It’s here. A glorious new theme for Work Happy Now. (If you are reading this in a blog reader than click here to check it out.) It’s all about baby steps. This baby of a blog has just taken its first step, taking off the training wheels if you will permit me to use a cliché phrase. It’s ready to become a big boy and sit on the potty and do great work all by himself.
A gross visual that helps you see where I’m taking this blog. To the next level. I’m all about the Seth Godin drip effect. Slowly and surely I’m encouraging all of you to love a little Work Happy Now every single day. Giving so many brilliant ideas that you’ll keep coming back.
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.
Articles Related to Improving Your Career:
- Your 3 Careers – Are You Ready?
- Building Your Future Career Foundation
- When You Get Rich Slowly You Can Work Happier
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is my work bliss.
there is no me.
Your joy is mine and it is why I go on.
Idea courtesy of Liz Strauss
You will probably have 3 distinct career phases by the time you are done (it starts with your first job and ends when you kick the bucket). Many people are living into their 80’s and 90’s. The children born today may live to an average of 100 years old. Our medicine is getting scary good.
That may mean that we could have 70 or more working years before we feel like stopping. That’s a lot of time to be prosperous. I don’t know about you, but I can’t see myself sitting in a rocking chair, sipping lemonade and waiting for death. I want to be productive for as long as my mind and body will allow.
A professor emeritus of biochemistry and biophysics, Britton Chance says, “Most of the people who work on cognitive deficits realize that it’s better to use it than to lose it.” – Emily Brandon of U.S. News
Understanding your career time-frame will allow you to pick and choose the skills that are needed now to make the rest of your life successful. Paul Newman (1925 – 2008) is my favorite example. He started out in the Navy, wanting to be a pilot. His physical revealed that he was colorblind. He went on to be a radioman and a gunner for the Navy. He finished his tour in WWII and went on to study acting. His second career was acting and directing and he starred in films such as Cool Hand Luke (1967), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), and The Color of Money (1986). For his third career he decided to give back by creating a non-profit organic line of food, Newman’s Own. He has donated over $250 million to charity as of February 2008. It’s this activity, I believe, that gave him the strength to fight cancer as long as he did and continue his great work. Without a cause to there is no reason to live. I wish him all the best in his next life.
When you are at the beginning of each career you must ask yourself “Why?” before you do anything. If you are going to school for art, then why are you doing it? If you are doing it for fun then so be it, but you must always be aware of how it fits into the “present you” and “future you.” You must appreciate the choices that you make now so it builds on the foundation you have already established. You may think you want to be a famous sculptor, but if all you do is ride your mountain bike every weekend then you must take a hard look at what you think you want compared to what really interests you.
Every choice becomes a part of who you are. From your friends to your hobbies, they all influence your decisions.
1st Career Phase – Discovery
The 1st job is usually in the late teens, which is about getting your feet wet. There will probably be plenty of jobs between the first and the one that actually allow you to optimize your talents.
My first job was with my father as an electrician’s helper. I ran wire, wired in fans and did what I was told. Next, I moved on to K-mart as a cashier. Then back with my father and mushroom mongering (picking wild mushrooms and selling them to local restaurants). Then I took a job in media buying. Next, I tried telemarketing miniature leather saddles to a list of old buyers. (Yep, it was as bad as it sounds.) After that I was a marketing coordinator for “high pressure” valve company. Then I worked as a teacher and in the summers I managed a cyber-café. My next job was a front desk receptionist at a Yoga Studio. Then a part-time handyman. Finally, a marketing coordinator for a credit union. Now…
2nd Career Phase – Optimization
The 2nd career is about hitting your stride. It’s when you know you’ve found that job that you are good at, pays well, or feels exciting. Of course we want the second career to provide all three of these, but that’s not always the case if we get lazy about making our career fit our needs.
My 2nd career is just beginning. I’m trying to leverage myself into the career development industry, making myself an expert in the field. At 32 I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on how I can accomplish this. As you can see this website has already helped me declare my commitment to career development for people who love their lives.
