Except of course that her stuff looks much better :o)
After one of my recent speaking gigs about happiness at work, one participant told me this story:
I work as a programmer in a major bank. I used to go in every week, work my 40 hours (more like 50, but hey) and get paid a nice salary. It was a nice job in a good company, my boss was a good guy, my co-workers were neat people and the work was OK.
But as time passed, I felt like something was missing. Work was comfortable and secure, but I felt that there were sides of me that I never really got to use. I wanted to do work I could really feel proud of. I wanted to make more of a difference. And mostly, I was never really excited about work.
So I asked myself what it would take to improve things. I came up with three things:
- Being more creative and working on more varied projects, as opposed to only maintaining the bank’s internal programs.
- More fun at work. The mood in the department was very serious and professional, to the point of being boring.
- Learning some new professional skills.
I asked my boss about this and he was very supportive. We drew up a plan for some courses and certifications and found some new tasks that I could work on. We recruited some like-minded allies in the group and worked on lightening the mood in the group together.
To my surprise, this didn’t just change my work life a little, it made a big difference. With my new skills, new projects and a more positive mood at work, I went from feeling OK about my job to feeling really great about it.
I do much better work as well. Partly because I’ve increased my skills and increased my work experience but mainly because I feel so much more enthusiastic about work now. The difference between being OK with my job and being happy about it has been huge for me.
Most job satisfaction surveys can divide people into three groups:
- People who HATE their jobs. Usually around 10%
- People who like their jobs. Around 70-80% of us.
- People who LOVE their jobs. Usually around 10-20%
This may sound strange coming from me, but I’m deadly serious here: Do not like your job.
Liking your job is nice. It’s comfortable. It’s safe. It’s OK. When you like your job you’re pretty efficient. You’re fairly satisfied. You can get by for years on liking your job.
But when you LOVE your job – MAN, what a difference that makes.
It’s a relatively small step from liking your job to loving it. It doesn’t take much and the things we need to do are relatively easy and available to all of us.
But the difference in outcome is humongous. As long as you like your job, you’re only a pale reflection of what you could be if you loved it. You’re realizing only a small fraction of your full potential. You’re not having nearly as much sun as you could have.
Studies show that there are huge benefits to crossing the threshold and getting to the point where you’re really happy at work, as opposed to merely satisfied. Among other things:
- You do much better work.
- You’re much more creative.
- You’re much more motivated.
- You have much more energy.
- You’re much more productive.
- You’re a much better co-worker.
- If your job involves sales, you’re a much better salesperson.
- If your job involves customer contact, your customers are much happier.
- Your quality of life outside of work is much higher.
And we’re not talking just a little more – we’re talking a LOT more!
Millions of people settle for jobs they like. The problem is that when you like your job there isn’t much pressure on you to change. Liking your job isn’t bad for you. It’s certainly much, much better than hating your job – which can make you sick or even kill you.
But when you love your job you are in a completely different league.
So I’m saying that we shouldn’t settle for any less anymore. Let’s make happiness at work the norm rather than the exception. It may take some work, but each and every one of us can get there.
First make that decision for yourself – decide that from now on, you will be happy at work. Then find out what you can do to get to love your job or what you can do to get a job you love. Then do it.
What about you – do you love your job? Have you had a job you loved? How does it affect you when you love your job? Write a comment!
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