Reflective Narratives



A Reflection on Job Stress & Job Satisfaction

The reflective narrative below has been developed using the 22 questions of the Four Dimensions of Reflection posted on the home page.  

  1. Thinking Back:

As Jill thought back to her original reason for taking the job she is currently in, she realized that salary was the biggest draw.   After her first few weeks on the job, she could see that her colleagues were very smart and very skilled.  Jill felt that she did not necessarily have the same level of skill, but she did have a quality that her workplace needed.  She had the work ethic and the willingness to do the grunt work of making the initial contact with future clients that others avoided doing.  Her fearless approach opened doors for the company that others had not accomplished. Not being one to procrastinate, she was also called in to do the detailed work of closing the deals that others struggled to get done.

 2. Thinking Forward

If Jill could redo her education plan, she would have taken more training in the use of computers.   One of the main skills that Jill feels she is lacking for this job is computer skills.  She sees that her colleagues have an advantage in this area and can efficiently and effectively create documents that would be time consuming for her to complete.  Fortunately, however, a colleague that she works closely with willingly shares his expertise and assists her with computer tasks whenever she needs it.  He relies on her for other details that she does well.

 3. Thinking Inward

When Jill first started this job, she was told that the company was not quite ready for her position but they were going ahead anyway.   This put Jill in a compromising position with clients forcing  her to act in opposition to her personal values and beliefs.  Many times each week, Jill feels she is misrepresenting herself and her company.  This results in a source of stress that Jill deals with on a daily basis.

4.  Thinking Outward

Looking at her job from other points of view led Jill to consider how the  owner and the manager of her company might view her and her role within the company.  She described just how differently the two men view work projects and how contrasting their perspectives are to the goals of the company.  She recalled how she is often requested to complete work that they have started, but she is asked to do it because they know she is completely reliable. They treat her well because they know she can be counted on. Despite the stress and internal conflict, Jill realizes that she is a valuable employee. Others have faith in her and she has faith in herself to promote products and to get the job done.

            CONCLUSION:  What does Reflection Accomplish?

Reflection led Jill to the following key insights about her job.

  • Work ethic and fearlessness are attributes that can help you be successful in a job.
  • It’s ok to rely on the skills of coworkers. That’s part of the teamwork that is needed in the workplace.
  • The daily stress that we feel has a definite source that may stem back to decisions made before we entered the scene.
  • Another source of stress is the conflicting values of company leaders. Employees may not be responsible for this nor can they do anything about it.
  • Your value as an employee may come from an unpredictable role.




Learning from Failure


Thinking Back:

Keith could have chosen many successful building ventures to reflect on, but  instead he chose to talk about an experience that he has always considered to be a failure in his life.  The reason that this building project failed, in his mind, is that it did not generate profit as originally intended; unfortunately, it created debt.   The critical factors that played a role in this financial loss were lack of knowledge and experience, high interest rates, poor choices and an unstable partnership. With 20/20 hindsight, Keith now realizes that a project of that magnitude required a lot more knowledge and skill, better financing, improved timing and a completely different partner arrangement.

Thinking Forward: 

If Keith could redo this experience, he knows that he would do almost everything differently.  He would choose a simpler house plan for example and be more aware of the timing and interest rates.  Despite the “failure” of the project, however, Keith did not turn away from a career in construction; he actually became more interested and affirmed in his desire to build again.  He realized that he rather enjoyed the element of risk in this venture and that there was great satisfaction in the entrepreneurial aspect of this work.  He walked away from the experience with a lot more knowledge about the building industry and about his own ability to persevere through the inevitable challenges of any building project.

Thinking Inward:

Adversity, Keith believes, teaches you more than anything.There is a point, however, when too much adversity for too long begins to just beat a person down.  Eventually it will chip away at confidence and destroy your positive beliefs about risk-taking.  Having an entrepreneurial attitude is necessary for taking risks in life. Problems and challenges will always arise and non-entrepreneurial thinkers will be sure to express their doubts adding to the questions you are already dealing with in your own mind. 

Thinking Outward:

Looking at the two points of view towards risk-taking has led Keith to be more convinced that he wants to move forward with future risks.  Despite the fact there is always the potential for failure, if nothing is ventured, nothing is gained.

 CONCLUSION:  What does Reflection Accomplish?

 Reflection led Keith to the following key insights about himself.

  • An entrepreneurial attitude is an undeniable part of a personality; it  should not be squelched but used as a ‘spring board’ to dive into life adventures despite the risk of failure.
  • If failure does occur, learn from it and move on.

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