3rd Career Phase – Giving Back
The 3rd career is about giving back to the things and people you love. That may mean giving your grandchildren the love and attention that they deserve. It may mean counseling businesses to optimize their talent. Whatever it is, it’s all about giving back to show appreciation for the life that we’ve enjoyed.
My 3rd career is still foggy. I know that I want to retire in my late fifties and hopefully live a simple life with a nice little plot of land. I’m going to give back by helping people with their careers. I hope that they can be as happy and successful as I feel right now and expect to be in the future.
Your career success depends on leverage. It’s the most important aspect to building your foundation. Without leverage you’ll most likely receive terrible pay and work awful hours. That’s why a lot of college students are stuck working at Pizza Hut. They haven’t mastered the skills to leverage their work and enhance their career.
A college degree isn’t always a necessity and you can leverage your career in many ways. Some of you will be creative and others will take advantage of the family business already in place. Others will learn how to build a network to help get a job out of college that fits your needs.
Use Leverages to Build Your Career Foundation
Your family members may have already built a network that you can feed off of if they let you. My brother went into business with my father – electrical contracting. They work hard, but make a good living. My brother will eventually take over the business and he’ll have all the client relationships that have been built up for the past 40 years.
Build a Network
You’ll need patience and persistence to build your network, but if your passion is strong enough this won’t feel like work. I’m working on building my network by trying to help as many people on-line and off-line as I can. I’ve created a brand for myself and every day it helps me bring more awareness to my site and my potential business.
Emotions are what transforms a product that is “just useful” into a breakaway success. Look at your favorite artists – you probably love them more than most of your friends. For example (let’s have a little fun) if your favorite musician was drowning out in the middle of the sea along with your 7th favorite friend (the one that you sometimes enjoy being around, but a lot of times they get really annoying). All you have is a little kayak. You can only save one; who would it be? You don’t have to tell me in the comments, but I think that we all know who you would pick. When you can create a product or service that people love, then you can even mess up a customer’s order and still come out smelling like a new iPhone. Although I don’t think you’ll make mistakes on purpose to prove my point, but if you do and they truly love you, they’ll just keep coming back for more.
If you graduate from Yale compared to West Chester University you’ll have a lot more doors open to you. It’s up to the individual to work hard and make a difference, but it’s a lot easier to succeed when the company knows that you are smart enough to graduate from such a prestigious university.
How You Look (Sex Appeal)
We are a society based around sex. Taller men often get the CEO positions. Prettier women may get pushed up the ladder because we want to be around beautiful people. If they don’t have what it takes, it will eventually come out and they’ll crash and burn, but if they can leverage themselves to the top and learn the skills necessary to be successful then they’ll probably able to build a pretty solid career.
Having talent is the least important factor on this list. You may have all the talent in the world, but if you can’t finish projects then it doesn’t matter. In the end what matters is producing the results. I’ve seen talented young kids come into an organization and they just don’t have what it takes to make a sale. They talk a big game and can make some pretty cool PowerPoint presentations, but that’s it. Talent is the weakest leverage, but one we still need. When you can use your network to build your rapport and your passion to push toward your goals then your talent will allow you to shine when you need to “wow” the customer.
Plan of Attack
You must gain an understanding of who you are and what you want to accomplish to make your dreams come true. That’s why you should use your first career as a way to discover what you like and how you want to go about accomplishing your goals. I had a friend who planned his retirement at age 25. He went to a personal financial advisor, was open and honest about his finances and his potential earnings, and decided that with intense self-discipline that age 48 would be his retirement goal. A retirement lifestyle that would fulfill his needs was within his grasp if his plan was properly executed.
If you aren’t this anal then please don’t feel stressed that you don’t have every year of your career planned out. But you do need to have a plan of attack that will allow you succeed. Hitting certain age milestones can feel painful if a system was never put in place to ensure achievement that will meet your goals.
1st Career: Use this time to understand what you want out of life.
