Ep397: Benjamin Ritter – We Are All Accountable For Our Job Satisfaction

Listen on

Apple | Google | Stitcher | Spotify | YouTube | Other

Quick take

BIO: Dr. Benjamin Ritter is a leadership and career coach, values geek, regional learning manager for Young Presidents Organization (YPO), national speaker, podcaster, author, mentor, and is passionate about guiding others in finding, creating, and sustaining a career they love.

STORY: For a very long time, Benjamin worked different jobs trying to find an employer that would give him the satisfaction he was craving. It was only years later, and after doing a couple of jobs that left him unhappy, he realized it doesn’t matter where he works. What matters is how he works and how he thinks about his work.

LEARNING: To have job satisfaction, you must change the way you perceive work and the value you take away from it. Live each day with intention.


“You are not a product of where you work, but you can make the work a product of you.”

Benjamin Ritter


Guest profile

Dr. Benjamin Ritter is a leadership and career coach, values geek, regional learning manager for Young Presidents Organization (YPO), national speaker, podcaster, author, mentor, and is passionate about guiding others in finding, creating, and sustaining a career they love.

From empowering young professionals to get unstuck, guiding senior leadership on how to stand out from the competition, and developing executive presence, Ben is an expert in his field and will guide you toward truly living for yourself at work and in life.

Worst investment ever

Benjamin wanted to be a professional athlete when he was younger, so he never imagined himself sitting behind a desk working the nine to five. He also had a dad who was an entrepreneur, and he would take Benjamin on home remodeling jobs. A traditional job was, therefore, not on Benjamin’s mind when he was growing up.

Trying to find his purpose

So when it was time for Benjamin to join the workforce, after not becoming a professional athlete, he didn’t know what he wanted to do and where he wanted to do it. But he ended up finding a couple of things he was passionate about.

Benjamin got involved in public health policy and entrepreneurship in a variety of ways. He ended up in healthcare administration, an area that he never thought of. But he was happy to have a job where he was creating real direct outcomes for people. He did this for seven years.

Successful but unhappy

Within the seven years Benjamin worked in healthcare, he got promoted to an executive-level position and was on the road to becoming a higher-level executive or CEO.

Even with all this success, Benjamin was unhappy to the point where he stopped volunteering for work. He just did as little as possible to get by. He felt stuck, unfulfilled, and dreaded his job. This dread leaked into Benjamin’s work, romantic, and family relationships. He was walking around this dark cloud over his head. He walked into the office one day and realized just how miserable he was. It hit him that this was not how his life was meant to be.

Stepping back

Benjamin realized that he needed to step back and see the bigger picture. He finally realized that he thought that his organization was supposed to give him meaning. That it was supposed to provide him with job satisfaction and make him happy. And for this reason, he had given all his power to his employer, which made him resentful.

Now Benjamin understood that it does not matter where he works. What matters is how he works and how he thinks about his work. That realization led to some pretty amazing things, and that’s how he got to where he is today.

Lessons learned

To be more satisfied, you must change your mindset towards work

We are all accountable for our levels of job satisfaction. You have to change the way you perceive work and the value you take away from it. So when you walk into the office, or when you open your computer to start your workday, if you are thinking negatively about your job, of course, you are going to have a negative experience. If you feel your work is worthless, it’s going to be worthless.

Live each day with intentions

If you’re going into every single day without the intention to take something from it, you’re going to take nothing. If your job feels worthless, then change your career to what you need it to be. Then show up and make the most of it.

Andrew’s takeaways

Life is not meant to be complicated

Life is not meant to be complicated. If somebody is complicating things or you find yourself complicating your life, stop and make it simple.

You get back what you put in

What you get out of something is what you put into it. So whatever effort you put into personal development will determine what you become.

Actionable advice

Take some time and make a list with three categories. One is what’s the work you love to do, and two is the people you love to work with, and three is the positive impact you see from the work you do daily. Every single day, try to nudge your job a little bit more towards one of these categories. If you do that, you are going to evolve in your career in a positive way naturally.

No. 1 goal for the next 12 months

Benjamin’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to finish writing his next book.

Parting words


“We are greater than our purpose, and if we can rise above it and realize that we’re greater than it, we realize that life is more important than it.”

Benjamin Ritter


Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:01
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning in our community. We know that to win in investing, you must take risk. But to win big, you've got to reduce it. To join our community go to my worst investment ever.com right now, and you'll receive the following five free benefits first, you get the risk reduction checklist I created from the lessons I've learned from all my guests. Second, you get my weekly investment research email to help you increase return. Third, you get a 25% discount on all a Stotz Academy courses. Fourth, you get instant access to our Facebook community to get to know guests and fellow listeners. And finally, you get my curated list of the Top 10 episodes. Fellow risk takers This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz. And I'm here with featured guests. Dr. Benjamin reader, Dr. Benjamin reader, are you ready to rock?

