Can You Really Love Your Job If You Hate Yourself?

I was just watching one of my favorite Woody Allen films, Broadway Danny Rose.  It’s one of his lesser known films I think, but for me he hits it out of the ballpark.

At one point in my career, I wanted to be an agent, just like Allen’s character Danny Rose. The trouble was, I wanted to be almost exactly like him – helping actors and performers whom no one else wanted to represent. This idealism, while of course worthy, didn’t go over big with my boss, a top agent who believed in representing people who could actually make him  money. But that’s another story.

Anyway, last night I was watching this movie for the umpteenth time and heard something I never heard before.

Danny Rose was talking to Mia Farrow’s character, Tina, after a long afternoon together that naturally included their being chased by the brothers of a vengeful mob family.  Tina was telling Danny about her own career as an interior decorator and confided she didn’t have much faith in her ability and didn’t even know if she even wanted to keep doing it. Danny, who can find talent in anyone, was offering her encouragement and told her:

If you hate yourself, you hate your work.

I think that’s something to chew on. So many of us are unhappy in our work and go from job to job looking for that one dream job that will fix everything. But does Danny Rose perhaps have some wisdom here? To paraphrase Shakespeare, isn’t the fault not in our stars but in ourselves? Are we what we need to redecorate before we can truly be happy with our work?

Now I’m not saying there aren’t sucky jobs out there. There arAnd I’m not saying the fault is always ours  if we’re unhappy with the work we’re doing. It’s not.

But I’ve known people who have jobs that many would NOT jump up and down about; and still, they’re happy. They seem to find the good in their day and not focus all the time on everything that needs fixing.  And I’ve also  seen people who have great jobs, at least from an outsider’s perspective, and yet all they do is bitch and moan.

So is Danny Rose perhaps right? If you hate yourself, can you really love your work?

I’m not sure there’s actually a black & white answer here, but I do think it raises some questions worth pondering. Curious what you think.


About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.


  1. Hi Ronnie Ann,

    I like Woody Allen too. Zelig is one of his films that stayed with me long after watching it. Exaggerated for laughs but there were plenty of people it reminded me of who tried to be all things to all people. That was me in the past too!

    I think that you are right about this correlation but instead of focusing on hating/liking yourself, I think about belief in ourselves instead.

    When our beliefs are well founded it gives us confidence and helps others to believe in us too. When we believe in our work it excuses all manner of hardships. Hardship without true beliefs behind it makes work into hard labor!

    Another great post!

    All the best


  2. Great post. I think we’re on the same wavelenghts again. I was conversing with one of my friends and I told him, “I could get another job, but if I’m always unhappy anyways, why would getting another job matter? I’d still have the ‘same’ mentality. It wouldn’t matter which job I’m at.”.

  3. Hi Paul! Thanks for the kind words. How nice to see you stop by all the way from the U.K.! I’m a fan of your Work/Life Fusion blog. And I have to admit I was Zelig for much of my life! Agree with your take on things: “instead of focusing on hating/liking yourself, I think about belief in ourselves instead.” Well said.

    Talk to you soon!

    Mr X! What a nice surprise to see you. Smiling. I have to admit I thought of you when writing this post. Truth is for some of us there really are jobs out there that can make us much happier, even if we don’t change all that much. Helps to figure out who we truly are and ask ourselves whether we’ve been trying to do things that just aren’t right for us. But still…wherever we go, there we are. So it does pay to see how much we’re adding to our own misery!

    Offer still stands, Mr. X.

    Peace out and in to you both.

    Ronnie Ann

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