FYI | Day 17 – Work

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For Your Inspiration! (FYI!) Month 2011 – This article was part of an exciting and challenging month dedicated to discovering passions, setting goals, learning success strategies, and sharing thoughts to ponder throughout the day!  If you’d like to find out what this month was all about, check out FYI Month 2011 for more information!

FYI: For-Your-Inspiration Month!

Your alarm sounds and you promptly slap the beastly machine off before it wakes the neighbors. It’s 6 AM and you let your mind scramble through today’s events as you hop in the shower. You have a light snack, grab your keys and head out to work where you are going to spend 60% of your day doing something… you love? You are passionate about? Or are you like the 75% of the people who dread their current employment?

This month, we’ve talked about passion, we’ve talked about motivation, we’ve talked about happiness… and if you can’t tell by now, we are hoping you LOVE what you do! Well… do you?

Get Out… Now

The most stressful work situations are the ones we feel we can do nothing about. We are like a puppy getting whipped without knowing why and slowly learning that no matter what he does, he’s going to feel the pain. And what happens to the puppy? The puppy continues to accept the beating believing that he can do nothing to stop it. Even if you open a door so it has the opportunity to run away, the puppy will still lay there and take the beating because he has learned that he is helpless.  This is appropriately called learned helplessness.

Do you feel this way at work? Do you feel that no matter what you try or want to do, you can’t make any change or to better your day-to-day work-life? If so, you need to get out of there! This is not a healthy environment to be spending the majority of your waking hours.

Levels of Work Satisfaction

Our level of potential work satisfaction and happiness usually depends on how we define our current work situation. Scholars usually agree with three main types of ‘work orientation’: a job, a career, and a calling. (Check out Authentic Happiness)

  • A Job. Is your work a temporary fix for cash flow? Are you working only for the reward you receive at the end of every two weeks that has a dollar sign attached to it? And are you only motivated in your attempt to prevent that reward from ending? A job is a means to another end (leisure, to buy things, support a family).
  • A Career. A career entails a deeper sense of work. You’ve invested time and effort to reach, and you feel good at what you are doing. You rate your level of success through money as well as advancement. You gain higher status and authority as you rise through the ranks and improve your trade. When the promotions stop and you ‘top out’, you have to start looking elsewhere for your gratification and meaning.
  • A Calling. This is the beautiful one. Some people discover it at a young age, even less discover it as an adult, and most never find it (sorry, sad but true). A calling is a passionate commitment to the work for its own sake. You feel compelled and honored to complete your work and feel you are making a positive difference in the world and contributing to the greater good. Sometimes you feel like the work is something larger than you are and would do it regardless if you got paid. A dentist who pulls teeth because the job pays well has a job, but a garbage collector who feels his work is making the world a cleaner place could have a calling.

Which one do you have?

10 Suggestions to Have More Fun at Work

Want to spice up your office a little bit or simply enjoy the day more?  Be an office mood-changer and lighten the air a bit!  Improving your environment can improve your attitude. Here are a few tidbits I picked up while I was hiding behind my cubicle walls:

  1. Start daily traditions.  Quotes of the day, jokes of the day, interesting facts, etc.  Have fun with them!
  2. Find your purpose.  You serve a purpose and you are bringing value to people.  Who are you helping and how are you making a difference?  Recognize the value you bring.
  3. Avoid Negative Nancy’s (I apologize if your name is Nancy).  Gravitate towards positive and inspirational people and be a fighting force against the evils of pessimism. Winking smile
  4. Join a planning committee or group that plans fun events for your team or company.
  5. Design your own smiling kit.  All you need are two paperclips and a rubber band… here is a great example: Smiling Kit
  6. You hear it all the time: Do what you love, or love what you do. Sometimes we spend so much time focusing on the things we dislike, we forget to spend time thinking about everything we like and enjoy.
  7. Exercise.  Take regular breaks for a walk around the workplace and take the stairs instead of the elevator every chance you get.
  8. If you are really unsatisfied with your job, you can spice up your day by planning your escape.  On your breaks, start making a business plan for your new business, study something new that will be perfect for a promotion or different job, or try to make some new connections.
  9. Organize and prepare your desk with positive items around you that make you happy.  Pictures of friends and family, awards you received, quotes you like, favorite colors, and things that inspire you.  Whenever I’m having a down day and need an upper, I open up my phone where I can quickly see a picture of my nephews or nieces.  They cheer me right up.
  10. Keep it random.  Do things differently on a day-to-day basis.  Even the regular mundane tasks.

And if none of these seem to help, I always enjoyed rubber band fights, witty banter, and designing where to put the flux capacitor on my time machine.  Get creative!

Your Task

How do you feel about the work you do?  Does it get you up in the morning or do you dread setting foot in the environment?  Eight to ten hours a day is a big time commitment for you not to be enjoying your day.  Are you motivated internally or from the paycheck?

How can you make it fun?  How can you make a difference?  Spend time today thinking about what you can do to make your work more enjoyable and meaningful.  If you work in a toxic environment, it’s time to get serious on how you can escape, soon!

This post was written by

Greg has written 69 articles on Student of Me.

Greg is the creator and primary writer for Student of Me. He probably spends way too much time on the computer writing, researching, programming, and working on his photography. He loves escaping from screen-time to travel, ride his motorcycle, experience the outdoors and spend time with loved ones. You can contact him at greg (at)!

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2 thoughts on “FYI | Day 17 – Work”

  1. Guest says:

    I think you mislabeled #8 – it should be #1.

    1. Greg says:

      You may be on to something 😉

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