by Jennifer Cross
Jennifer Cross recently completed Seth Godin’s altMBA program and had a profound realization about the role perfection has played in her life. If you are one of the thousands that struggle with the ideal of perfection, then this is for you.
Let’s be honest, most people work because they have to. We have mortgages to pay, people to feed, cars that need gas — life is a never ending roll-call of expenses. If we are fortunate, we have disposable income left over for some fun: an occasional dinner out, a vacation, another Amazon.com order.
It’s easy to tell who in your organization truly enjoys their work. They have an energy and light about them that radiates out. People seek them out for support and guidance. They are generous with their knowledge, experience and assistance. They en-joy, so they spread joy.
One of my favorite professional examples is Jim Cantore from the Weather Channel. He’s extremely knowledgeable about his domain, consistent, and his passion radiates through each broadcast — even in situations most of us would pay to avoid. He takes his work seriously, without taking himself too seriously. He is an en-joyer as you can see here:
You can also tell the employees in your organization who merely phone it in. They drag into the office grouchy even before the phone rings, and leave as soon as the clock strikes 5pm. They do the bare minimum. They scowl through staff meetings. They make your work harder than it needs to be, instead of easier. These are employees who are enduring, rather than enjoying, their work.
To improve morale in your organization, it’s important to find the reasons that people are simply enduring. Is something in your corporate culture preventing people from contributing, giving their best and doing work that matters? Do you cultivate a command and control environment that breeds fear and blame? Do you have staff who used to enjoy their work, but have simply been in the same job for too long and now they are burned out? Do employees have enough support through training, skill development, and coaching to help them advance? Do you have individuals who need to be let go because they contribute to a negative culture in your company? Do you need to look in the mirror and assess whether you are projecting leadership that promotes an environment to be endured versus enjoyed?
The trick to being personally and professionally fulfilled is to find work that gives you meaning, provides professional challenges and accomplishments, and that happens to provide you with a paycheck. The secret to success is these requirements need to be met in that order. When you engage in work solely for the paycheck, it usually shows.
Work is hard, that’s why it’s called “work”. Not every day will be sunshine and roses, even for those of us who enjoy what we do with a passion. But if you are enjoying your work, you happily go there each day ready to serve your colleagues and customers, and give it your all. And you head home at the end of the day feeling energized and fulfilled.
So are you enjoying or enduring? If it’s the latter, maybe it’s time for a change.