Friday, November 12, 2010

What makes you happy at work?

More of a philosophical, rather than practical post today.

Had lots of time to think whilst on holidays, and one of the things that's been occupying my mind is work happiness.

What is it and what for me are the most critical things to loving what I do?

For me the following are crucial. Note I exclude "the cause/s" that I work for, that's a given in this sector. Well, for most. I haven't met many folks who love their job because it's right near the subway or they have a great lunch room.

- My values are aligned with the organization I work for. That doesn't mean we fundamentally agree on everything. But we're headed in the same direction for the most part.

I reckon there's about an 18 month threshold for this. I've seen really resilient people try really hard to believe they are sold into the same things as those they work for. Eventually the differences in beliefs wear them down. And they move on.

- Love the actual work. Might sound a tad obvious, but the day to day functions of the job, for the most part, you need to love. You can believe in the same things as your colleagues, but if the stuff on your job description doesn't cut it, then it makes it harder to start the day raring to go. You need to love what it is you're paid to do.

- Really like the people around you. Perhaps love them, maybe not. But you need to work with people you'd go to the pub with or invite round to your place for dinner. For me great people that inspire me, make me laugh and are just good fun to be around garner a work atmosphere that gets the best results from me. It's a critical element in my work happiness factor.

- There needs to be a chance of change brewing. Could be just round the corner, might be a year off. It may be something really trivial and small, but I need to be able to see some change. Not change for change, but a shift that will make work life and the work I do even better. More effective. More enjoyable.

We don't always enjoy the actual process of change, but seeing something in the distance that's a little different keeps me fresh and inspired.

- Short term goals, big picture objectives. Little things to get by day by day, week by week. As well as an end goal. A big campaign, a year end target, a pioneering project.

Small, maybe even routine tasks to get me through the days. Bigger, more aspirational things to keep me there for the long haul.

These are just my take. These are the things that help me love what I do.

What makes you happy at work?



Paul de Gregorio said...

Great post JG. For me it is all about shared values, without that you can't be happy.

Jonathon Grapsas said...

Thanks P de G.

So true. As I said without it you get worn down.