buWhy are so many people unhappy in their work situation?
Why do people, who are successful at one career, have
such difficult times coping with their new career? These
problems frequently occur, because conflicts exist in their
Relationships between you and your work can also be
considered the "games of work." Games have basic rules to
play, which require specific skills to succeed at playing.
People win at the games they play when they achieve the
game objectives and by operating within the rules of the
game better than others. The "games of work" also have
objectives and basic rules that must be followed to
There are many different sports games and the objectives
and rules are different for each game, sometimes
dramatically so. There are three fundamental "games of
work" that define the different relationships people have with
Yet, very few people who participate in the "games of work"
understand the objectives, the rules, or even the game they
are playing. Consequently, if they blindly operate under
different rules, methods, and purposes than the conditions
their work relationship (game) requires, they are bound to
create conflicts. These conflicts result in serious stress and
very poor success rates. For example, if a fully uniformed
football player clamors onto a tennis court and operates
under football rules with football skills by trying to tackle his
opponents, he will create considerable conflicts and will
undoubtedly fail at the game of tennis.
The first step to succeeding at the "games of work" is to
understand the objectives and rules of each game. The
second step is to determine which game of work you are
currently playing. The next step is to either adjust your work
purposes and behaviors to suit the game you are playing or
switch to the game you are best suited.
Rules to Follow to Succeed at each "Game of Work"
Lets discover the rules that must be followed to succeed at
each "Game of Work." They are strikingly different.
1. Bureaucracy: Virtually all government and most corporate
work relationships fall under this game of work. The rules of
the bureaucracy game that participants must follow to
succeed are as follows:
A. Do what it takes to protect or expand their positions.
B. Divert responsibility, and take credit for desirable results
of others whenever possible;
C. Attend to the wishes and desires of those who make
decisions about promotions, salaries, and work positions
first and foremost, even if it means placing the success of
the organization a distant second.
D. Recognize how little, if any, control they have over what
their jobs will be and that they have little, if any job security.
E. Recognize that they are compensated for basically
2. Partial Entrepreneurship: Commissioned salesmen,
multilevel marketing members, franchisees, most
professional sports players, and real estate agents operate
within the game of Partial Entrepreneurship. The rules of the
game that partial entrepreneurs must follow to succeed are
A. Take responsibility for work performed and the results
achieved in their specialized fields of work, but not for the
total business, even though they frequently work within the
umbrella of a larger organization.
B. Focus their energies on performing in their chosen fields
and much less on the wishes of any possible superiors, or
to extracting favors from subordinates.
C. They are compensated based upon the quality and
quantity of the results they produce within their chosen
areas of responsibility.
D. They have more control over what their jobs will be and
they have much more job security.
3. Business Ownership: Anyone who has controlling
interest (and many times non controlling interest) in a
business plays by this "game of work." The rules of the
game that business owners must follow to succeed are as
A. Take full responsibility for their work performance and the
success of their business.
B. Learn to pass on as much credit as possible.
C. Focus their energies first and almost exclusively on the
success of the business
D. They have full control over what their jobs will be and
virtually total control over their own job security (whether they
know it or not).
E. They have no one in the organization to take orders from
or to indulge, and they do not extract personal favors from
subordinates that hinder the success of the business.
F. They are in essence, compensated only from the profits
of the business.
Once the above rules are understood, it becomes easy to
recognize how important it is to play by the rules of the
"game of work" you are participating in to succeed. For
example, you will clearly struggle if you play by the rules of a
bureaucracy, when you are operating as a business owner.
The conditions and rules of each of the three "games of
work" do not change. Either you change to match the
"game," you are playing or you find and play in the "game of
work" that best suits you.
Michael Jordan, one of the best basketball players of all
time, could not translate his huge basketball knowledge
and skills into a successful baseball career. He proved that
the knowledge and skills needed to succeed at the game of
baseball are much different from those needed to succeed
at the game of basketball. Yet, he thought he could easily
master baseball, because he had been so good at
basketball. And when he returned to basketball, he had to
work extra hard to re-sharpen his basketball skills to his
previous levels. Likewise, the knowledge and skills needed
to be a successful Bureaucrat, Partial Entrepreneur, or
Business Owner, are much different from each other.
What work game are you participating in and are you playing
by the appropriate rules?
Provided as an educational service by Bill Dueease of The
Coach Connection. You may receive a free copy of the article
"Get Your Ideal Position: Go to Play Every Day" by contacting
The Coach Connection at 800-887-7214 or 239-415-1777
or firstname.lastname@example.org, or at