Are you working at your job and wondering why you aren’t doing what you love? Maybe your passion is surfing, finance, or knitting. Regardless of what your passion is there is always a way to make money off what you enjoy doing. That is if you can find the right angle. You just need to find a way to deliver value to people so they will pay you for your skill.
The “doing what you love” method of making money is a popular topic lately. Many people are flooding into this market. The problem is that they don’t have enough true wins or losses in their past to be considered an expert. They just talk a good game.
We must separate the fakers from the real deals. After meeting Jonathan Fields at South by South West I’m confident that he is the real deal. His book, Career Renegade, takes the reader through the steps necessary to take his/her career to the next level.
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I have a friend who is only 37 and is ready to retire. He and his wife have had good jobs for 15 years and have been able to save a substantial amount of money. They aren’t rich by any means, but are getting pretty comfortable with the money they’ve saved. Enough to live simply and also pay for their children’s higher education. He did it by living below his means. Like Get Rich Slowly always tells us, “spend less than you make and invest in historically proven investments” and you’ll be retiring earlier than you thought too.
My friend’s goal is to retire in three years (age 40), and go into a new career. I would never have guessed his new career choice, but it does make sense. He wants to be a park ranger, taking care of his state’s preserved land. He doesn’t need to make a lot of money, just enough to pay a few bills and his investments will cover the rest.
When I heard this I was a little shocked. He could really set himself up for the rest of his life, retiring in style if he continued until 67, but I think he would rather be a hobo than continue to work at his present job.
Hard Look at Myself
My friend made me look at my own life and where I want it to go. I want to retire in the next five years (age 37). By “retirement,” I mean retiring from the daily grind and doing what I love to do instead: helping people work happier. This site is the seed that was planted in February 2008. I’m done messing around with my career. It’s time to pick my direction and run as if I’m being chased by a tiger.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m open to new ideas, but this is the direction in which I’m heading because it gets me excited. Believe me, I’m flexible if an opportunity comes along. It just better be in my arena of expertise. If the project keeps me excited and every day is creative then I’m all for it. As long as I can help people enjoy their work or find a career that will help them become even more successful and happy then I’m living my dream.
What About Your 3rd Career
Just because you’ve put your time in doesn’t mean you should stop working. I believe that we all still need to give back to society. Have you thought about what you want your middle age to look like? Or if you are middle age what you want your retirement to look like? Do you want to work where you are until 67 or do you want a midlife career change? Most of us are living way into our 80’s and 90’s. You should be thinking of these things so you can plan out the best way to be happy.
Just a seed for your thoughts. What is that one thing you love? What if you started a website/blog now and posted one article, picture, drawing, report, or video a week for the next 20 years? Do you think people would view you as an expert? Do you think that you might parlay it into a third career?
Let’s discuss this in the comment section. I look forward to seeing you there.
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A Work Happy Manager? My company would never hire one. They have enough on their plate as it is. Some of you may be thinking this, but this is the time to be ahead of the curve. Every company wants to be the first to implement the next great product or service, giving themselves competitive advantage. We should think of managing a company with the same mindset.
Forward thinking companies separate themselves from the crowd and get all the best talent. You know what happens when a company has the best talent… They succeed.
Companies have highs and lows from year to year. This occurs because of a fluctuation in talent, the economy, and the company’s personality. If you’ve been at a company for an extended period of time I’m sure you’ve noticed that some years are better than others. In those “down years,” employees leave because morale is low. No one enjoys working for an organization that feels sorry for itself. That’s why hiring someone to keep the company morale high is as important as making record sales. If employees aren’t happy the money train won’t last.
The Best Talent Knows If Your Company Rocks
Seth Godin believes that thirty years ago a company could put out an average product and as long as they were on TV (in everybody’s face) they made sales. This happened because the average consumer didn’t know better. They were fed their buying information. Now the Internet allows people to research. This creates more buying power.
Potential employees have this same information. They can go online and see what other present and past employees are saying about a company (check out reviews of Google from Glassdoor.com) they are interested in. If your company has bad employee PR, you won’t be getting the best talent.
Your company can change this by having a person or team of people on your staff who is proactively creating an enjoyable work environment. Most of you think Human Resources should be doing this. Let me ask you this…are they doing it at your company?
