Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tips for a Happier Work Life

A wise man (Confucius) once said, "Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life" and I've tried to live by those words.

Jumping off the tracks for a moment, how is it that uber-quoted-smart-guy Confucius and the word confusion are so darn close?

There are many things you can work for or value in your job.  I won't kid you by saying they aren't all important.

1. Love the impact of what you do. If you can't brag a bit about what you do or who you do it for you might not be in the right place. Unless you are on Seal Team 6, in which case, we don't need to know.

2. Respect the people you work with.  You go to war with these people each and every day, you need to know that they have your proverbial back. Your REAL back in the case of Seal Team 6.

3. Enjoy the challenges each day. To me, a good challenge that keeps me busy is what makes the day go fast and allows you to fulfill the first premise.  Removing evil dictators from their jobs is a fun challenge for Seal Team 6.

4. Like the people you work with.  Perhaps you think this is the same as #2 and it is mostly.  Now making personal relationships with co-workers is frowned upon these days, I feel like you are going to war with these people and you want to know who they are and that they have as big a stake as you do in your combined success.

5. Get paid a fair and decent wage.  Who doesn't like a little money nowadays? A little scratch, some doh-ray-me, some coin?

In todays job market, magazines and head hunters and even our friends try to convince us towards a very upside-down mercenary attitude. I would say don't overvalue yourself based on money.  Don't make YOU about money.
$5000 is hard to turn down when it looks like this!

I have in the past been asked to stay at a job, with promises of money in the form of raises or bonuses. I was at one job where the big boss offered me cash to stay.  Getting offered a "raise," in cash, on the spot made me feel a little like I was getting ready to ice someone.  A stack of $100s is pretty daunting to turn down.  You learn a lot about yourself as thoughts like "if I accept the money in private, can I still leave and live with myself?" go through your head.

Funny thing about money is that you learn to live without it and you learn to live with it.  I've reached a point where I know how much my paycheck is going to be. I know what my bills are and how much I can spend.  If I made more, inevitably I would find ways to spend more and grow accustomed to that.  Americans are like that as a whole.

By making what I am worth, I have other job opportunities.  If for some reason I begin to dislike my job, I'm not forced to stick with it through grueling job interviews looking for another that will overpay me.  I don't work in the city, of which there are two in close proximity, because I don't want to spend my life in traffic.

I'm in IT so some work when it is not expected is routine.  We talk about cots in server rooms if the situation warrants it.  But I won't plan to give up 2 hours, 120 minutes (7200 seconds) commuting.  When I get stuck behind a bus in the morning, I don't like it.  I've never been a big fan of public transportation, so paying for someone to drive me isn't my bag either.

Just so you don't think I believe what I say, I took pay cut to take my current job.  A lot of that has to do with who I work for and the challenges I can face as a result. My job is at Dynasplint Systems, a small company you've probably never heard of, but should have.

These are just my tips, my top 5 things I look for in a job.  What are yours?


  1. fearlessfibrowarriorDecember 10, 2011 at 11:27 AM

    As an employer, my skew is a little different.  I have to look at it from the Boss Perspective, which I made up.  here it is:
    ~Don't ask people to do something you wouldn't.  It's imperative that you have the respect of your employees, and giving them the shit work ain't the way.
    ~Pay them what you can afford, and try to make it high for the field.
    ~Make up for the crappy pay with little bits of love

    I work in Child Care/Preschool.  The field is horrifically low-paying. But I try to make up for it by buying lunch here and there, dropping Starbuck's off, etc. to show the ladies some love. It must be working because they won't leave me.

    Off-topic, the first sentence had the 12-year-old boy in me giggling-all I could think of was, "Heh.  That's why Sperm Banks are successful."

  2. For me, (Fight Club reference coming up!) I am not my job.  I am a worthwhile, intelligent, funny, and caring person, and that won't change regardless of what I do.  I find that too many people judge themselves and others on what they do, not who they are.

  3. Are you Edward Norton or Brad Pitt?

  4. So true. I give you permission to blog on this in your very fine blog! Lol.
    My wife did day-care and it was sad to realize that she made less per hour per kid than McDonalds employees...

  5. More gerat advice...I second the motion, Scott!

    "Susan says..."




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