When starting your first career, don’t worry about sticking around to build that 401k. If your company has one please contribute in to this plan, but don’t force yourself to stay with the company for another year just so you can get 20% more invested in your return. Your knowledge and network is so much more important than a few thousand dollars. So try working in retail, an office, surf shop, and maybe even a small side business to see what owning your own business is like. Do whatever it takes to help you discover your hidden talents and passions.
I could have gone into business with my father and brother or stayed at the valve company and I probably would have been ready to retire by age 50 if I was careful with my money, but it wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to explore new career horizons. There is such a wide range of careers to be discovered and enjoyed.
2nd Career: Use this time to optimize your talents and connect with as many people in your field as time and energy will allow.
When have had the opportunity to try many different jobs, hobbies, and possibilities then start to take note of what you enjoy and how you may fit it into a career. Maybe 10% of you will find that perfect job right out of school, but most of you will continue to explore and you’ll never stop discovering until your needs are fulfilled.
Many of you may want to take the conventional approach to finding a career, but I know a lot of you will want to carve your own niche out. I’m in the process of creating my network so I can use it to leverage my writing and speaking career. This may seem like too much of a hassle or just silly, but to me it makes sense. I don’t want to go back for my Master’s degree. I want to open doors with my persistence, talent, and network.
3rd Career: Use this time to slow down and give back to the community that has helped support you.
Eventually you will hit a point when you’ll feel tired of doing the same thing every day. Well most of you will. Some of you may work all the way to your grave, and that’s okay too. However, many of us will move on to that third career to take life a little slower, smell the roses if you want an overused expression to help make my point.
I’ve talked to dozens of people and they want their 2nd career to gradually come to a close. They don’t want to be working 50 hour weeks then suddenly one day just stop and piddle around in their garage. They want to ease out slowly and transition into retirement. If you are close to this position then you must be willing to talk to your employer about this (This is where owning your own business has it’s perk. It’s your choice to keep working if that’s what you would like). My friend’s grandfather, 85, still works with his son in the furniture business. He doesn’t just want to sit around all day and do nothing. He wants to help his son build the business even larger. He works four hours a day from 10 – 2 and still makes sales, contacts, and money that he doesn’t even need. The mornings and evenings are slow and lazy and that’s just the way he likes it.
I truly believe a happy 3rd career is about giving back to the community and people you love and respect. There is just too much knowledge and love in most of us to just give up and sit in front of the TV. It’s up to each of us to create this for ourselves. This won’t fall in our lap.
Your 3 Careers
If you can plant the seed now you can create a life that will fulfill you way into your 90’s. That’s my prayer to you for today. I actually have a personal prayer that I send out to all of my readers every day. Yesterday’s was, “I pray that you are having a more enjoyable day than me.”
Praying for future happiness is good, but planning it out and taking action to make it happen will make all three of your careers flourish.
Articles related to Career fulfillment:
- 5 Fun and Easy Tips to Let the “Real You” Shine Through at Work, Southwest Airlines Style
- Never Stop Expanding Your Network
- Give Employees the Power to Impress Customers
- Lucky You!
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Almost every detailed task, topic, or report is harder than it initially exposes itself to be. It always takes more time and more effort. This happens because our thoughts are fluid. We imagine ourselves working hard and everything magically coming together, when in reality we come across many obstacles that suck away our energy and creativity.
Our energy is what fools us into trying for the impossible. No one wants to be viewed as a fool. We look at those first couple of weeks of American Idol and we wonder why most of them even try. They wait in line for hours only to be laughed at.
By understanding our strengths and weaknesses, we can maximize our success. Do those awful singers really know how bad they are? I believe that most of them are fooled by what they want to see. They only listen to the people that praise every note they sing. They are tricking themselves into believing their talent will take them to great fame and fortune.
It’s Easier to Believe a Dream than the Truth
If we are going to enjoy what we do and make a living at it, we will need to understand which are real dead ends and which look like dead ends. We must separate the impossible illusions from achievable reality to make success easier. This concept has been a thorn in many people’s sides. We’ll explore why many of us, myself included, keep failing and trying something new over and over again, but never break through to real success. We will then learn how to avoid this trap and excel at what we love to do.
Where is Your Motivation?