Benjamin Ritter 01:07
I'm ready, but I need a moment to go to your site and get those free gifts though, because they sound pretty awesome. I'm gonna join the community right now give me like 30 more seconds. Okay,

Andrew Stotz 01:15
absolutely. I want to automatically get you all the add value. So, take a minute, I'm going to take a minute and introduce you to the audience. So hold on one second. While you're going around and signing up. Dr. Benjamin Ritter is a leadership and career coach, values geek, regional learning manager for young presidents organization YPO. National speaker podcaster author, mentor, and is passionate about guiding others in finding, creating and sustaining a career they love. From empowering young professionals to get unstuck, to guiding senior leadership, on how to stand out from the competition and develop executive presence. Ben is an expert in his field, and will guide you toward truly living for yourself at work. And in life. Wow. Then take a minute in Philly, for the tidbits about your life,

Benjamin Ritter 02:19
like long walks on the beach, I like to not a baker, I like to cook now. You know it's part of living life is just living life and having a little bit of fun, I don't think that's included. In my bio, as much as I'm a highly analytical thinker. And I can get into my mind, I had to spend many, many years, getting out of my mind getting into the present, and trying to find, you know, be finding the value in the do on the morning grass, so to speak. So I may throw in a joke here or there, just because I'm trying, you know, I'm trying to be more present in life. What's not really listed in that bio are all the twists and turns and hardships and worst investments that I've made. So I just can't wait to dive in and share a little bit more about that journey.

Andrew Stotz 03:06
Well, you know, I know a lot of my listeners are also analytical. And you know, one of the challenges of an analytical person is that we can get caught up in our analysis, paralysis or other types of things. And so I think, you know, I'm looking forward to hearing your story and hearing your development in that area. So now it's time to share your worst investment ever. And since no one ever goes into their worst investment thinking it will be tell us a bit about the circumstances leading up to and then tell us your story.

Benjamin Ritter 03:38
So I had an interesting career path when I was younger, I'd say more interesting now, but I wouldn't have known that. But I wanted to be a professional athlete when I was younger. So I never really thought that I'd be sitting behind a desk working the nine to five. I also had a dad that was kind of an entrepreneur that would take me on home remodeling jobs, and I was a kid. And so when I dove into the workforce after not becoming a professional athlete, I didn't really know what I wanted to do and where I wanted to do it. But I ended up finding a couple things I was passionate about, and got really involved in public health and public health policy and entrepreneurship in a variety of ways. But everything that I tried to do and really invest myself into ended up crumbling, and so forth. You know, this was around 2010 I got into grad school is working for the Illinois Department of Public Health. And that job got cut because of funding. I won a CDC fellowship I took a test. Nationwide test, I won the fellowship that got cancelled because of funding. I got offered two other jobs along the two and a half year period and those got cut because of funding and so I was working every odd job I could find. And I ended up networking into healthcare administration somewhere that I never thought that I end up being but I was happy to have a job where I was creating direct real outcomes for people creating a positive social impact. And I thought, you know, I thought that I would find something else. But along the way, I realized that I kind of ended up giving up on my career a little bit. And I was very reactionary and less proactive. Every time I was proactive, I ended up kind of losing out, sort of speak in my mind. So I feel this shift actually happened. So I ended up seven years in working in healthcare being promoted to an executive level position with the next step, you know, regional director, eventually probably becoming the higher level executive or CEO, and really unhappy. And to the point where I would stop volunteering for work, I would do as little as possible to get by, I pulled back from the relationships, people that I was working with, because I didn't want to invest more in something that I didn't like. And a lot of listeners might feel this, if you're in a job and you feel stuck, and you feel unfulfilled, and you feel like you're not doing what you should be doing is tends to happen, you start pulling back from everything, you have two feet out the door, and it just makes everything worse, because then you have nothing actually, that you value that keeps you happy within the job itself. And I was walking to work one day, dreading it again. And it wasn't just work itself, that the dread is leaked into my personal relationships into my romantic relationships with my family and relationships that impacted my motivation and other areas of my life where I was kind of walking around this dark cloud over my head. And then I remember walking into work one day, Monday, when I walked into work, I could walk into my job. It was there was a lot of really good things about the job itself, it actually had, it was creating a positive social impact. I worked with great people, I had pretty positive leaders, I had professional growth opportunities I had my own personal leadership coach, like it was wonderful. And on paper. But in my mind, it wasn't I was walking into work. And I looked up and I had this dark cloud over my head. And I realized that everyone else that I was walking by had a dark cloud over there. They all have the sunken Look, the sunken eyes, they were dragging their feet, it was just like, does everyone feel this way? Is this what is this? how we're supposed to work and live our life? And it hit me? No, it doesn't have to be this way. I was allowing this to happen for a variety of reasons. And this is leading into the worst investment ever that I'd like to get to. But I want to pause for a second. You know, should I go into it? Do you want me to wait for a second? Do you want to go into more?

