What is your view of work? Do you believe it is something you must struggle through in order to get paid? Or, do you think there should be at least some level of enjoyment along the way?
If you’ve noticed the domain that hosts this blog, you know my view.
When I came up with the concept of “Work Should Be Fun”, I knew I was onto something. I knew I was headed in the right direction. How? Because I received a lot of pushback.
People told me, “Oh, that’s too strong. Sure, work CAN be fun. But, should? I don’t know. That seems kind of crazy.”
At the time this started, I was still in an office job. I made no secret of my philosophy. Not everyone agreed with me. It even became somewhat of a running joke among my peers.
When we were experiencing a particularly difficult day, they’d look at me and ask, “Is this the fun part?”
I was reminded of this the other day as I was working on a project in my basement. It wasn’t going especially well. I was frustrated. There might have been a few expletives expressed. My wife said, “But, you’re having fun, right?”
In other words, “Is this the fun part?”
How we deal with work challenges is a choice. How we deal with everyday disappointments is a choice.
We will have disappointments. Work will present challenges. Life will not go according to our plans. We can’t avoid it. But, we do have a choice in how we react.
In that moment of frustration, I had a choice. Would I throw my tools across the basement in disgust and anger? Or would I step back and allow myself to laugh at the situation? And find the willingness to try again?
Surely you’ve heard, “Life is a journey, not a destination.”
Which do you enjoy more, the journey or the destination?
I think the answer can be both. Sometimes one drives the other.
Consider being on a journey toward a destination you are not eager to reach. That doesn’t mean we can’t have fun along the way. If we have enough fun along the journey, we might even forget we didn’t want to get to the destination.
Sometimes the destination is so enticing we’ll do anything to reach it.
Have you ever had one of those rare trips where both the journey and the destination were enjoyable? Count yourself as one of the lucky ones.
When I was a software engineer, I loved the act of coding. The journey itself was fun.
What I do now is more destination driven. This is the “eyes on the prize” model. The end result is so desirable that we will tolerate whatever it takes to achieve it.
The amount of time and effort required to get to the fleeting moment an entertainer gets to spend on stage would probably surprise you. Some of that “journey” work is fun. Some not so much. But, it is worth it. Absolutely worth it.
There will always be aspects of our work that we find less fun than others. We might even find some tasks to be downright distasteful.
I know musicians (and speakers and magicians and ventriloquists…) who hate to practice, but love to perform. I also know musicians who love to practice, but don’t enjoy performing in public. Reality check. No one is going to pay you to practice. You must perform. Likewise, no one is going to pay you to perform if you don’t practice.
I know people in the office who love meetings, and people who despise meetings.
As for me? I hate doing the sales part of my business. But, if I don’t sell, I don’t get to perform, or speak, or coach. Without sales, there is no business.
I know people who love to sell. Someday maybe I will find a way to enjoy that part. Or, more likely, hire one of those who loves to sell, but can’t imagine being on a stage. We’ll both be able to enjoy the journey. In the meantime, I slog through it with eyes on the prize.
How about you?
Do you enjoy the tasks involved in your work? Are you enjoying the journey?
Or are you more motivated by the destination? Do you slog your way through tasks you dislike because you know the result is worth it?
Pick one, or both.
If it’s neither, if you are not enjoying the journey or the destination, if it’s been a long time since you’ve been able to say, “This. This right here. This is the fun part.” you might be due for a change. You might need a new job. You might need a new attitude. You might need both.
Either way, remember…
Work Should Be Fun.
And so should life.