Ways to Make Work Really Come Through
Sometimes it’s all natural, the job just works on its own for you and your employer. You have a position that fits your skills, you enjoy your co-workers, and the rest of life seems to be going OK too.
Other times, the days seem long, longer, and longest and you definitely need to regroup.
Author, Daniel H. Pink, offers some tips in Wired to help all of us figure out what’s going on, and what to do about it. He talks about a Harvard couple, professor Teresa Amabile and her husband, psychologist, Steven Kramer, who went through 12,000 journal entries to get to the key info on what makes us want to come to work every day.
They tell us it is all worth it when we can see we are making progress in a job that is worthwhile.
I have seen this in the eyes of scientists who simply lose track of time as they probe their research and dig deeper into their experiments. They happily put in a 12 hour day and still have energy to talk about their work on the way home. I have seen it in the happy smiles of teachers who really feel their kids got the message and are moving ahead. One special friend of mine taught for several years in the junior college system and devised all sorts of ways to motivate his students, who were also working part-time jobs, to help support their families
At the beginning of the semester he made it is his job to ‘read them’ and then singled them out for the attention, challenges or praise that they needed, blending the class together and moving the kids forward toward their futures. I called him “Professor Bird” because he wanted them all to fly. It is that sort of job involvement that makes work its own reward.
If you look around you can see this almost anywhere as people work with kids, adults, machinery, ideas or services. They might turn up leading the best kitchen in town, in a hospital as the nurse everybody remembers, or in a design studio as the one everybody looks for first. Each time you can be sure they know they are making progress and their work counts
Look for that reaction and learn from those people.
Ask yourself if that is true for you, and if it is not, figure out ways to make it happen. You might find yourself remodeling your job so that you are contributing more of your best skills, taking special classes or using workshops to advance your efforts and ideas, or trying more one on one discussions with receptive bosses and great co-workers to get the feedback you need.
However it works out, every one will know when you find it. You will be wearing a smile more times than not.