• Bruce Malcom

I Love My Job

Confucius said, "Man who loves what he does, never does a day's work in his life."

Have you ever heard someone say, "I love my job"?

Since, on average, we work 88,000 hours in a lifetime (age 21 to 65 at 40 hours per week) do you think it's actually possible to love what we do? Do you know someone who does?

Often conversations at work go more like this: "When I win the lottery, I'm outta here." or "TGIF."  

"I always try to go the extra mile at work, but my boss always finds me and brings me back."

Imagine, for a moment, that you are unhappy with your work, and that you have just been offered any job you want, with no limitations. Think about what job you would choose under such circumstances. The occupation you select is undoubtedly the job you should be doing right now!

Too many of us do what we do either because we must, or because we feel we have no choice. My own father, for example, always dreamed of being a teacher. He never achieved his dream. He let circumstances and convention (a married man with children can't just do what he wants to do, he must do what he must do) determine his future. Sadly, he would have made a wonderful teacher!

Several years ago, I remember meeting a lawyer, Leland, in his early fifties. When I asked him how long he had been practicing law, he surprised me by answering, "A year-and-a-half"! I quizzed him about why a man his age was just beginning a new career, he told me this story:  

When I was 42-years-old, I was with my brother at a back yard B-B-Q. We got around to talking about regrets and I said that I had always wished I had been a lawyer. My brother replied, “Well why don't you do it then?" I responded that, with my kids to raise, I could only go to school part-time, so by the time I finished I would be 52-years-old. It was then that my brother spoke some of the wisest words I'd ever heard. He said, Leland, one way or the other, if you stay healthy, you will be 52 ten years from now. All you have to decide is, do you want to be 52 having realized your dream or do you want to be 52 still wishing you were a lawyer?" The next day, I enrolled in law school and - here I am.

Clearly, some people should look for a way to do what they ought to be doing. They should leave what they are doing and do what they love. Others of us should find new ways of putting more passion into what we are doing now. 

"Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work."

-- Aristotle

It would be a safe assumption that people who love their jobs and don't just show-up for a paycheck are finding significance in their work because they are engaged (

we can define this as actively participating at work above and beyond 'the call of duty').

Research by Gallup [i]shows that engaged employees are more productive. They are more cost-effective, more customer-focused, safer and more likely to withstand the many temptations to leave. The best organizations have a strategy for employee engagement that is tied to the achievement of corporate goals.

The Three Types of Municipal Employees

1. Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their municipality. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.

2. Disengaged employees have essentially 'checked out'. They sleepwalk through their workday, putting in time but not energy or passion.

3. Actively Disengaged employees aren't just unhappy at work; they are busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers attempt to undermine the efforts of their engaged coworkers. 

Gallup[ii] has identified six psychological factors that must be present in order for employees to feel engaged in their work:

Role Clarity: Employees know what is expected of them at work. 

Talent Utilization: Workers have opportunities to use their talents in their roles every day.

Recognition: Employees receive recognition regularly and feel cared about. 

Communication: Workers receive ongoing feedback about their performance and have regular progress discussions.

Bonding: Employees have strong bonds with their coworkers.

Development: Employees have opportunities to learn and grow. 

"Where talents and the needs of the world cross, therein lies your vocation." --Aristotle

Sometimes we think we would be happiest lying on a beach doing nothing, but the truth is, we are happiest when we are doing something useful and, better still, something we feel passionate about.

"WARNING TO ALL PERSONNEL: Firings will continue until morale improves..."    - Anonymous [i] Gallup Study: Engaged Employees Inspire Company Innovation



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