Imagine that you are talking with your boss, or a possible employer, or friend, family member, or even a complete stranger about what you do for a living. You discuss where you work, how you work, what your duties are, and other things of the sort. But then the other person throws you a curve ball question. That person leans in towards you and looks you in the eye like they've been dying to ask this question the entire conversation, and with an eagerness and a genuine smile they ask "So, tell me something... how much FUN are you having on the job?"
Wow... Just think about how much power that question can have. Has anyone ever asked you that question before without being sarcastic or with a negative overtone? Better yet, have you asked yourself that question ever in your life? It is a powerful question! Go ahead - stop reading this article and ask yourself right now,
"How much fun am I having on the job?"
- I get to work on complex projects.
- I get to learn this and do that.
- I get to create interesting solutions to problems at work.
- I get to teach others and I get to be a teacher.
- I get to work with various customers.
- I get to sell my business's excellent products that I believe in and use myself.
- I get to share my experiences with my co-workers and we have the opportunity to learn a lot of things from each other.
- I get to help achieve the business's goals.
- and so on
- You don't understand the things that I have to do just to get a paycheck every week.
- I have a terrible boss and I can't stand working for him\her.
- I haven't had a day off of work in a month and no one cares about it.
- I work all day, then I come home and I have to work even more!
- My co-workers earn more money than I do.
- My co-workers don't come close to working as hard as I do!
- I don't believe in the products my business makes and\or the services they offer.
- Other people don't have the setbacks that I experience every day.
- One of my co-workers just got promoted and they haven't been working here as long as I have!
- I'm stuck right where I am and I can't get out.
- I don't know why I even work here.
- I hate my job.
I've had the privilege of being able to work for many different businesses, many different bosses, and work with many different people throughout my career. I've had plenty of jobs where I was excited to get to work in the morning, and I've had jobs where I dreaded walking in the door. Even today I have setbacks just like you. There are times where someone does not do something they are supposed to do and it affects my work. I have to deal with irate customers and I have many different people that jump down my throat about various issues here and there. There are even times where I make mistakes and it affects other people's work! In my past I have even made mistakes that cost me my job. None of these things helped reduce my stress level. None. Just imagine if I had these negative thoughts all day long. I doubt anyone would want to talk to me, let alone work with me. Do you know what these negative thoughts about our jobs do to our perception about our workplace, or our bosses, or the businesses we work for? It impacts the way we work, how we work, and it impacts the quality of work that we produce. These thoughts set us up for failure and causes increased stress in the workplace.
In 2010, The American Psychological Association published a Fact Sheet that displayed some very interesting research done about workplace stress. Here are a few of them:
- 69% of employees say their work is a significant source of stress in their lives.
- 51% of employees say they were less productive due to stress.
- Health care expenses for employees with high levels of stress were 46% higher compared to those without.
- Job stress is estimated to cost U.S. industry more than $300 billion a year in absenteeism, turnover, diminished productivity and medical, legal and insurance costs.
I have discovered that 100% of the people that are unhappy about their jobs do not feel good about their jobs. But wait! There's more... I've also discovered that 100% of the people that feel good about their jobs are actually HAPPY about their jobs! Yes! I have found that it FEELS GOOD TO BE HAPPY! And when someone does NOT feel good, THEY ARE NOT HAPPY!
So how should we respond when feeling negative about our work? How can we transform our way of thinking about our work?
I just finished reading an article by one of my good friends Andrew Ralon at LeadershipVacuum.com called "Choose Your Response". It is an excellent article and I highly suggest you read it. At the top of the article there is a quote that says "Whatever happens, you always have a choice -- you are always able to choose your response." After having said many of the negative things listed above in this article I made the choice long ago that I will never allow myself to hate my job ever again and if I do, I will be the one to change my situation. Every day I make the choice to do everything I can to be a better employee today than I was yesterday. We are all given the opportunity to respond, either positively or negatively, about our jobs. And every day that I work, I PLAN on having fun at work.
Having a plan means that I am intentionally going to follow through
with what I say that I am going to do.
"But Joe, you just don't understand my situation. It just isn't that easy to 'flip the switch' and just feel good about my job." I know it isn't easy but the more you work on your own attitude about work, the better it will get. If you are in a constant struggle with your boss or your place of employment or you still find it difficult to have fun on the job no matter what you do, I recommend you read the article "When you feel there is no way out" by my good friend Glenn Stewart at EquipYourLife.org. You are never stuck. There is always a way out of the rut that you are in. My point is this...
"If you target nothing, you'll hit it every time." - Zig Ziglar
Plan on having fun on the job so that you not only make a difference in your own career, but your colleagues' careers too.