Are you playing "The Blame Game?"

I do it. Other people I know do it. You probably do it. We play the blame game. It’s an easy out and has complicated side effects.

At points, I blame others and more often, I blame me. Neither of these are productive.

A young man I know well has chosen to make this the game of his life. He’s stuck, he knows he’s stuck but he is unwilling to take any action to change his patterns.

When we repeat the same pattern, we get the same results.

In this young man’s life, he is struggling with substance abuse and it has permeated every facet of his life. He once dealt with a complete range of substances and experimented with almost everything that was out there, including meth. He was smart enough to realize the danger in all of the extraneous substances but not willing to put forth the effort to exclude all substances from his life. His drug of choice now is alcohol.

This young man, like many I know, has parents that love and care for him and was active in many positive things in his early life, Boy Scouts, Youth Group, organized sports, and more than his share of positive role models. He also had a bright academic future and was accepted to multiple colleges throughout the country. A talent for writing, he showed the ability to string words together very well.

But early in his life, he chose the blame game and coupled it with substance abuse and wrong choices. Once in awhile, he regrets those choices and briefly thinks about turning things around but there have been so many wrong turns that it gets more difficult every year.

Financial missteps, legal hassles, relationship issues, all compounded by the substances interfering with his processing. He’s had his share of interventions, counseling and even rehabilitation but until he stops the blame game, nothing will take.

The Blame Game at Work

Meanwhile his attitude, actions, and choices impact those around him and they play their version of the blame game. He’s still employed but the choices he makes can impact his work. He’s not alone. There are many people who play the blame game and it takes work to get past it. It takes a level of determination and a desire to change that some people will never find. Until this young man gets to the point of abandoning the blame game, he is unlikely to be able to move forward in life.

How does the blame game influence the job market?

If you play it continuously, you are unable to take the steps forward to make changes. If it is always the fault of someone or something else — your co-worker, your boss, or the economy, you will never be able to move on. If you want success, you have to admit that the blame game is standing in the way, acknowledge it, write it down if need be and then look objectively to find the first step you need to take to make a change.

  1. If substance abuse (drugs or alcohol) is standing in your way and you are ready to make a change, tell someone and ask for help. There are counselors and programs ready to help. It might take some searching to find the right fit and it will not be easy, but it can be done.
  2. If you are miserable in your job, start figuring out what steps you need to take to find a new one or find a way to make your current job more positive.
  3. If you are out of a job, stop the blame game and seek out the resources you need to find a new one. Step out of blaming, list your talents and think deeply of where you would really like to work. Don’t look where everyone else is looking, strategically seek out connections and resources to find the hidden job market.

The first step is to stop the blame game… and take a step forward.

Stuck in your job search or just ready to move on or up from your existing position? Julie Walraven, a Wausau, Wisconsin-based professional resume writer and career marketing strategist, can help you get ready for your next role! To find out how, Click here!

Photo Credit


  1. Kris Hoots on October 12, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    Excellent post Julie! And applicable beyond the job market to all facets of life, as you most poignantly point out in your story about the young man with the substance abuse problem. I think you’re dead on: we have to admit blaming is a problem and be resolved to let it go in order to move on in life.

  2. Tammy on October 13, 2009 at 9:26 pm


    What a wonderful post. I think I found myself playing this game years ago. I try my best to remind myself to never go back there again!

    Thank you for sharing.

  3. Julie on December 27, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Thank you, Lisis, I really appreciate your words! None of us know the reasons for the pain that we go through in life. For me, the rocky journeys always seem like a reminder that there are others who need to know that we traveled the same path and survived. Many a parent has been with me as a client and been able to unburden themselves, ask questions, and trust me because they know that I know what bumps in the road feel like.

  4. Lisis on December 27, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    I wish this young man the very best. I know it can seem SO difficult when we’ve taken a few wrong turns. One bad decision leads to five others, it seems, until we can barely dig our way out of the mess.

    The blame game doesn’t help one bit. We just have to pick up the pieces and move on from where we find ourselves today. What could’ve been is no longer relevant. all that matters is that anything is possible from here on out.

    Beautiful post, Julie!

  5. Lisis on December 27, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    That’s exactly right… the more we’ve been through, the more we can help others get through their challenges. It’s just the way this crazy thing called Life works. 🙂

Resume Design and Job Seeking Tips

Here are Design Resumes' latest articles on job search, resume design, resume writing, and Linkedin optimization articles I've written.

FREE Resume and Job Search Tips by email

Get free tips and strategy direct to your inbox. just add your name and email below. I respect your privacy.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

Here are ways I can help you land your dream job.

You may be halfway across the country or the world. When you work with me, we share coffee, laughs, and concerns. This turns the scary job search into creative, consultative writing and learning sessions.