Everyone fails, whether it be your hard working father or Bill Gates. They fail in small ways every day, but they put it behind them and try a little harder the next day. They know that there is a learning curve to every new thing. The smarter they work the more successful they become. They are able to align their talents with their passions.
Let’s say you have tried to write a book. If you are like most people you’ve probably started one and never finished it. (If you haven’t, you can substitute book for some other very difficult creative project.) You probably had a brilliant idea and got all excited. Then you hit your first wall. You put it aside and never came back.
If you ever tried writing a novel your motivation probably got stuck when trying to tie the character’s first adventure into the next. The scene becomes a story and you have to account for character synthesis, plot, and story line. The difficulty level increases exponentially. This is a common problem. Then you try to get yourself to sit back down and continue writing, but you just never can find the desire to make it happen. Maybe it’s a significant other or another grand project that demands your attention. Whatever it is, that initial excitement fades.
When you finally have some time to really think about the book you wanted to write, you decide your time is better spent somewhere else. Maybe it’s that good book that you always wanted to read or the fear of getting stuck again that distracts you from your initial burst of creative energy. It doesn’t matter. You make a conscious decision to fail because the project isn’t worth your time.
How To Let Go Of Your Expectations
Failure is such a harsh word, so we’ll call it a release. You released that project because the motivation was gone. This is a good thing. I’ve started hundreds of projects in my life and probably finished 10% of them. Not every project should be finished; actually most should be released. If you are anything like me (ADD gifted) you probably have many interests, and although it’s fun to dabble, it is usually when a project gets more difficult that it pushes you to give up.
Most of us couldn’t fathom training to climb Mount Everest for a year or two then taking the risk to reach the summit. Why would someone do this?
It doesn’t pay out gobs of money; in fact it costs a lot of money and time to make it all happen. I believe a person does this for two main reasons.
- They want to challenge themselves in ways that will help them understand who they are.
- Social status – If I’m honest and understand that it’s okay to appease the ego for the right reasons then I admit that it probably does feel good to tell people the story of climbing one of the most treacherous mountains in the world.
When we push ourselves past our comfort threshold we become stronger. This can lead to happiness. Not because of the obvious accomplishment, reaching the peak, but because it changes our outlook. We see life differently after we write a book or climb Mount Everest. It gives us a glimpse into our greatness. We all know that we are great, but we don’t believe it until we do something so difficult and exciting that it changes us forever. The problem that occurs when we fail is that our ego takes a hit. We become afraid.
Fear dictates our future choices. We don’t want to be perceived as the William Hung of what we love to do. We want to succeed. We want to succeed so bad that it holds us down. The difficult part is understanding when to let go and when to dig deeper and go for it all.
3 Questions You Must Ask Yourself to Understand When to Let Go or Push Through
I designed a three step process to help you understand your fear, release it and make the smart decision to continue with the project or let it go and try something else. First you must find a quiet place to be with your thoughts. Then…
1. Ask yourself, “Why am I really doing this?”
We fool ourselves into thinking that we are doing something because we want to accomplish an audacious goal, but in reality we may be doing it for someone else. You have to do some soul searching and make sure that you really want to accomplish this goal. If you do then move on to step 2. If even the thought of continuing the project makes you cringe then don’t even think another second about it, just release it; it’s not worth your time. Down deep you know that it isn’t in your best interest to tackle the project.
2. Where is the excitement coming from?
Are you working on your project and it gets that little spot in your gut excited, or are you doing it because you have to? When you can honestly answer that it feels good then you move on to step 3. If you aren’t excited about the project then there is no reason to stick with it, but be careful. Don’t throw away two years of work because you are in a grumpy mood. Let these thoughts settle, talk to a close friend or family member, and if the excitement is still gone then release it.
3. How does this project fit into the future you?
Part A: This is the last step that most people leave off. Let’s use the novel example. You may want to write a book, but are you doing it because you have something to say or are you doing it because you want the results of having a published book? More than 90% of books that are published each year fail in the publishers eyes because they don’t make enough money to cover the cost of printing and marketing the book, but it won’t be a failure to the writer that has larger plans. He knows that it will take work to market this book and he does it because he wants to help others. He knows it takes years to build an audience and he isn’t going anywhere any time soon so he may as well work his butt off to get that book up and running. The hard work fits into his goal for his future.
