Yesterday I read a crazy figure when I was reading one the many studies the BBC likes to
report on, this one had to do with a scale of happiness at the workplace within varying countries. The United States figure immediately caught my eye. A little more googling returned numbers that were quite startling. Some figures reported as high as 80% workplace unhappiness. Does this sound crazy to anyone? Why should we all be this seriously unhappy five days a week just to work for the weekend?
Before I begin you need to understand that I've been through 17 jobs in under 8 years. Every job had its shortcoming. Some paid to little, some too monotonous, others downright boring and rigid. Through all of it though I never settled for less. If I didn't enjoy my job I had no regrets leaving and would part my ways. Why should I spend the rest of my life miserable at a job I didn't enjoy and waste 5 days a week of my life for? My life and what I do during it is very important to me because I only have one. Thankfully I gave a beer to a man who understood me.
- Autonomy, Mastery, & Purpose - You've maybe seen these three words running around as it's highlighted by a popular book called Drive. It's well done and proves some excellent points on how to find happiness in the work place and promote creativity. For first the time ever I'm allowed to be autonomous in the work place. My day to day is largely decided by me, I figure out the best route to complete my work, and I'm allowed to stop and start as I please. I'm also given the opportunity to explore the program and concentrate on what I'm genuinely interested in by myself. I'm never told what I need to do but asked what I want to do. But best of all I'm allowed to explore my larger self-purpose. I help small business succeed with my skill set in QuickBooks, I ski five days a week to climb and ski down mountains to challenge myself physically and mentally, I can even endlessly bike to my hearts content in the summer when I want. These activities give me greater purpose in this world. If you ask why lets just talk it over a beer if you're in Salt Lake.
- Life & Work Balance - Everything I do in life is a balance. Too much skiing and I'll grow sick of it, too much
work and I'm liable to go insane. By working from home I'm able to smoothly transition from one to the other as I feel. I never feel as though I'm putting a costume on just to head to work and taking it off when I'm back at home. Each day makes me feel free as I'm filling constantly filling my day up with activities I genuinely enjoy.
- Proper Pay - One of the first few questions I got from my future boss was what I needed to make to live and feel comfortable. I knew what it was immediately and told it to him straight. He could only agree because it was my base line and met what he was expecting to pay a new employee. But, without meeting my baseline why should I work for him? Money would always be an issue and a point of contention if he couldn't meet it. My base line pay has been met for me to live and enjoy the activities that give me purpose.
- Co-Workers - The culture fostered by the small team thus far has made it a massive selling point to sticking around. We can all relate to similar life stories, our personal goals are easily interchangeable, and we just understand each other. Because of this my comfort levels with my co-workers are high. I can easily engage in casual conversation about work and feel that my opinion on the matter is well received and respected.
- Love What You Do - When I tell people I'm a bookkeeper I tend to get a crooked face from most. You enjoy working on numbers all day? Yeah, I do, I wouldn't do it if I didn't. It brings me great personal satisfaction to know what I'm doing for a small business or individual greatly impacts their financial health and allows them to succeed. Finding greater purpose again is key, to discovering this.
Ok, best job ever for me, but are there negatives? Yeah, but I know how to manage them. Do they rear their ugly head sometimes? Sure, but it's a welcome challenge and keeps life interesting. If everything were too easy it wouldn't be fun anymore. Dancin' Homer over here found the big stage to be too much, his small roots were perfect for him, he certainly found his balance, you can to.