Scroll to the bottom to figure out how to get your FREE copy of “The Work Revolution” by Dr. Julie Clow
For those of you that are new around here, you may not know that before I left my job in October 2009 there was a period of about 18 months where I didn’t know what to do.
I didn’t have the money saved to just straight up leave; I didn’t have the balls to take the leap without having some kind of plan in place; and most importantly, I didn’t have a solid plan for what I wanted to do after I left.
For 18 months I was in a phase where I knew I wasn’t totally happy with what I was doing, but I also knew that quitting right then and there wasn’t a feasible (or responsible) option.
I’m willing to bet you might be in a similar situation (or know someone who is). I write a lot here about my global exploits, and tips for building a blog or location independent business, but the fact of the matter is, that isn’t a ton of help for most of the people around here.
No, most people here are working typical day jobs, each with varying degrees of success and happiness. Regardless of what category you fall into, there’s always room for improvement. Whether you’re an employee or already an entrepreneur, there’s a lot you can do that will greatly increase your personal happiness and help you build valuable skills in the process.
How to Make the Best of a Less than Perfect Situation
As mentioned, almost a year and a half passed between the time I realized I wasn’t stoked on life, and I actually left. Something I haven’t talked much about though is all of the steps in between.
Regardless of what you’re doing and the type of organization you’re in, if you’re willing to be a little proactive you have a lot more control than you might think as it relates to your daily activities and projects.
I really didn’t know much about this whole internet thing back in 2008.
I didn’t know what a blog was, and WordPress was a completely foreign term. What I did know however, is that our company needed a website. We were leaving a lot on the table by not having one, and I wanted to be the person to get us there.
A short document outling the components (as I assumed we’d need) later, and all of a sudden I was project manager on the new site.
All too often we fall into a head down work mode, and forget to tell our coworkers what we’d really like to be doing, and more importantly how we think our skills and interests can benefit the company. We forget that our bosses can’t read our minds. If we don’t tell them what we’d like to work on, they’ll never know – and we just grow more bitter in the process.
What did I know about building a website? Nothing. Ok maybe not nothing, but pretty close. Simply based on the generation I grew up in I did have a base level of computer skills and I knew it would be useful if I could find ways to hone those. So I found the congruency of the company’s needs and my own.
Find the congruency between your interests and your company’s needs. Click to tweet.
Preparing for the Future Now
No matter what you’re doing now, you’ve put some kind of thought into where you’d like to be in a year, five, or even 10 down the road. What does that look like? What would you know how to do that you don’t currently know anything about?
To be honest, when I was at this point in my life, I couldn’t tell you what I wanted outside of generalities. I wanted to own my own business and to travel the world.
However, again I did recognize that there was value in the web and that having a stronger background in it would be a huge asset in the future.
I quickly became the go to guy for anything computer related and I tried to capitalize on that as best I could. What did this mean?
- I spent time working with Google Analytics for the new site, and learning about all of the cool things it could do for your business.
- I became really good at creating our quarterly reports using Adobe Acrobat – a program I still use on a regular basis.
- I researched everything from social media strategies to CMS platforms
See where this is going? I figured out which skills and tools I knew would be good to know on a broad level, and I found a way to learn and apply them in a way that benefitted both the company and myself.
When you’re starting to think in this way, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- What are my boss’ biggest pain points right now? What interests or skills do I have that work towards alleviating their problem?
- What is your organization not doing currently, that you know they should? How can you present this to your boss?
- If I could learn any skill I wanted what would it be? How can I get creative and apply that to my job?
- Is it feasible to go to someone other than my direct superior to help put these things into motion?
As soon as you stop thinking about your job as simply a paycheck and time suck, you can start thinking of it as a training ground of sorts for whatever is next in your life.
Think of your current job as training grounds for whatever your next step is in life. Click to Tweet.
Inject Enjoyment Back into Your Job
So I totally get that simply learning new skills and applying them to your current job isn’t necessarily going to make your job any more bearable.
Sooooo, on top of this how do you go about making your job more enjoyable?. For me personally, I’m a big game person. I’m competitive, and anything I can turn into a game I will. This is especially true when it comes to work.
For instance, when I would be compiling quarterly reports I’d see how fast I could get it done and try and beat my time from the previous quarter. I’d lose 30 seconds every time I made a mistake.
I worked in a very small office of only 5 people, so most of the games I played were against myself, but if you work for a larger company, how can you involve some of your coworkers?
Maybe it really is physically playing games. A good friend of mine is a high school teacher, and injects all sorts of different games into his lessons, not only because it keeps the kids more engaged, but it keeps him engaged too.
Games not your thing? Take regular visualization breaks.
Ok, that sounds way too new age. But I’m serious.
I’d often take 10 minutes and go out to our rooftop deck in the summer, close my eyes, and visualize being in another place. Maybe it was out on a golf course, or walking down a Tahitian beach. I’m a firm believer in visualization. Do it enough times, and eventually you manifest the results in real life. Remember this post on daydreaming? Maybe there was something to it after all.
The Work Revolution
A lot of these things seem fairly obvious to me, but the fact remains most people don’t talk about it. You’d think larger corporations would be the first people to try and promote this healthy balance of skill building and interests, yet there are very few companies who are getting it right.
Luckily, my friend Julie Clow wrote a book on the whole thing called “The Work Revolution“. In the book Julie goes into great detail about why current practices in business aren’t working for employees, and how employees can take charge and make their job work for them.
If you’ve ever wanted to make a change in the way your organization does business, but weren’t exactly sure how to go about it, you have got to read this book.
I’ll admit I’m still working my way through it, but I’m finding my head nodding in agreement on almost every page, as she pulls examples from some of my favorite books like “The Power of Full Engagement” and “Delivering Happiness.”
If you’re trying to figure out how to get more value and enjoyment out of your job, as an addendum to this post, I’d read Julie’s book. No book I’ve read looks at corporate culture in this way and it should be ready not only by employees, but managers and entrepreneurs as well.
So, now that you’re hooked and want to read the book, I’d like to give a copy to you.
What do you need to do? Simple, all you need to do is leave a comment answering this question:
“What’s one thing you can do this week to improve your work life and get more value/enjoyment out of it?”
I’ll be giving away TWO copies of the book and will send them out to the people I think will get the most value out of it.