I’ve been noticing something pretty fascinating lately. My clients span a wide range of frustrations, challenges and desires. What they want can be totally opposite. Some are itching to quit their job. Others want more community. Many want to be busier, in a meaningful way. And still others are craving more space for fun.

But as different as each person I talk to is, I hear one thing over and over again: “I hate feeling like my butt is glued to my seat.”


If you’re in any job, whether it’s something you loathe, something you love, or just a stop on the way to something else … no one wants to feel like they’re playing by arbitrary rules.

We (as in, millennials) are smart. Talented. Energetic. Full of potential. Bursting with ideas. We might be young and less experienced than people a decade or two ahead of us, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t totally capable.

Maybe the higher-ups don’t fully trust your abilities yet, so you don’t have enough to do and you’re completely bored and underwhelmed, just sitting at your desk all day. Or maybe you’re frustrated because you’re required to work from 9-5 regardless of how long it actually takes you to do what you need to do. You could get it all done in half the time, and have so much more time for other things, if you were allowed more flexibility. But right now, you’re just another butt in a chair.

Feeling like your valuable time and talent are being wasted is a recipe for resentment.


1. Figure out whether you actually want to be where you are

Is this situation actually worth changing? Are you going to be out of there in 4 months, anyway? Do you want to be in a totally different industry? Yeah, having more flexibility and autonomy would be great … but don’t mistake butt-in-seat resentment with “I’m totally unfulfilled here, and wouldn’t be happy regardless of whether my butt was being utilized better.”

2. Speak up.

If you genuinely want to be where you are but you’re just feeling underwhelmed and inflexible, then being honest could work wonders for you. I know this will terrify some of you, but if you want things to change you’re likely going to have to ask for it to change.


Employers and higher-ups dream of the kind of people who care enough to say, “I really love being here, and I want to be able to do as much as I can. But right now, I’m feeling kind of stuck. I could do so much more/be so much happier/learn so much IF …”

What could your boss possibly say? “Oh man, she sucks for wanting to be happier. I wish she didn’t value herself as much.” I don’t think so.


Most people are scared to ask for more flexibility because they think it will make them look lazy or disengaged. But framing it in a positive way that becomes a win-win for you and them is totally possible. You can say, “How about we try an experiment? I’d like the opportunity to exert more autonomy over my schedule. Can we try this {insert what you want} for a few weeks and then evaluate how it’s going?”

It’s a win for you, because you get the flexibility and autonomy you want. It’s a win for them, because you’ll probably be far more productive when you’re happy. And remember, most people aren’t mind-readers. And rules are meant to be bent, if not broken. Which means if you don’t assume every rule is set in stone, and if you speak up about what you want, the worst that can happen is that nothing changes. It’s certainly not going to get worse. Do you know what’s more likely to happen? You actually get what you want, or you at least get the space to compromise.

You don’t have to accept the current “normal.” You can ask for more, or find somewhere that will appreciate you more, and figure out your passion to boot.

This article is part of our partnership with Clarity on Fire Coaching. Find out more about them and their Passion Power Hours on their website. Contact them via Twitter: @clarityonfire.

Rachel East is a professionally trained life coach who helps 20- and 30-somethings go from bored & unfulfilled to passionate & inspired in life and work. She's the co-founder of Clarity on Fire Coaching.

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