There are two very different ends of the spectrum in our workplaces. Let’s start at the deep end. The deep, dark end where our work is a drain on us. We don’t feel valued, heard or even noticed. Our work is just that…WORK! You give your time and your energy and your employer gets some outcome. You’re mediocre at your job, you don’t find work engaging, you watch the clock, you have no real work friends and you can’t wait to leave. Time to make the donuts….(who gets this reference?)
If this not how you describe your feelings towards work then feel grateful as 66% of Americans reported feeling from “somewhat satisfied to “very dissatisfied” with their work in a 2019 CNBC survey.
There’s a negative cycle to this as well – unfulfilling work trickles into our psyche and we carry that home with us.
Relationships at work matter and having what is jokingly called a “Work Wife” or “Work Husband” with whom we share a deep platonic relationship and a confidante and a friendship that we rely on during times of good and bad is a huge positive. Dr. James Doty, founder of CCARE at Stanford’s reports that 25% have no one to turn to when they’re suffering. The Wall Street Journal article The Loneliest Generation and the Hidden Brain podcast The Lonely American Male paint the picture of this isolation increasing as we retire and also as a symptom of male masculinity. And now it’s Campaign season on top of this adding division and angst to loneliness?
Tangent: I’m so glad to tangent out of the first part of this piece. Being isolated is no way to live and if nothing else our working years should fulfill us. So how do we ensure this? The research by Dr. Marty Seligman at the University of Penn developed over the last 50 years to form a new field of psychology called Positive Psychology. Dr. Seligman and his team of researchers and practitioners have created an acronym PERMA to explain the facets resulting in lasting happiness:
Positive Emotions – feeling good
Engagement – finding flow moments
Relationships – having authentic connections
Meaning – a purposeful existence
Accomplishment – progress and achievement
Full-Circle: So how do we trigger all of these elements of PERMA in our work? Let’s start with getting you fired up. Workplaces are an extraordinary opportunity for meaningful relationships, excitement, and accomplishment! And work doesn’t need to be easy to be fulfilling but there should be alignment between your skills and strengths and the tasks you perform. This fulfilling culture starts with you and when you feel whole you can look outward and focus on the caring for others. There is no requirement that you must be a supervisor to be a leader. “Know yourself, lead yourself and then lead others” is one of the mantras of the 5 Voices program and it is spot on.
Can you describe your work as your Calling?
I know I can say YES! Emphatically in ALL CAPS like my grandmother’s AOL emails. I’ve found passion in my career at varying levels and the level I’m on right now borders between Ecstatic and Ludicrous (which is also a speed). There’s a huge difference between a job, a career, and a Calling. I found my calling and I’m so grateful for the journey that brought me to this point and I’m not going back.
I’d love to show you the path.
Anthony Poponi is a Corporate Trainer & Motivational Speaker specializing in happiness research to improve team dynamics, communication, and productivity. His work is based on the research in the fields neuroplasticity, positive psychology, and leadership.