Andrew Stotz 07:30
Go? I think that's a great setup. Everybody. A lot of people feel that, you know, feeling in that, you know, is this all there is, this is what I'm supposed to be doing. You know, so I love that.

Benjamin Ritter 07:42
And it was so strange, though, because what I didn't share yet at this point was when I was in that period of life where I would get jobs and they get cancelled. And I was kind of wandering, making money working on jobs. Someone came up to me, cuz I was very into the personal development space at that time. I was growing myself. So for five, six years prior to that I read everything I could find in the field of personal development. I put myself in uncomfortable situations, I took that analytical mind, and I switched it off, and just was present and put myself really just really challenged myself to grow and be social. And to learn, like really just this the skill sets of interpersonal dynamics. And this person stopped me and said, I know what you're doing, you're great at it, you need to meet my boss, and I ended up getting hired to be a part time coach. So I that got me into the coaching realm. And then that led to me actually applying for federal federal grant for public health professionals for free coaching. And I ended up getting mad from the government, which is funny because the government couldn't fund my full time positions. And then when I was working in health care, they ended up selecting me for 16 months of leadership training. So I also had coaching just, you know, around me in a way I was very focused in personal development, and knew all these things that I wasn't implementing in my professional career. And it's funny how we can do that we can have these blind spots in our life, where we give up our actual accountability and power when we have it in other areas. And all we need to do is just step back and step out and see the bigger picture. And so what I finally realized was that I thought that my organization was supposed to give me meaning that it was supposed to give me job satisfaction that it was supposed to make me happy. And I knew this wasn't the case in my relationships. I knew my relationship couldn't make me happy. I knew that achieving something couldn't make me happy. It was the act of it. It was the values of received from it for some reason, I gave all my power away in my professional career to my employer. And because of that, that led to me being resentful and pulling back from my relationships and not volunteering for work. And so when it hit me, I stopped and I said wait, hold on a second. It doesn't matter. where I work? It matters how I work and how I think about my work. How can I change that? What do I want to do, and that led to some pretty amazing things from that point on. And that kind of gets into my story of how I got to where I am today.

Andrew Stotz 10:16
I just wrote down a lot of things that I take away from that. And I just be curious to have you go through a summary of kind of the lessons you learn from that journey.

Benjamin Ritter 10:28
It's taught me that we are all accountable for our own levels of job satisfaction. And we all should feel empowered, to be accountable. So that means that when I walk into the office, or when I open up my computer to start my workday, if I'm thinking negatively about my job, of course, I'm going to have a negative experience. So the first part is, what's my mindset? And what meaning do I perceive for my work? And what value do I do, I take from it, because if I'm going in, and thinking that it's worthless, it's going to be worthless. I don't know about you. But when I reflect back on my career, what I thought I was going to do isn't what I'm doing, even if I was intentional towards it. Because you end up meeting certain people, you develop certain skills, and those lead to something else, or you learn you're really good at something or learn that you don't like something. So if you're going into each and every single day, without the intention to take something from it, you're going to take nothing. And if anything, you may just take negativity, which ends up just draining other areas of your life as well. So it's this idea of showing up developing career capital. And then, you know, we haven't even gotten to crafting your work towards what you actually want it to be. But I think and I think that's another component we can get into. But I think the first ones are this idea that you're responsible and accountable, you should feel empowered to change your job to what you need it to be, and you need to show up to make the most of it.

