Friday, January 30, 2015

Finding Joy at Work

Joy and work

These are two words that for the vast majority of us do not go together. 

Most of us see work simply as that space in between the weekends that serves to provide us medical care, vacations and money to pay the bills. Often, this leads to the Sunday night dread as another new week of despair looms ahead. Is this you?

Let’s face it. Most jobs were never intended to be fun all the time. That is why it is called going to work as opposed to going to fun. 

Nonetheless, there are ways we can make the most of everyday and in the process set ourselves apart from the masses living their work life in despair.

Know your purpose

Why do we work? Is it simply a means to an end so that bills can be paid and away from work fun can be had? That mindset may work for a time but in the long run it leads to drudgery. What if instead we first defined our life purpose and then next applied it to our jobs? My purpose statement is simple:

“To serve God, serve my family and serve those around. I strive to help others have success so that in turn I will experience success”

Your life purpose is critical as it should set the direction for every decision you make about your day and you attitude towards those around you. Feel like you are floundering? You might just need a little direction to move forward. 

Find an attitude mentor

Just about every work group has one these people. You know, the person that no matter what seems to come into work peppy and ready to get busy. These folks jump at the chance to tackle the extra project and take big changes in stride.

This is a person you will want in your inner circle. Ask, “Tell me, what motivates you to be so positive at work?”  I think you might be surprised at the answer and you will find great insight. If open to it, tell this person you are looking for an attitude mentor that will give you nudge from time to time when you may be showing negativity about the workplace.

Show up looking sharp and with a smile

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

I love this famous quote from Martin Luther King as it demonstrates that any job can be filled with satisfaction if you give it your all. Every day I see people working with grim faces while also looking frumpy. I have a secret strategy on my days I know are going to be the most challenging. On these days, I make a point to put on my sweetest shirt and best slacks. I also use a little personal pep talk in the car to slap a smile on that will carry me into the building. 

These little things may sound silly but they do make a huge difference to convince yourself that everything is going to be okay. Oh and on the really over the top days, I make sure to wear a pair of Batman undies that I have had for many years. Sure the day might be stressful but on those days I can have a sly grin on my face knowing that underneath—I am Batman.  

Believe in your future

So your job sucks. That is the time to understand most things in life that suck are temporary. Believe in your abilities, your potential for growth and continue to work with gusto. You might stand out from the crowd by doing so and find yourself up for promotion in the future. If not, then keep making the most of what your have now while also working to find something else that will satisfy you. The key is to not give up hope and to keep growing into the life you were born to have. Give everyday your best and the best will find you. 


Joy and work—I hope you find the best of both.