I was talking to a friend who worked for a Bank. He told me that the HR staff was very good at reactive management. They took care of new health plans, internal problems, and hiring, but they were never given the freedom to create programs that would boost the employee work experience.
It’s usually not in the HR department’s goals to improve the company, so they bring in the occasional speaker to boost motivation which lasts a couple of days then everything goes back to normal. What if your company were given a person whose sole job was to improve communication, morale, and team work? That company would have a leg up on the competition.
Why do you think your company would or wouldn’t hire a work happy manager?
Articles that Aren’t that Related, but Still Are Fun and Informative:
- 25 Lessons on Working Happy From My German Father
- Tell Your Boss You Need Leisure Time
- Mini Sabbaticals Should Be Mandatory
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I’ve been given the opportunity to write for various blogs around this great earth. All of them are in English, but I wanted to point out that blogs come from all over and that’s why they are so intriguing. We get viewpoints from all kinds of countries, which helps us expand beyond our normal thought routines.
Small companies are best positioned to offer the “one free paid fun day” perk. Let’s say you have ten employees and they receive three weeks off a year and they make an average of $45,000. You can add an extra day off and spending cash of $50 to each employee. This is a minimal investment of time-off and money for the amount of return received.
This investment will pay dividends because your company is willing to do more than the minimum to make its employees happy. When you give back to your employees they will give back to you. It’s what humans do. Smile at someone and see if they can resist smiling back at you. They usually can’t because they understand the social cues that make a successful society.
Click here to check out the rest of the article:
Reaching a Zen-like state when working is not about being absolutely blissful. It’s a myth that monks walk around with fixed smiles on their faces.
Some probably do, but most are like you and me. They have their ups and downs while working.
But what they’ve learned to do is focus on the everyday routine and immerse themselves in every task they do.
Click here to read the rest of the article.
Thoughts, creativity, and writing should flow freely and without tension. As I was writing an article a few months ago I noticed the strain in my stomach, neck, and jaw. I was straining to get the thoughts out. As if tensing my muscles would actually help me focus or even create something helpful to my readers.
My writing was strained because I was uptight through the process. The tension was creating pain and I knew that I needed to fix the way I wrote my blogs. I ignored it in the past because I thought it was normal, sprinting through my thoughts until I began to stumble, hoping that after the first push of energy was over I would have something concrete to work with. And even when I ended up with a minor headache it was okay because I accomplished the work I set out to do. This cycle couldn’t continue and I needed a system.
Click here to read the whole article.
As I try to spread the work happy message I’ve reached so many great people. I want to thank these great blogs for giving me the opportunity to write for their readers.
Related articles that just might change your perspective on your career:
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- The Google Slide
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Working happy is not all about doing something we love. I think that it’s a misconception that we have to do something that excites us every moment. If we did that, we would be worn out by lunch every single day.
Working happy is about:
- Relaxing with the work we are presently doing.
- Sharing our pain and joy with our co-workers.
- Fooling around and laughing up a storm every once in a while.
- Completing a tough project.
- Failing and dusting ourselves off and trying again.
- Commuting home and breathing a sigh of relief.
- Getting paid for our hard work.
- Looking back at the story we created.
Yes, we should enjoy what we do, but not all of us have the luxury at the moment. It’s really about looking at the big picture and enjoying the job for all that it is. Take a moment to enjoy those little things that are normally taken for granted.
Hope you had a great working month. If not, no big deal because you always have the next month to make it better.
A few articles from Work Happy Now that you probably will enjoy:
Accenture refused to layoff their employees when they hit a rough period because they didn’t want to go through a whole new batch of hiring and training. So they decided to pay the staff that they would have laid off 20% of their pay with benefits while they waited for the economy to bounce back. The catch was, they couldn’t work for a competitor. When the economy came back around they rehired the employees they couldn’t afford to keep.
Get right up in her face and tell her you demand leisure time. Okay, that’s a bit much, but you can probably take some leisure time without being a jerk about it. It’s as simple as taking fifteen minutes here and two minutes there. There is a reason why people are addicted to smoking and it’s not just the nicotine. They get to go outside and take a break from all the stress. I find it funny to see a group of smokers huddled on a cold day, but they’re out there because it gives them a chance to have their nicotine and leisure time.
