The article, “Four keys to happiness in your job” by Gary S., a CEO of oDesk spoke on what a person needs to thrive in their career. To me, all the factors were pretty self-explanatory and even common sense: impact, growth and development, financial reward and work-life balance.
What got my attention wasn’t the content of the article itself, but the comment a man named Kevin Rockwell left in response. “Nonsense to your 4 points…Most people could care less about what kind of impact they’re going to have on the world, their growth and development within the company, or for the flipping work-life balance. Geez, that last one is ridiculous. People want to pay their bills… Here’s a suggestion, Gary – one night this week sit down with your family to a dinner of noodles with cream of mushroom soup as a sauce and a side of pinto beans. Then get back to me about how important your four points are.”
Regardless of who I agree with, this debate sparked my curiosity and caused me to ask some questions around the office. One coworker in particular surprised me when I asked him if he cared about the impact his job made on the world. The man I asked is one of those fit, All-American men with a cheerful disposition, a happy family at his remodeled home and a job that he’s good at. But when I asked him my question, he stared at me with a stumped look. He said he had never thought about it. He said that as long as his impact and integrity at home were positive, he didn’t care about his job.
Why are the two not intertwined, I asked. Well, I guess they are, he said. He then went on to describe a past job at a large corporation you’re quite familiar with where he made lots of money but he hated every second of it. For you Harry Potter fans, he compared his workplace to Azkaban and his coworkers to dementors. He was literally drained of happiness.
Obviously we work because we need to pay our bills, but beyond that, shouldn’t we work because we enjoy it, we’re good at it, and we care about what we produce? From serving tables to protecting the President, we all have a role to play and when a person is doing his or her best at all hours of a day, expressing fully his or her values and beliefs in a consistent manner, a habit is forged that produces character. Life becomes integrated. What is held to be true, good, and virtuous in one setting . . . is true, good, and virtuous in ALL settings. There is no switching from “work mode” or “work values” to “home mode” and “home values.”
What do you think? Have you thought about these keys to happiness before? Do you care about how your work and home life integrate with each other?