Andrew Stotz 12:01
And, you know, I'm going to summarize some of the things I take away from that and adjust that point you made. Ultimately, that's, that's what a good boss wants out of you to, you know, a good boss wants you to come and say, here, here's, you know, look, I'm not that great in this, but I see this other opportunity, I think I can really make an impact in this area, you know, and most bosses are like, they look at people and they're going out, you're never going to come up with any idea. Yeah, he just gonna sit there and be unhappy, you know, and I'm just gonna let him do that. Because, you know, why should I invest any time if you don't invest any time and so, you know, that's it's just like, it's a downward spiral. If you're in that situation, some of the things that I wrote down, you know, that just want to go through is there's a great book I read called, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. And the main thing I got out of it was a mantra that I say that my best friend Dale says a lot and I say is, I am not my thoughts. I am not my thoughts. I am not my thoughts. I am not my thoughts. And I was also thinking as you were talking, I am not my work, I am not my work, I am not my work, you know that, you know, how do we separate ourselves from them? The second thing I was thinking about is I wrote down, life is simple. If life gets complicated, stop. You know, life is simple. Life is not meant to be complicated. If somebody is complicating things, if you're complicating things, just stop and make it simple. The other thing I was thinking about is that it's interesting, you know, you talked about how you were doing all the personal development stuff, but yet, you know, you are unhappy. And for a lot of people, and you know, I'll share my own personal experience, you know, I had experience when I was younger with drug addiction, and that led me into a 12 step program. And in the 12, step program, they had all the, you know, do these steps and you're going to be free of this addiction. And what I found is, so I was just the young guys like, yeah, I'm digging into this. So I really focused on those 12 steps, and I worked them hard. And man, my life, just open up, open up. And then I saw all these people that was this still, you know, they've been sober or clean for a while, and they're still kind of unhappy. And then I realized that, you know, what you get out of something, is what you put into it. And so sometimes people are, you know, they want to be better and better at personal development and all that stuff, and they know the knowledge of it. But there's a great statement in the 12 step program that says, if you are painstaking at this stage of recovery, you'll be amazed before you're halfway through. And I love that word painstaking. If you look at it, you can say taking pain. Are you going through some pain, too? build real personal development. And once you hit a bottom, you know, like you've described, then it motivates you to think, crap, I think I'm really gonna have to really apply these things, not just talk about them, I got a lot of other things I've written down. But I think those are the main things, anything you'd add to that.

Benjamin Ritter 15:17
Yeah, and if so, I think it's important to note that a lot of times people feel this way. And so their solution is to accept that they are in the wrong job and just skate by. And usually, the other one is to leave the job into another job and perpetuate the cycle, in maybe they'll get lucky and find a job that does align with their values, and does give them a bit of happiness, and does surround them with people they enjoy working with, and is the right type of work at the right type of time. It does happen for some people. But if I'm talking to someone that's a high achiever, eventually you're end up you're going to end up in the same place, if you don't internalize some of these concepts, that you are not a product of the organization and the work, like you said, I'm not the work. But you can basically make the work of product of view. And I think that's something we need to shift our mindset towards, which is, you can choose the type of work that you want to do, you can choose how you perceive the work that's in front of you, you can choose who you interact with on a daily basis. And you can spend the time getting clarity in what you want to actually learn and achieve at work. So that you are making progress towards the things you care about. And I think all this really started from this idea of Am I doing my purpose, and in my professional life. And I think this is we haven't talked about purpose yet. But it's this, I think we vary, we define purpose. And in a way that doesn't serve us we define it as something that has to be all fulfilling, we define it as something we can achieve. We define it as something that is greater than us. And all those definitions don't actually lead to anything productive for us, especially in the in our careers.

Andrew Stotz 17:15
You know, it's interesting to your website is called Live for yourself consulting.com. And the idea that you're explaining is how you went through the process of not really living for yourself, just doing what you thought was the right thing to do, but that you didn't live for yourself. So I think it's really valuable to think about, you know, what you can bring to people who are stuck in that situation. And for people who are listening that would like to, you know, get in touch with you first, they can go to live for yourself consulting.com they can also go to the show notes and click on that and, and learn more. So let me ask you, based on what you learn from this story, and what you continue to learn what one action, one action, would you recommend our listeners today to avoid suffering the same fate?

Benjamin Ritter 18:06
Spend some time, make a list? Make three categories. And basically one of them is what's the work I love to do. The other categories Who are the people I love to work with? And the other category is, what impact what positive impact do I see from the work that I do on a daily basis. And every single day, try to nudge your job a little bit more towards one of these categories. And I promise you, if you do that, you are going to naturally evolve in your career in a positive way. Beautiful.

Andrew Stotz 18:47
You know, I have a personal story about that. When I came to Thailand, I worked in the world of finance, I eventually in 2000, roughly, I ran into a time and that we started working together. And we've worked together since 2000. So 21 years, and we just fit together in our strengths and weaknesses. And we do research. And, you know, we started our own company, eventually at the end of that career in investment banking. And we've had our ups and downs. And when we had our downs, I just said to him, Look, there's nothing more than I want to do than write research and do research. I love that, and you love that. And there's nobody else that I want to work for and work with for the rest of my career than you and the team that we build. So there is no plan B. I don't want to go back to anything else except I want to keep making the most out of what we've got. And that really cemented our relationship and our trust, but also really got us excited about you know, yeah, business may not be the best. It may not be the biggest amendment, but we're doing what we like with the people that we'd like to do things with. And that's what you've just shared. So valuable, valuable stuff.