My father owns an electrical contracting business. He built a strong company that has lasted for over 40 years. He has never advertised in his life. He went out and proved he was good and his customers referred him to other friends and contractors all over eastern Pennsylvania. Seth Godin would have been proud.
If you have enjoyed Work Happy Now please consider subscribing to the blog via RSS reader. You’ll get your daily Work Happy Now articles and tips instead of just once a month.
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I’m a fan of many blogs around the globe, but one of my favorites is Get Rich Slowly. J.D., the MC and writer extraordinaire of GRS, always impresses me with little bits of wisdom. He wrote a post, The Difference Between a Career and a Job, that articulated what Work Happy Now is all about.
“During the summer after my freshman year of college, I worked as a busboy at the Holiday Inn. I was the best busboy I could be. While the other guys stood around during slack times, I looked for ways to help in the kitchen or to prepare for the lunch rush.”
J.D. went on to say…
“As a result, I got better tips from the waitresses. The manager trained me to run the cash register. Sometimes I even got to help the pantry chef. I wasn’t looking for a career in food service, and I wasn’t trying to brown-nose. But I enjoyed the work and gave it all I had. This made the job fun, and earned respect from people who mattered: from my boss, and from his boss, the hotel manager.”
Many of us just do what we need to get by and we think that we are beating the system. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been guilty of this. All we are doing when we refuse to try our best is failing to find happiness in the work we accomplish. How did I learn enjoy my job and stop being a slacker? I searched for the positive in every task, even the small crappy ones. I developed the habit of looking for the tiniest glimmer of joy in everything that I did. Even when I’m stuffing 1,000 marketing bags at work I still find the joy in the effort.
When stuffing marketing bags I realized that I could:
- Listen to my iPod
- Dance as I did my work
- Think of grand plans that will help me in my future writing, speaking and website career. (It became a meditation on the future me.)
When my joy waned at a job that didn’t fit my personality, that’s when it was time to quit. It was as simple as understanding that I got all I could out of the job and I had to develop my skills some where else.
J.D.’s post was inspired by Trent over at The Simple Dollar and his post about the difference between a job and a career – a job being a way to just make money (putting in the time for the paycheck) and a career being a way to learn, grow and develop skills. When we look at work as time to just put in the hours then we’re feeding into our fear. We’re afraid to put in effort for the amount of return. The problem with this attitude is that work is much more than money. It’s also a way to improve ourselves. When we become disengaged, boredom sets in and makes the job torturous. Many of us also become attached to the routine and we’re afraid to leave. Fear makes the cycle go around and around.
J.D. wrapped up his post with:
“So what’s the difference between a career and a job? I don’t believe there is one. A career is simply a lifetime of jobs, whether those jobs are related or not. And while it’s important to focus on your future goals, it’s even more important to focus on doing the best you can right now at your current job.”
We all reach a certain point in every job that kills our spirit, but releasing these feelings and getting back to seeing the joy in accomplishing good work should matter more to a person. If your job doesn’t do this for you then find something that will keep you reaching for new goals. There is a career/job out there that will fulfill your needs.
It’s time to let go of the fear and start taking baby steps toward finding this new line of work, but for now try to notice one thing during the worst part of your working day that has something positive in it.
It could be:
Stepping out of your normal routine and appreciating the ability to put clear thoughts together
Taking a break to talk to a co-worker
Being in the moment and not worrying about where you should be in life, just enjoying each movement as you accomplish your task.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had and how did you make it through your days there?
Don’t forget to check out J.D.’s whole article at Get Rich Slowly.
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When you come to this site, it’s free. All of this carefully constructed information to help you maximize your work happiness is available for free! Believe me, it takes up a lot of my time. So all I’m asking in return is a small favor. Tell one friend about working happy. That’s it.
All you have to do is casually, maybe over lunch or cup of coffee, tell them about the great work we are doing together. Believe me, some of my commenters are better writers than me, so they are as much a part of this site as I am.
By telling your friends about this site you’ll be helping them enjoy their working days just a little more. The perk is they won’t just meet up with you to complain. They will actually tell you about all the cool stuff that is happening to them because they are maximizing their work happiness, instead of letting work dictate how much fun they have.
And don’t forget to tell them about the RSS feed so they can get their daily Work Happy Now tips in regular intervals.
Thanks and I appreciate your support.
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Image courtesy of Cybjorg
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