Why we need to rethink work if we want to truly be happy in life
The days of the 9-5 are soon to be over – at least in the traditional sense. Technology is changing faster than ever before and as a result, how we work, why we work, where we work and when we work is changing. What doesn’t seem to be changing though, is how we find jobs. I don’t know about you, but I’m still seeing friends and colleagues draft up the same old standard resume and apply to as many companies as possible, get a few interviews, and take the first one that sends over an offer.
It’s no wonder that tenure is shrinking, workplace happiness is generally low, and the word ‘work’ has a negative connotation associated with it. Hive Chairman Ryan Allis made a great point in saying that it was odd that we spend 832 weeks going to school and around 4 to find a job. Crazy, right?
It’s time we changed how we are attracted to work, and how we find happiness through it.
And then I ran into Eric Termuende, author of Rethink Work which has just launched on Amazon today (I encourage you to pick it up). Eric is the Co-founder of NoW Innovations, Lead Content Strategist for True Calling Canada, a signed international speaker, and leading the charge on changing way we talk about work.
In his book Eric talks about the importance or articulating the stories of people, not just organizations, and really getting an understanding of the experiences, feelings, and values of people. Eric talks about something that is sorely missing from today’s dialogue about work.
Not just ‘what’ we need when looking for work, but also the importance of differentiating who we are and knowing what to look for if we are to find happiness at work (and in our lives as a result).
The biggest takeaway for me when reading the book though, came from his explanation about generations and how he took the ‘millennial’ stereotype and completely abolished it. What he said was that because of the rate of technology change, and that there is no way that we can possibly suggest that we all grew up the same… there are simply too many variables at play. In addition, he points out that some millennials are now 35, while others are just finishing college. In other words, some are saving for their kids’ education while others are just starting to pay their own off. Simply put… we are all very different, have different priorities in life and are at vastly different stages of life and development. We should be approaching work with that in mind.
Eric’s book offered a fresh perspective that indeed, we can all find happiness through the work we do.
No, there isn’t a recipe for success, and success looks different to each person, but there is a common denominator.
As I got deeper into the book I gained a further appreciation for what we are doing at PRSUIT as we know that our readers can all find happiness by being their most unique selves, and that we can all truly ‘rethink work’.
In reflecting on my own experience in initially joining the workforce following college and then jumping around a couple times until I found a good fit, I believe that we should be optimistic in our search. We should be forward-thinking and empowered during this process, knowing that what you bring to the table does matter and that you have the ability to cast aside the negative connotation of 9-5 and instead create an environment for yourself where you can flourish.
Far too often, we dehumanize work by allowing it to assume a corporate veil that lacks a sense of self-empowerment.
We need to realize that the purpose of your employment is two-fold.
Yes, it is to create a successful and ROI positive company, but more than that, on a personal level, your 9-5 is meant to improve yourself and your skill set. You should be selfish when approaching your job. You should be selfish in deciding if it is empowering you or trapping you.
I have had 4 jobs since graduating and by millennial standards I suppose that’s not so bad, but the reason for jumping around is that I felt I had plateaued personally at my first three positions. I was not able to envision my next “level up”. I didn’t see my personal skills and qualities being able to be enhanced in those scenarios. My ‘work’ had become more about the organization and it’s processes than it was about me as a person.
What changed and what truly allowed me to re-think work was when I switched to a sales role at a new company that really understood culture and personal empowerment.
In this new role and the people I worked with, I was encouraged to see work as an opportunity to build a future self. Yes, it was about creating a successful company in the immediate, but my peers and management were clear in acknowledging the fact that my role was one designed to create the best version of my future self. It was a very human role that was about me. My managers acknowledged the fact that I might not be at this company in 3, 5, 10 years and that was OK. For this company, work was personal and designed to improve me as a person.
In this role I came to realize that there is no universal standard for work.
There are too many variables at play, people are all different and technology is changing work incredibly fast. The one variable you can control, though, is your tolerance for failure. In my new role, I was encouraged to fail time and time again. This became my key to success and truly showed me that when you re-think work from being a daily task that pays the bills to a daily personal opportunity to fail and build your skill set for the future – things changed.
Work is about the people, not the organization. Companies that understand this and allow you to try, fail and learn so that ultimately YOU become a stronger person and more skilled employee… those are the companies that I want to work for (or… as an entrepreneur, create)
If you’re looking for that next read, definitely check out Eric’s book here and pick up a copy today.