Without the belief I’ve been abandoned? Without the belief that life is out to break me down into a pulp? That I’m on my way to losing it all?


Without that story?


I could see in that moment of no work, and the resentment chip on my shoulder (more like the size of a small boulder)….

….my mind was surrounded by a suffocating dark cloud when it came to thinking about work, jobs, house payments, bosses, office buildings.

So could I really go there, considering what it would be like without that story?

What if I just got here from another planet, and had no reference for jobs, working, interviews, resumes, applications, boredom at work, having to do what bosses tell you?

What if I had no history to compare to? What if I was in this position and it was a game, like landing here for the very first time, putting on a human suit, and seeing what I might conjure up when it comes to this whole money-job thing?

Oh…that’s what it would be like, without this dreadful thought I needed a job in order to survive!

I could take a deep breath, clap my hands together, and say “I’m in!”

I might think about working anywhere, without judgment. Maybe I’d ask way more people about work, and different people than I’d been asking. I could make an announcement in places I went every day, like the dance I attended each week and was trading work for my entrance fee. Or at the grocery store check out.

Maybe I’d send an email to everyone in my address book, and basically if it was a game where I had to move quickly, I might hit the streets and start asking everyone I ran into if they knew anyone who needed help. Perhaps I’d talk to the people at the bus stop, all of whom were headed at rush hour to jobs in downtown.

More and more ideas might pour into my mind, if my attitude was open, unafraid. Even if I didn’t get a job, I would know I went down doing my best….and that alone would feel good. It would make a great story.

She lived in the basement of her mother’s house, but only after going to 100 job interviews, handing out her resume to people walking the streets of downtown, asking for everyone’s attention at the local coffee shop and with a loud voice and a smile, saying I’m looking for work. 

Turns out….I never needed to all of those wild bold things, but without the belief I need a job and money like an emergency, terrified… mind got very creative. How fun to begin to brainstorm, just like all the engineers on the ground in Houston who were putting their minds together to bring Apollo 13 back to earth.

That’s who I was without my belief I need a job in order to survive. Excited. Confident. Ready to die trying. Willing.

Turning the thought around: I do NOT need a job or more money. A job needs me! (Turned out to be true). I already have a job, which is to question my fear in that situation, and live more joyfully. I choose to find a job and have fun acquiring money, not feel forced and like a victim about it.

If it had been my last day on earth….would I have wanted to be freaking out because I didn’t have a job?


I also imagined the beauty of the turnaround that I might go live with my mother. How could that be fantastic, like the best thing EVER?

I’d get to know my mom way more, in my 40s. She’d get to know these two grandchildren far better, my kids. We’d be getting to live in a 3-generation household. I’d downsize even more, and I love having few possessions and traveling light. I’d get to know a new neighborhood (where my mom lived) for daily walks. I’d do The Work on my mom and she’d do The Work on me, it could be brilliant for discovering and un-doing old beliefs about us both. I wouldn’t have a mortgage! I might find a job in that new neighborhood, maybe something I liked because I’d have more time to be selective.

If I don’t get a job soon, the WORST that could happen is having to move into my mom’s basement….turned around….the BEST that could happen is having to move into my mom’s basement!

Wow, that was starting to sound true!

When I got a job offer, only about a week later, I was practically disappointed I didn’t get to move in with my mom and take on that amazing adventure of being with her in a new and different way.

Can you find benefits for your worst fears coming true?

Can you feel the relief at not having the thought you Must Have a job yesterday? Can you find examples that you actually have a job right now….called questioning your suffering about work and money?

Who would you be without your story?

“My job is to delete myself. If there were a bumper sticker representing my life, it would say CTRL-ALT-DELETE: THEWORK.COM. That’s where I invite everyone to come join me. Join me and delete your own beautiful self. That’s the only place where we CAN meet. I call it love.” ~ Byron Katie in 1000 Names For Joy

Much love,


Who is making you do it?

We have ways to make you do that task. (Believe your thoughts)!

As someone who has a private practice, it’s weird how often I notice thoughts about Employment vs My Own Business.

The other day, one of my clients who has been working with me for a very long time, wanted to dig deeper into her thoughts about work and jobs and career.

