By Guest Blogger Kate Steinbacher of Coaches Console
“In every job there is an element of fun. You find the fun and SNAP the job is a game and every task you undertake becomes a piece of cake.” – Mary Poppins
This may sound a bit coy, but if you really think about it, it is true. And if you think a bit further, what kind of work do you want to get up for each morning? The kind of work that stresses you out, where you avoid meeting with certain people, where you feel underutilized, where you are bored. Or would you rather it be the kind of work that energizes you? Would you like a work place where you cannot wait to meet with colleagues, where you are valued for your skills and where your values and those of the company’s mesh comfortably? Where you feel like you are using your talents and creating value for yourself and others?
So let’s talk about this Mary Poppins idea for a moment. Find the fun, what does that mean? Work is work isn’t it? Well let’s look at it this way: we each get 168 hours a week to spend. If we sleep 8 hours a night now we have 112 hours to spend. If we work 40 hours per week, now we have 72 left. If we commute 40 minutes each way to work, now we have 68.5 hours left of our week. Of those hours we will probably spend at least 2 hours a day accomplishing the necessities. The remainder: about 54 hours. Over one third of our time is spent at work; doesn’t it make sense to find work that is enjoyable and fun as well as rewarding? Are you willing to treat over one third of your waking life as just a job?
Finding fun work is more about discovering what you like to do, dream to do or what you would like to try to do or learn to do and then making that happen. It is about discovering what work atmospheres make you thrive. I’ve met truck drivers and mechanics that couldn’t wait to get to work each day. They had a skill, they worked with little supervision, they were outside, they loved it, they had fun! I’ve worked with new supervisors and managers learning leadership and communication skills, there were difficult times, but they thrived on the challenge and growth that was happening before their eyes! They were willing to endure the learning curve of mistakes to do the work they loved.
Discovering that work can be fun is in large part dependent on your attitude. I can tell you I traveled the world to exotic places and enjoyed gourmet foods on board a cruise ship, had the opportunity to meet and work side by side with people from every part of the globe to insure our passengers had an enjoyable cruise, or I can tell you I worked 16 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week for 4 months straight, dealt with difficult customers, always had a problem to defuse, had to learn ways to work with foreigners that did not understand American ways and visited places that barely had plumbing. Both sides are true. But what is true for me is that through every challenge, I grew exponentially and found I thrived on problem solving. I loved meeting new people and discovering their ways and learning how to create win-win outcomes. I looked upon each of those circumstances as fun challenges!
Author Carlos Casteneda said, “It takes just as much energy to be miserable as it does to be happy.” You choose.
Opportunity #1: Take a survey of your work preferences. Look at the kind of atmosphere you thrive in, the kind of people you enjoy spending time with, the skills you enjoy using or what skills you would like to learn. Once you discover these aspects of your fun quotient, brainstorm with positive, open-minded people who have learned the art of possibility thinking. Together think of as many different ways you may be able to utilize those skills and find or create that atmosphere.
Opportunity #2: Take a close look at your attitude about your work. How are you spending your precious energy?