Benjamin Ritter 20:03
That's a beautiful story. And it's frustrating that so many people don't feel that they have permission to make that decision for themselves. And we all have the permission to make every decision for ourselves. Yeah,

Andrew Stotz 20:20
that's a have another story about that. My girlfriend was struggling with the fact that she had been abandoned by her mother and her father. And it really affected our relationship. And she went to see a therapist and I, when she came out of that therapy, she was a changed woman for life, one therapy session, and she was completely changed. It was shocking and amazing. And what that all that that therapist did, because my ex girlfriend was ready, she was ready to make a change. And she started to know that the problem was abandonment. And that psychiatrists or psychologists basically said, Imagine the most comfortable place in your life. And she said, Oh, my sofa. And she said, okay, imagine you're sitting on yourself right now feel that comfort, where you're at. And then, the therapist basically took a baby, a little doll, a baby doll, or whatever, the jet in the room, and she put it across the room. And she said, That's you sitting on the steps at your school when you were nine, and your mother said she was going to come and pick you up and spend the weekend with you. And she never showed up. And that was the most painful moment for her where she realized she truly was being abandoned by her parents. And she said, Get out. And by that time, she's sobbing. I wasn't in the room, but she's telling me exactly what happened. By that time, she's sobbing, and then the therapist said, Go, pick up that door, go pick yourself up, you are now picked up. And you have to move on from this and I was. So she was absolutely sobbing. And you know, she probably cried for another four hours after that. And the next day she woke up, and it was like something was lifted from her. So for those people that you know, have been hurt in so many different ways and is struggling. I think your story to me, Ben is the idea that you're responsible, you know, you're accountable. pick yourself up, you can do it.

Benjamin Ritter 22:25
And we all have those stories, especially related to work, we just don't pay him any attention. And why don't you feel like you can ask something of your boss. Well, how you define leadership? I don't you feel like you can make a decision with what you work on. You know, where do you feel limited? How have you define what a job is in your past? It's really important questions to answer.

Andrew Stotz 22:48
Next question, and it is the last question, what's your number one goal for the next 12 months?

Benjamin Ritter 22:55
I would love to finish my next book. So if that's my goal, right now I'm writing. I think we all have evolutions within our professional life. And we get to certain points where we were like, okay, now I am going to honor it through, you know, something a content development. And I've written some a workbook in the past and a pocket book in the past. And now it's finally the live for yourself book is going to come out with a different title. I don't want to share that yet. But it's going to be a compilation of stories of basically what we're talking about today that relate to the almost like commandments that I've learned that relate to living for yourself.

Andrew Stotz 23:34
Excellent. And for the listeners out there that want to get in touch with you, they can go to the show notes, or is there any other way that's the best way for them to get in touch with you?

Benjamin Ritter 23:44
I have lunch at the diner down the street every Friday at noon comm you can totally just find me on LinkedIn, Dr. Benjamin Ritter, send me a message connect with me, let me know that you've heard me from this show. I'd love to have a conversation with you and keep going.

Andrew Stotz 23:59
Alright listeners, there you have it another story of loss to keep you winning. My number one goal for the next 12 months is to help you my listener, reduce risk and increase return in your life. To achieve this. I've created our community at my worst investment. ever.com. I'll see you there. As we conclude. Then I want to thank you again for coming on the show. And on behalf of a Stotz Academy, I hereby award you alumni status for turning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?

Benjamin Ritter 24:36
We haven't really touched on this, but a lot of times we are striving with work. We're unhappy with work because we're trying to find our purpose and get fulfilled. And we and I think achieve our purpose and I think we forget that. Do things really important about this one? It's unlimited. There's this it's infinite. There's no way to achieve it. That's actually, that's great because it means it's a never ending source of motivation, which is what we want. The other one is that we're greater than that your purpose is only your purpose because you've defined it that way. So you're ultimately greater than it. So we are putting something on a pedestal that we've actually, we're the we're actually the governor. And that can create some strange actions on our part and some strange beliefs. So if we can raise above it, and realize that we're greater than we realize that life is more important than

Andrew Stotz 25:34
Well, that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and protect our wealth in our health. Fellow risk takers, this is your worst podcast hose Andrew Stotz saying. I'll see you on the upside.


Connect with Benjamin Ritter

Andrew’s books

Andrew’s online programs

Connect with Andrew Stotz:

Further reading mentioned

About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

Leave a Comment