Buddhist Philosophy

Unhappy at Work? Advice on Transformation

Many of us may feel unhappy and not appreciated at work. Here, Tulku Migmar gives us practical advice for daily life. Why should I put up with a nasty boss? Is quitting my job the best answer? Tulku-la suggests we approach the issue differently. He uses a simple example of how he advised a student on a successful strategy.

We spend a lot of time working, so we benefit from learning how to integrate our spiritual and mundane lives!

Work and Stress


We can learn how to deal with job-dissatisfaction and work-related stress. In this video, Tulku-la reminds us that we often blame the boss or our co-workers for bad situations. Often we make judgments quickly and misinterpret situations. And if we are working virtually, opportunities for misreading the room are even greater!

But we don’t usually consider the possibility that we are creating our own job unhappiness and dissatisfaction. Instead, we usually look outwards for the causes of our problems. Tulku-la suggests that instead, as spiritual practitioners, we can train to shift our own perceptions.

Self-reflection: Examine Our Own Perceptions

We can begin to see how our ego, our pride, and our mistaken perceptions may produce an unhappy work atmosphere. We usually tend to focus on “my problem.” This means we are creating our own work stress. Think about that carefully for a few minutes! Can we open up to see what’s really going on in a situation?

If we examine this we may realize that we are not considering the problems and feelings of others. But the good news is that we can adjust our actions very easily! When we speak kindly and respectfully to our employer and our co-workers we may see a complete change. We can influence the way people respond to us–and to each other. Instead of complaining about how we are being poorly treated, think about how we might try to behave. We should think about how we respond to our colleagues and bosses.

Experimenting with perception brings about changes. A transformation may be easier than we may have thought. We may be surprised and much happier with the results! The great bonus is that we may also find that those around us become happier and less stressed at work.

Related Teachings

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Suggested Reading

Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, trans. and ed. by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1991), vol. 1, pages 468–474.

Ngawang Zangpo, Guru Rinpoche: His Life and Times, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2002.

Nyoshul Khenpo, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage, trans. Richard Barron (Junction City: Padma Publishing, 2005), pages 41–48.

Padmasambhava, Legend of the Great Stupa, Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1973

Padmasambhava & Jamgön Kongtrul, The Light of Wisdom, trans. by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1986-1999), pages 43-47 & Appendix 5.

Taranatha, The Life of Padmasambhava, Shang Shung Edizioni, 2005

Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles, Shambhala, 1996.

Yeshe Tsogyal, Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, translated by Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays (Emeryville: Dharma Publishing, 1978, republished 2008).

Yeshe Tsogyal, Lotus Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2004.

‘The Life of Guru Padmasambhava’ in A Great Treasure of Blessings, The Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2004.