You’ve done it. You’ve sold out to the man and gotten a real job in inside sales. While your long-haired friends have accused you of forsaking your counter culture ideals, your significant other reminds you that there are hospital bills to pay. Time rolls on, and it’s 7:45 a.m. Your alarm clock is screeching its third warning, putting an untimely end to your thoughtless euphoria. As you stagger into the bathroom, you gaze into your sunken eyes and notice something disturbing: a gray hair on your chin.
Whether this is your seventh mid-life crisis or your first existential encounter, a voice cries within you, “I’m too young to be old!” If you’re an American, there’s about a 50% chance that the blame will fall on your job, which you hate (see the study). The good news is, this means that about 50% of Americans don’t hate their jobs. If you’re tired of hanging out with the pessimists, here are 3 tips that may cause that gray hair to go away (metaphorically speaking):
1. People Are Cool
The longer I’ve spent at XANT, the more I’ve realized how cool my co-workers are. Many of them also have long-haired friends and significant others who complain about hospital bills. Making friends and having fun conversations while working can relieve stress and make the hours fly by. Who knows, you might even laugh.
According to Beverly Bender, Gerontologist, “One minute of laughter is equivalent to five minutes on a rowing machine or eight minutes on an exercise bike. It can strengthen our immune systems, improve lung capacity, reduce pain, and relax muscles. You can’t feel pain or depression when you are laughing” (mentalwellnesstoday.com). She also says, “Laughing is like changing a baby’s diapers — it doesn’t permanently solve problems, but it makes things more bearable for a while” (sfweekly.com).
2. Wherever You Are, Be There
In a company meeting, I heard a coworker say, “I made the following personal commitment: wherever I am, be there.” It’s easy to go through the motions of being a paid employee. But being part of a team (what every company really wants) is entirely different. It requires devotion and alertness. If you haven’t yet achieved this work place Zen, perhaps it’s because you’re not following the counsel of Brigham Young:
“Life is best enjoyed when time periods are evenly divided between labour, sleep and recreation. All men, women and children should labour; all must sleep; and if mental and physical balance is to be maintained, all people should spend one-third of their time in recreation which is rebuilding, voluntary activity—never idleness. Eight hours work, eight hours sleep, and eight hours recreation” (Susa Young Gates and Leah D. Widtsoe, The Life Story of Brigham Young (1931), 251).
When I’m trying to sleep, I don’t want to think about work. When I’m trying to work, I don’t want to think about my kid’s soccer game. And when it’s time to enjoy some little league entertainment, I don’t want to think work or sleep. The key is to balance every part of your life so that when you’re at work, you can really be there. If you’re lacking in sleep, then, obviously, get more. If you’re lacking in recreational fulfillment, go build a model airplane.
3. Your Company Is Cool
Of course you work to make money, but is this your only motivation? Take a step back from your cubicle and try to take in the whole circle of corporate life. Are you making a difference in the success of your company? Is the product or service provided by your company making the world a better place? Are you building your skill set, opening doors to future opportunities, and becoming a better worker, a better communicator, and a more productive human being? If your answers were mainly yes, then perhaps both you and your company are cooler than you thought. (If you answers were mainly no, perhaps it’s time for a new job.)
When you believe in not only the overarching mission of your company but in the value of your day-to-day tasks, you’ll not only work better but be happier, because you’ll actually want to be at work. This is a level of enlightenment that only the greatest yogi masters have achieved, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Whether you ever get there or not, you can still have fun at work. And the best part is, fun is contagious.
Speaking of making work fun, have you seen our new PowerStandings sales gamification product? Check it out here. What other ways do you make work fun while also increasing efficiency We’d love to hear about it.
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