Part B: If you are doing work for someone else, you may not like it but you must ask yourself, “Is this helping the ‘future me’?” So when your boss asks you to do a certain project do you usually feel appreciated after it’s complete and do you also feel like it will help your career? If the answer “yes,” then that’s great, but if you are doing it all for the paycheck then maybe it’s time to drop that dead end job (even if you are making good money). Next week we’ll go into more detail about how your career pursuits affect your future.
Part C: If you like to paint and it’s only a hobby then the stress won’t overwhelm you. The desire to paint isn’t as powerful and you may go weeks without picking up a brush, but you can enjoy each stroke that you create because you are doing it to relax your thoughts. It fits into the “future you” because you want to create in a “stress free” state of mind.
Here’s Where Your Focus Kicks In
Some of you keep starting new websites, jobs, books, and the like because you want to keep that excitement going. As soon as your energy fades you’re jumping to that next thing.
This is where you have to get your emotional weight scales out. If a new idea pops into your head, please jot down a few notes, let the idea come out, but then let it rest for a few days. Then compare your most important project to this new idea and try to feel which one has more potential. This may seem difficult, but the best way to figure this out is to ask yourself which gets you more excited. If it matches with the one that has the most potential then it’s an easy choice. If one of your projects gets you excited, but the other has more potential then you need to go back to question 1 to break the tie. Ask yourself why you are switching from one project to another. If you are doing it because you are bored then switch to the more exciting project, but if you are doing it because you are frustrated then it’s time to dig a little deeper by doing some more research or asking a friend for help so you can get a fresh angle. Finishing a creative project is the most difficult step because there is no finish line. That’s why you must resist doing too many things at once. Your focus must stay close to the project or you’ll lose track of its direction.
One Big Project at a Time
You should only have one big project on your plate at a time. It’s important to get it up and running, let it get some energy underneath it and have a life of its own. Now that this blog has a good base of articles I have split my attention to other areas. I’m constantly coming back to the site, but I can focus on another big project and get that up and running. The hard part for us ADD workers is picking a few projects to juggle and not stretching ourselves too thin, which waters down the value. As soon as you feel this happening then you need to drop the weakest project like a hot potato. Burned fingers and scattered thoughts make for added frustration. Just try to forget about it and concentrate on the one plan that has the most potential. If the weaker idea has enough lasting value, you’ll come back to it, if not, then it’s time to release it.
No project, relationship, or challenge can be considered a failure if it helps the person improve his/her life in some way. I’m on my fourth book and in some people’s eyes these past projects might be failures. They aren’t published, and in many writers’ expectations that’s a failure, but to me they are stepping stones to a smarter and stronger me. I’m building my talents to bring value to people’s lives.
You need to work on projects that will bring a smarter and stronger you into the present. The more you try and fail, the stronger you’ll get. The more you try and succeed, the smarter you’ll get. You put both of those traits together and you’ll be building a successful career that’s going to make you happy.
Next week I will post about how to apply these feelings to your career. We’ll look at our careers and see why they’ve led us to this position in life and when it’s time to quit, dig deeper or accept our position and find happiness and excitement somewhere else.
What was your most important reason for sticking with a difficult project? When do you know that you’ve hit a dead end on a bad project and it needs to be released? Let’s continue the discussion in the comment section.
Articles to help you understand your career happiness:
- You Should be Celebrating Your Average and Tiny Successes
- Building Your Future Career Foundation
- Notice the Every Day WOW
Image courtesy of M Dot
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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:
- Productivity at its Most Effective – When It’s Easy to Apply to Your Life
- 7 Awesome Lessons from Bill Gates – Love Him or Hate Him, He is a Genius
- The Google Slide
Image courtesy of aussiegall
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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.
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Image courtesy of JanneM
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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.
Related Articles on Career Advice:
Image courtesy of pwinn
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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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