The basic assertion here is that there is always a Way To Win.
All you have to do is find it. It's okay to invent it if it doesn't already exist.
This has been approached before, from a somewhat different angle, under the title "The Supreme Test," which, it turns out, is the ability to make things go right, regardless of circumstances.
Notice the wording: "make things go right," and not "solve today's problem." When you DoTheRightThing you don't necessarily do what is popular. "Right" is a longer view than fulfilling current orders.
Note: Don't confuse "mission statements" with goals -- they usually have little to do with one another. Goals may be derived as a vector from observation of policies, projects, targets, and products (what we do, not what we say).
Postscript ... several months later ...
I have, once again, found myself in another job where the company gets to win. I get to contribute, the boss gets a bonus of about what I make a year, the CEO gets a bonus amounting to 12 times my annual salary. I get to keep my job, of course, but there's little time left over for things like family.
So, once again, time to find a WayToWin. And sure enough, we're making arrangements even now. We will be moving farther North, near Tahoe. Our company has an office in that neck of the woods. I would have preferred DonOlson's Flagstaff (see GetaLife), but Tahoe isn't bad. My wife and I have gradually built her a business that isn't tied to geography or a time clock (we just need broadband, a post office, banking).
Once we are moved, I will (with her help) build a similar business for myself in what spare time I have. My son and daughter have pretty much concluded that, although income is necessary, having a job per se pretty much sucks. They would like to help build the new business (still working on the right model for that) and do that.
My, how liberating to be plotting a more enjoyable life.
Another Postscript ... several months further on ...
Well, it's been about a year since I wrote the above. We have, indeed, accomplished the move. We're now living in Carson City, and I managed to get the transfer to happen even after being told there was no way. I simply kept showing up at the Northern office and acquainting myself with the engineers there and their projects and problems, helping where I could, until one day the honcho said, "hey, we could use this guy here."
Thanks, Garry, for the game metaphor. This is the best articulation I've seen of this whole process that many have experienced and many, many more are going to experience, willing or not. Last week I had coffee with the fellow who was my boss at the time of my layoff in 2001. He has been watching the company shrink by 90%, has supervised training by local employees of foreign contractors who will take the jobs back to their nations with them, and now he is facing the end of his own career, despite stellar and loyal service. By necessity he's looking into different business ideas, facing uncertainty, and I must confess that I'm glad I'm not in his shoes now. I hope that I was able to convey how what will come can be an adventure rather than an ordeal, and that being cut loose means floating free, not falling free. He'll do well, I bet; this country can't throw away good people. --DonOlson