Is work love made visible? I think the answer, in many cases is yes. How else do you explain the deliciousness of fresh baked bread? A beautifully landscaped yard? A perfectly structured jacket?
Of course there are many people who work in jobs they don’t love, maybe instead of love they find meaning? There isn’t anything glamorous about cleaning clogged drains but perhaps feeling accomplishment is just as important? Even more important than love?
It’s a classic winter day here in Cleveland. Highs in the 30’s and 8-10 inches forecasted to fall between Sunday and Monday morning. Along with the snow comes the usual amount of reactions: panic rushes to the grocery store (I thought this only happened in Richmond, I was wrong), complaints about the snow and cold and of course delight from those that love winter weather.
Living in northern climates can be tough on the body and mind when the winter seems endless and you haven’t seen green grass for a month but I find that a big portion of coping is determined by your attitude.
My un-scientific observation is that people either embrace the cold and snow (yea its 35!) or they spend 4-5 months of the year miserable and complaining. Yes, the snow gets old and yes layering up gets old but on the other hand its January. What do you expect when you live in a cold climate?
To survive a long, cold winter you either embrace it or change it.
I feel the same way about work.
Most of us have to work. We don’t have the option to holiday for three months while deciding our next job. Where and who we work with has a huge influence on our personal happiness just like the climate we live in. For some, the cold climate of the Midwest is too much. Others, couldn’t fathom living in an area so hot you don’t get a true change in season. Companies and work places are similar. Some love the long hours and ultra- competitive nature of some companies, others enjoy a slower pace where they don’t have to worry constantly about an “up or out” mentality.
To survive the 30-40 years most of us will spend working you have to determine what you can tolerate, what you can embrace and what you want to change.
An example from my early work career: I started off my post-college career with a job in customer service. Which I hated. I hated it with a passion. The problem is that I liked everyone I worked with, I just hated my job in customer service. I weighed the plusses and minuses and decided I could not embrace the customer service role, there was literally nothing positive about that job except for the people I worked with. From that experience I learned two valuable things:
1. A good team can make a bad job tolerable
2. I was not meant to be tied to a chair answering phones and getting screamed at by people all day
Throughout my career I have done something similar when I contemplated a change:
I’ve asked myself if the problems I have with my job are petty annoyances, serious issues or just a fact of life (we will always be asked to do more with less)
I’ve asked myself if I can change my current circumstance
If I embrace my current circumstances will that be compromising my ethics? Morals? Or personal beliefs?
Here we are at day number 6 of the Your Turn Challenge and I’m still writing. This may be the first ever blog post I have published on a Saturday. The last few days I haven’t focused so much on the Challenge questions because I’ve had plenty of HR topics to write about but today I just don’t want to talk about HR, instead I’ll focus on today’s question:
Tell us about a time your surprised yourself.
Well, there are two times in my life when I’ve surprised myself. The first time was when I decided to move back home to Cleveland but that topic has already been covered on the blog (click here to see me talk about my decision). The second time I shocked myself was when I started running, signed up for a 10K and ended up running 6.2 miles.
This was surprising for a number of reasons:
1. I’m not a fan of exercise or even sweating
2. 6.2 miles is a lot
3. I have asthma and always assumed I couldn’t run.
Don’t worry I didn’t completly lose my mind, I’m not running marathons or even 1/2 marathons but I did find myself on a very chilly morning running 5 miles as part of my training in the freezing cold and had to stop for a minute just to comprehend the fact that yes I was doing this.
Like a lot of things my interest in running started because I was bored. I had joined a gym to burn some calories and was rapidly getting bored. My company ended up sponsoring a corporate 4 miler and I joined the training team because why not? It got me out of bed early on a Saturday. Well I ran the 4 miler and kind of liked it.
So I signed up for a 10k. The training started in the winter but winters in Richmond aren’t nearly as cold as Cleveland so I didn’t sweat it. Well it turns out that early mornings in February/March can actually be quite chilly. I found myself one morning with the temps at 30 degrees preparing to run. Despite my worries about the cold and my asthma I did fine. I wasn’t the fastest runner (I never am) but I ran 5 miles on cold ass morning and didn’t keel over from an asthma attack or exhaustion.
I didn’t survive my run with a special mantra or play list, instead it was just good trainers, taking care of myself (taking my meds regularly) and determination.
What about you? When you have done something that surprised you?
This past year was full of challenges for me, if you are a regular reader you know what I mean, if not click here and here. Although challenging, I came out of the experience with a better perspective on my strengths and weaknesses. That perspective helped me form what will be my New Years Resolution and one that I hope you will consider as well: Challenge Yourself!
Over at PIC this month we are discussing the advice we want to give our readers. I wrote about the importance of challenging yourself with real challenges (not small BS stuff like eating more vegetables), here is a snippet:
“This month when Chris Ponder asked us to discuss our advice for the new year, I decided to give you the same medicine I’m taking in 2015: Challenge Yourself.
That seems like a fairly easy concept right? You could challenge yourself in any number of ways:
I’ve just been through the exhilarating and exhausting process of buying a new home, closing and moving.
Did I mention that I also moved 400 miles from Virginia to Ohio?
If you are a regular reader you already know that but I haven’t written anything in a while so I figure I need to refresh your memories.
So I moved, bought another house and thought that by taking three whole days off work I would have my house set up…Ha!
That wasn’t nearly enough time for me. I woke up every morning of our move stressing out about something only to come to the reluctant conclusion that I would not be able to get everything set up just the way I wanted in time for Monday.
Moving into a new house and adjusting to a new town isn’t easy. It is basically starting all over again, except in my case the job was the same. In fact the easiest part of my move was the fact that my job was stable: same manager, same team, same job, just in my living room instead of a nerve-wracking drive down 95.
At one point during move-in week I had to pause and come to the conclusion that the goals I set were un-realistic. Notice I said “the goals I set?” Yea, that’s because my husband was fully aware that my goals were crazy and unrealistic but went along with them anyway….he’s sweet like that.
I finally paused late Saturday afternoon and realized that I had, with the help of family and friends, actually accomplished quite a bit and that perhaps I was entitled to relax. And that is what I did. I watched football on the couch and periodically napped throughout the day.That’s right I relaxed and enjoyed my house, my family and friends.
You should try it some time.
By the way…this brief update is my way of saying that I’m back. I took a longer than expected break but it was necessary. Later this week I will be writing about employee lifecycle and next week I’ll be chatting about organizational change. No more relaxing on the blog front!