She was at a crossroads, had been sitting there for awhile, and through the work we had done together she was wondering if she should go left, or right.

She needed to take action.

(She needed some money–although we had done quite a bit of work on that over time and she was fairly relaxed about money overall, and had a good chunk of it in the bank).

But “doing” something was calling to her.

I had her make a list about her beliefs about getting a new job, or starting her own business (she saw the choice between the two as a key dilemma, or decision).

I’ve done this work myself.

I decided to do it again, after my day was over and this client kept popping in my head.

Here are the stressful concepts I myself found when it comes to the two ways to make a living and earn money, which have been my primary options in life (so far):

Being Employed (Job): Having Your Own Business:
Commuting Volatile Income
Co-workers Taxes
Required meetings Hustling to fill retreats
Doing tedious or pointless tasks Difficult (or irritating) clients
Must be onsite/at work DIY (Do It Yourself or Hire It)
Five days a week Working all hours, any time
Boring People wanting it for free

As I sat down to make comparisons, I could see how fast the mind would like to see what’s good about that other position over there, and bad about this one.

Or….what’s good about this position here,  and bad about that one over there. (I love how this comparison drops in quickly when hearing about another person’s difficult plight, or remember BAD scenarios from the past).

Every single item on each list is worthy of questioning and clearing the mind, with The Work.

But the other day, when I wrote out this list, I had an almost-aggressive feeling about the pointless, tedious tasks I used to have to perform at my previous job, as I remembered it.

Data collecting, and putting the data into an excel spreadsheet.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I loved having the data–it was quite fascinating, and I loved making the charts and looking at comparisons and sort of the big picture, and sharing them with the leaders involved who cared about these results….

….but I HATED that I had to do the data entry.



Can’t someone else do this? It’s so stupid. And boring. A waste of my time.

I hate when you have a job, you’re an employee, and you have to do stuff you hate!

This is so close to the work my client did….let’s question it!

You may have had the same thought as well, about anything in life you dreaded doing, thought it was boring, thought it was repetitive, dull, annoying, even overwhelming…..

….but you HAD TO DO IT.

Is that true?

Yes. It’s in the job description. I could get fired if I don’t…..

Are you sure?

No. I’ve never told anyone how much I hate doing it. Not one single person at this company. Including my boss.

How do you react when you think “I HAVE to do this task!”

I put it off. I wait until the last minute possible. I try to think of rewards, or motivation, or what I’ll do when I’m done. I do it, and bear it rather than enjoy one ounce of it. I feel tense, and tired. I look at my co-workers and see what they’re doing, and notice it’s better (or worse).

I think about quitting. Inside my head, I actually say “when I quit, I will feel sooooooo good….” and dream of the day, in the future.

But who would I be right now, without the belief “I HAVE to do this task”?

What if you couldn’t think about how you’re forced to do it, or it’s required, or it’s necessary, or fundamental to success, or that you better do it, or else (big disastrous picture)?

Without this thought of being so against this task, what my client noticed was she might ask for help, ask others if they’d be willing to do it, work with a partner, find support, or even ask other people what they suggest about how to do this task stress-free!

As my client did The Work, I realized *ping* how I never, ever asked my boss if there were any alternatives to me doing the data entry.

I always went to all our meetings, especially our annual review meetings (the ones all about me and my performance) with anxiety, with a sense of wanting to be extremely pleasing, dreading any criticism.

I was so on the defense from receiving criticism and trying to be perfect, that I didn’t ask for support or talk about what I didn’t like, or even consider what I’d like to do more.


Turning the thought around:

You do not HAVE to do that task. 

Could that be just as true, or truer?

Yes, for me in my situation, I didn’t “have” to do it. No one was holding a gun to my head. I wanted to keep my job. I wanted to get praised. I wanted to be thought of as the one who did it right, and did it well, and didn’t make requests.

I kept doing it!  This job was many years ago, and it only occurred to me during this client’s recent inquiry that I never explored one other option, not once, than Doing It.

Who believed they HAD to do it?

That was me.

Kind of coo-coo bird, how much I blamed the job. But I didn’t know, until now, to question that thought and stop being such a victim. Must be perfect timing…now.

