The things we love and hate about work
I work in a multinational where there is a sincere effort to help people enjoy our work, for the simple reason that people who enjoy their jobs are more productive and creative. It’s been pretty successful.
A lot of the focus has been on collaboration, friendliness and respect for each other. You’d think you can’t force these, but when you consciously promote managers who display these traits and get rid of those who don’t, you end up with a genuinely collaborative culture. To give a bland example, we recently had a discussion about saying “thank you” appropriately. How many people feel that their work is unappreciated because they get no thanks? You would be amazed how much of a difference it makes if you do it right. For example, after a meeting, you go up to the person who helped you with the logistics and say, “Thank you; everything was just what we needed!”
One of the secrets of being happy in your work is doing something you’re interested in, so that the reward is in the job itself and not just in the remuneration. If you’re not in that situation, it sounds like a crazy pipe dream. But many people are.
Obvious examples are professional athletes: they work hard but would not change what they do for the world. But you also see teachers, nurses, soldiers, writers, journalists, doctors, farmers and others who just love what they do so much that they would keep working even if they were offered their salary without having to work.
I work in research and development, and for many of us the job feels more like a well-paid PhD project. It’s not “fun fun fun” every minute of the day, but what is? Sometimes there is pressure to deliver something urgent, but there is a lot of satisfaction in doing cutting-edge science and having the resources to get the best equipment, attend conferences, read and write technical papers and so on.
I encourage anyone who has a passion for science to study science or engineering – not because you’ll necessarily get rich but because you’ll give yourself the best chance of finding a job that will challenge and interest you. usosined