Utne Blogs > Literature

Make Yourself Useful

by Jake Mohan 


Tags: books and publishers, work culture, happiness, generations, The Kid in the Corner Office, How to Be Useful, Megan Hustad,

How to Be UsefulMegan Hustad has written a book called How to Be Useful, a self-described “beginner’s guide to not hating work.” Rather than bombard us with, say, seven habits of highly successful people, or try to tell us what color our parachute is, Hustad explores some fundamental ways in which people can be happier at their jobs by making themselves more useful, even if they’re not at their Dream Job, or are stuck working for The Man.

Hustad's career counseling comes at a fortuitous time for the under-30 set entering the workforce and struggling to find their niche, while their older colleagues wonder, sometimes bitterly, how to best manage coworkers in this generation. It's a clash we documented in “The Kid in the Corner Office” in our January/February 2008 issue.

Over at the Millions, Hustad is responding to various contributors’ descriptions of their first jobs out of college, positions at which—surprise surprise—they didn’t feel terribly useful. Readers can even submit their own first-job anecdotes, because misery sure loves company. In today’s troubled job market, we could all use a morale boost, and maybe become more useful in the process.

sara mason
6/9/2008 10:24:16 PM

Life is too short to be in a job you hate. I can't begin to tell you how many people I used to work with who all they did was complain and moan and groan over how much they hated their job, the company, etc. It wasn't good for them or their co-workers. It just did a number on morale. If you really hate your job, LOOK FOR A NEW ONE. And believe me, when you find one you really like, you won't have the need to feel "useful." If you have a job that's a good fit, you will be useful and you won't have to try make it be so. Once you are enjoying the work, everything else will fall into place.


billy_1
6/9/2008 9:54:23 PM

If you don't like your job, you should be making yourself useful by looking for a new one instead of brown-nosing superiors or inventing work just to make yourself feel better. Everyone concerned will be better off that way.