“An unquestioned mind is the world of suffering.” ~ Byron Katie

Much love, Grace

Questioning Angry Thoughts About The J-O-B!

Reaching too hard for money? Question your thinking, relax about money.

I’m excited for this coming Money Soul Sunday. Come join me if you want to do the work on money.

Suggested donation for 3 Sundays for 9-11 am Pacific Time inquiry sessions is $33 – $99 for one, two or three weeks, come to any or all.

If you’re having trouble with paying, it’s OK….just write to me by hitting reply.

Every session will be recorded and sent to anyone who wants this work.


You might know my dreaded story of losing money, wanting money, obsessing about money, being so discouraged about money I could hardly handle it (but apparently, I did).

It felt soooooooo horrible at the time.

It even felt horrible AFTER the time.

I would remember the anxiety, like I was holding my breath, wondering constantly from month to month if I could pull the house payment together.

My kids were eligible for free meals at school.

I could have gone on food stamps, but was too proud to start the process.

I would dress in my power suit, and go to interviews. At least 20 once I really started pounding the pavement.

Many times, I was a finalist. I had never had such a strange “losing” streak with one person getting hired over me in the final decision.


Here’s the weird thing.

That whole pins-and-needles time of wondering what would happen every day with money, I had a secret.

I tried to smash it down and hide it and change it and bury it in the ground and fix myself.

My secret?

I did NOT WANT TO WORK at a J-O-B.

Seriously, I was so angry at the system, so bored in past jobs, feeling like a loser, and not having gotten the right education, and having let myself become dependent in a marriage, and not actually being all that interested in ANY companies or organizations.

Plus let’s not even get started on my feelings about the “nothing” I had to offer.

My self-esteem was so trashed….

….I never felt genuine and authentic in any single interview.

But a part of my process, at that time, was to begin to do The Work in earnest on not only money, but on work. Having a boss, co-workers, commutes, break rooms, cubicles.

I really had some negative ideas about “work”.

Did you notice I called work….which is really the very dynamic (and often fun, and challenging) experience of offering services and expertise in exchange for participating in an organizational community….

….a J-O-B like it was a swear word??

I hated the thought of someone “controlling” me and bossing me around, and expecting me to act certain ways.

I thought it would mean I was being suppressed, imprisoned, and enslaved.


That was some rough and stressful thinking!

Thank goodness I recognized the stress and started asking myself….

….who would I be without the belief that getting a job was like going to prison and conforming to an office-building environment, forever?

Ha ha, I laugh at myself now.

Because without the belief, I noticed I felt excited about work.

And after I questioned my thoughts about jobs, I started getting more interested in the job hunt. At the very same time as people started asking me to facilitate them for sessions in The Work.

I got a part time job, not a full time one, through a weird series of circumstances. Which was perfect because it gave me time to work with more clients at home.

And at my new part time job, I loved the people, the interesting new problems, the communication challenges, my beautiful fancy office chair, the conference rooms with stunning views of the lake below, and excellent health insurance.

I loved the meetings, the really incredible professionals I met, the watching, learning, hearing and learning mega details about medicine and treatments I would never have learned in a million years normally, outside of medical school.

I practically miss that job, it was so cool.


I never could have imagined actually becoming generally comfortable, feeling like I belonged, at a J-O-B.

Thank goodness for The Work.

It helped me turn my entire attitude towards finding jobs and earning money around to making it more like “play” in my reality.

Well….OK, that might be getting a little carried away (the word play) but it certainly wasn’t so “hard” all the time.

It was not positive thinking or trying to have a positive attitude, it was actually seeing it for real. A wonderful place to be for certain times during the week, with pretty awesome people.

If you’re upset about work, or unemployment, or co-workers, or commuting, or paychecks, or raises, or anything you do in your experience of money….

….question your thinking, change your world.

“I’ve never seen a work or money problem that didn’t turn out to be a thinking problem. I used to believe that I needed money to be happy. Even when I had a lot, I was often sick with the fear that something terrible would happen and I would lose it. I realize now that no amount of money is worth that kind of stress.” ~ Byron Katie

We’ll be doing this on May 10, May 17, May 24. Join me!

Much love,