Are we having fun yet?
This month we’re writing about fun at work here at PIC. I know, I know, sounds like a non-sequitor, but bear with me.
First, a discussion of fun on the job has to be separated into two camps. There is the phony forced fun of the annual Christmas party (the “holiday” all you PC freaks are celebrating is Christmas, so get over it..), the company picnic and the like versus actual real fun.
If you’re smart and/or lucky you’ll have nothing to do with planning forced fun.
But what of the second type? Can you actually enjoy your work?
Yes Virginia it seems you can.
What I’ve noticed about people who have fun in their labor is that its indifferent to the environment, work, hours, conditions, etc. Having fun at work really boils down to three things:
- enjoying your coworkers
- respecting your boss
- buying into the mission
The beauty of this simple framework is that it applies to any situation. White collar, blue collar, independent contractor, hourly worker, etc. If you can get all three things to sync up, you’re going to enjoy your job. You’re going to have fun at work.
Okay, so what does this mean?
Let’s start at the top. Don’t even consider working for organizations whose mission you either don’t understand or resonate with. Yes, I know we all need to make a buck: been there, done that. But sooner or later as you develop your career you’l also develop sensitivity to what you really care about. Deep down inside. Look for workplaces that embody that mission.
Next, recognize all bosses can teach you something but few bosses will earn your respect. When you find one of those leverage that relationship, learn form that person and know that you’re in a special zone of working with a good boss. One you can respect. Importantly, we need to respect our immediate boss not an amorphous “management”. If you see a manager in your workplace who has the respect of their team learn from association or better yet, find a way to get on her team.
Finally, our co-workers. In the healthiest workplaces coworkers operate with assurance, respect and they actually laughed out loud typically at their own foibles. They’re not snarky, greedy or steeped in bad political machinations [hey, like my friend Ed says, I don’t mind if you’re going to be political at work, just be good at it] or overly concerned with their own ego. If you find co-workers who bring out the best in you – mutual respect, trust, admiration – you hang onto that group. That’s a good bunch and you’ll enjoy them
That’s it. Fun at work isn’t driven from external perks a lá Google, nor forced corporate good times or anything else. If you can achieve the trifecta of elements identified here, you too will have fun at work.