Oct 25, 2013 | 2 Minute Read

The Me-Job Conflict: “Take this job and shove it!”

me job conflict.jpeg

(There are three common types of conflict in the workplace: Me-You, Me-Job, Me-Me. In my prior post I discussed Me-You conflicts. Here I take on Me-Job conflicts.)

We’ve all heard people voice similar sentiments about jobs. TTI has over three decades of research that exposes many of the reasons behind our feelings of discontent. At the heart of this sentiment is the Me-Job conflict.

Sadly, the first thing people tend to do when faced with work place dissatisfaction is to either blame the work culture for their woes or worse, they over-generalize and assume they have failed. The truth is many times our behaviors, motivators and skills are a mismatch with the job requirements, or a Me-Job conflict.

One of the first places people encounter this mismatch is in school where the job is to be a student. The student “job description” generally calls for behavioral styles that thrive on being careful, conventional, exacting, neat, predictable, consistent, steady and stable. (In the DISC language – Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Compliance – these are individuals with High C and High S behavioral styles.)

So what happens if your behavioral style as a student is in direct contrast to that mold? Perhaps you are more sociable, forceful, adventuresome or persuasive (In DISC, High I or High D individuals).

Most likely disengagement, de-motivation, a lack of progress in your studies and possibly – dropping out will ensue. [As an aside: In previous published work we predicted student grade point average simply by looking at a student’s primary behavior style. In the study the highest grades went to students who best fit the existing culture.]

In the business world, we see direct parallels of this mismatch every day.
• People with stellar people skills stuck in a lonely backroom.
• Introverted individuals forced to be the image of the company.
• Steady and reliable workers being asked to run new innovation initiatives.
• People with great ideas relegated to detail-oriented work.

So, how can we identify these mismatches? When using TTI assessments, a simple comparison between a person’s natural style and their adapted style speaks volumes, revealing Me-Job conflicts. When these graphs reveal dramatic differences between a person's natural DISC style is and what their adapted DISC style is, it is a sign of discord between their innate behavioral style and what is required of them on the job. This disparity leads to disengagement and unhappiness in work.

Here’s an example of the natural DISC style versus adapted DISC style graphed. In the before graph, the Dominance aspect of this person’s behavior is staying constant, but the Influence has dropped dramatically in the adapted (at work behavior) style.


In the after graph, the same person’s is graphed three years later, in a new job. Note the similarities in the I column. When interviewed, they told of a renewed energy level and a much more relaxed feeling about their job and their role at work.

So the next time you hear someone express unhappiness with work, consider the cause may be a mismatch between the personal attributes and the job culture.

Knowledge is power and the first step to almost every solution.

In my next post, I'll discuss perhaps the most complicated conflicts, Me-Me conflicts.


Image by Aditya Romansa

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Dr. Ron Bonnstetter

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