Every now and again, I like to bring you short interviews to give you a new perspective on work happiness. During my study of work happiness I have found that there are many paths to the same goal. Some people believe that loving what you do is a must, while other people believe that relationships are vital to enjoying the work that we do. Interviews are a great way to get out of your own perspective and see what other people are doing to be happy at work.
There are so many amazing people in the blogging world, but one of my more recent finds is Jason of Escape Adulthood. He and Kim (his wife) have created a business out of bringing the fun back into life.
The first impression of Jason was a video that I watched of a water balloon fight between Jason and Kim. They were sitting in chairs and throwing water balloons over their garage to see who had the better aim. It was right then that I was hooked. Having fun in life is a big part of being happy, so I’m glad to bring you an interview with Jason.
Karl: On a scale of 1- 10 (10 being very important) how important is work happiness to you? Why did you pick that number?
Jason: I would have to say 10. As a teenager, I worked at a car dealership and hated nearly every minute of it. But I knew it was only a part time job. Even more troubling were some of the mechanics who worked there that also seemed to hate every single minute of it. I decided right then and there that I’d do whatever it took to find a job that made me happy. Now that doesn’t mean it’s always easy or fun, but the challenges are what help make it interesting. Life is too short to spend most of it doing something you hate. Life is also too short to spend most of it doing something you only kinda like.
What is one task that annoys you? How do you make it more enjoyable or at least tolerable?
I’m not a big fan of the accounting side of things. As an entrepreneur, having a good handle on the finances is important, but paying bills and tracking expenses is my least favorite thing to do. So I do a couple of things to cope. I use a payroll service to take care of the check writing and let me know how much tax to pay Uncle Sam. I have an accountant who takes care of the annual corporate tax return. I hire someone to enter orders from our online store into our accounting software. And I schedule the rest of the stuff that I have to do early in the week so I have fun stuff to look forward to when I’m finished.
What is your favorite part of your job? Why?
There are two, and sometimes they overlap: 1) being creative and 2) making people think. That’s when I feel most alive and am most fully using the talents God’s given me. I’ve finally gotten to the point where those areas are where I spend the majority of my time, whether it’s through a speech, a blog post, or a drawing.
How do you maintain harmony between your working and non-working life?
For me, they blend together quite well. A few weeks ago, I spoke at a conference held in a resort that features three indoor water parks. I brought my wife and daughter with me to the program, and we spent some time the day before my talk splashing around. I was thinking that although it’s not unusual for a person to combine work and play with their family, it is a little unusual that for me, I’m kind of expected to. That’s freakin’ cool. Of course, this didn’t just happen; it required a lot of planning and effort and sacrifice along the way. Life balance is a real priority for me and Kim, and we are very mindful and intentional about how we spend our time. Contrary to the old adage, I like to think that I try to “preach what I practice,” which helps keep things pretty harmonious.
What is your favorite stress reliever?
Going for a walk by the lake on a sunny day. Easy. Simple. Cheap.
If you are feeling down, what do you do to lift your spirits?
Eat something comforting, like a big bowl of macaroni and cheese. If I’m ready for something a bit more productive, I’ll go for a walk, bring my iPod, and listen to songs that remind me about God’s love for me. My down moments usually are the result of me drifting too far away from him.
What is your biggest detriment to enjoying your work?
Just like anyone, it’s super easy to get bogged down in the details of the day-to-day. The stuff that piles up, needs to get done, and takes on an overblown sense of urgency. It’s always a challenge to keep from confusing the urgent with the important; a lot of the stuff we get stressed out about doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in the big picture. It’s important to regularly stop and reflect to maintain a sense of perspective. If you get too caught up in the busyness of life, stress piles up and you miss out on some of the best stuff.
What do you do to stay motivated and productive?
At first, the avoidance of going out to get a real job provided ample motivation. Then the pressure of paying rent (and now a mortgage) did the trick. But more and more, the gravity of this issue and how it affects families and relationships is what’s driving me. The speed of life continues to increase and create new challenges for people. Life balance is a real struggle. And there are too many people looking back on their life saying, “I wish I woulda…” The mission that motivates me is to help people have as few “I wish I wouldas” as possible.
If you could give work happiness advice to someone just starting their career in 140 characters or less (Twitter style) what would it be?
Don’t wait for permission. Follow your dreams. Work really hard. Don’t give up. And most importantly, don’t forget to have fun along the way.
If you want to learn how live with less stress and more fun then check out Jason’s blog Escape Adulthood.
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* Terry Starbucker wrote Don’t Be A Victim of Success (Keep Climbing). I loved the concept of striving to bring more value every single day.
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