Monthly Archives: November 2010

W. O. R. K. (It’s not a dirty word!): Ten good things about work

Well, it's back to the grind - and unfortunately, I won't be able to post as often as I'd like over the next few weeks as I wrap up some exciting research and writing projects elsewhere (more on that to come, soon!).  Here's a post I wrote about the grind of work from late last year, before I started this website.  When the days get long and the work is intense, here are 10 reasons why we do it. Stay motivated and keep up the hard work, everyone!

What are your favorite (and least favorite) things about work? Why?

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W. O. R. K. (It's not a dirty word!)  Ten Good Things about WORK.

First of all, we all say it: work sucks sometimes. So many of the common complaints are about work. Work is hard.  Almost everyone utters the phrase “I hate work” at some point or another.  It's easy to sit down and list the bad things about your job  –  but often it's hard to remember the positive aspects of working. Believe it or not, there are positive aspects to having a job and doing work for someone else.  Perhaps it's time you changed the mantra from "I hate work," to something like, "work wasn't so bad today," or, "Man, I'm tired but I certainly did work hard."  Here is a list of things that are good about having a job – and ways to stay positive when you’re having a rough week.  Ten valuable things about work

1. A steady paycheck. Let’s be honest. Money is nice, and receiving a regular paycheck is an excellent way to be rewarded for what you do. Money gives you flexibility, power of decision making, the ability to consume, and it sets you on the path towards financial security.  Of course, if you’re spending all of your money, or haven’t learned how to invest wisely yet  – you probably owe it to yourself to learn a bit more about what to do with the money you have once you earn it. Still, having an income is a nice perk.

2. Meeting new people and making contacts. Throughout the course of your job, you will meet people inside and outside of your profession. Depending on the type of job you do, you may connect with the three people in your adjacent cubicles, you may be out giving client presentations on a daily basis, or you might be traveling and handing out your business cards left and right.  These people are the foundation of your work life, and they are the network that you will establish yourself in.  Enjoy meeting new people, finding out what they do, and staying open to the possibility of future interactions.

3. Learning new skills and professional development. Most careers today offer some form of continuing education, professional development, or on-site learning.  Just by working - that is, showing up every day to do a task - you are probably accruing a valuable skill set.  Keep your mind open for new opportunities to learn and ways to stay fresh in your field.  Your investment now will pay off later - perhaps in a new task, a new set of responsibilities, or even a new job opportunity in the future.

Coffee is a work-perk.

4. Benefits, bonuses and perks. Your office comes equipped with many little perks that we quickly take for granted. Even the morning coffee is a perk.   If it's an especially rough day, remember that the papertowels, the kleenex and the hand lotion in the bathroom are all small joys in today's world - you just saved $15.79 at Walgreens because your work provided these small tidbits.  Maybe it's time to smile because your boss bought you lunch again! And beyond the little items, your employer may be contributing to your 401K, stock shares or other investments, yearly bonuses, paid days off, holidays, and sick days.  Take a peek in your employee manual and review all the perks that you take for granted in your day-to-day work life.  These are things you'd be missing if you were without your corporate job  – even that morning coffee.

5. A sense of accomplishment and pride. Work gives you something to do, and no matter how long or arduous the day, you'll get to the end of it with a sense of accomplishment, frustration, happiness, or exhaustion.  Congratulations, you have just done something, and you've probably done it fairly well.

Work introduces you to great people

6. It’s what you do – a sense of identity. How do you describe to someone who you are? By telling them what you do.  For better or worse, work is something that helps shape who you are - both for yourself and to other people around you. 

7. Being part of something bigger than yourself. Work is about being a part of a larger group (or company) that together accomplishes something individuals probably cannot do alone. Being part of a business involves teamwork, collaboration, and communication.  It may take as long as 2 to 3 years into your job before you see the payoff from your daily grind.  At one point you will have a day where the project or task you're working on gets done and you can look back and reflect on all of your hard work and contributions.  New employees often jump right into the middle of a project and don't have the long-range view of what it takes for a project to reach completion.  Achieving that first milestone - and begining to see your work have an impact - can help get you out of the "I hate work" rut.  If you're still in the early months at your job, look around at your peers.  Take a look at the work that's being done in your office or with your company, and realize that no matter how small or trivial the day-to-day tasks, you are a part of a larger office that's accomplishing a great deal of work.

8. Providing a valuable service to someone. When you walk into the office today, remember that you are doing something that somebody wants. As a lifeguard, for example, you’re protecting and potentially saving lives. As a waitress, you’re catering to someone’s pleasant experience and evening out. As a green services consultant, you’re helping "Mr. Smith" contribute to a greener, more sustainable world. Every time you perform your service – no matter what service it is that you do – you are doing something that someone else wants.

9. Helping capitalism – and the economy – go 'round. If it’s macroeconomics that really gets you going, perhaps you can stay motivated by knowing your work efforts – your daily spending, the tax dollars the government takes out of your paycheck, the miles you drive in your car, and the work you do for others – puts money back into our economy and funds government services such as infrastructure, education and unemployment insurance. So, congrats! You just helped build a road.

10. Work gives you something to talk about. If nothing else, work gives you something to talk about.  When you leave at the end of the day, whether you hit up a bar, head home, or meet up with up with folks, you will eventually talk about the things you did during the day.  "What did you do today?" is one of the most popular questions in our country, probably right after the famous "what do you do?" question used between people who are being introduced for the first time.  Whether you talk about a boss you hate, a silly co-worker, or the dreadfully boring task you're assigned to, you'll probably spend a lot of your time talking about your job.  The good news? At least you have something to talk about.

Happy working everyone! and 10 cheers for work.

What are your favorite things about your job? What are your least favorite? If you're new to water falling upwards, and liked this post, you can subscribe to receive new posts here.

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