August 12, 2014 (Scottsdale, AZ)
We have all heard, and perhaps even uttered the following phrases: “Ugh, I hate Mondays.” “Hump Day!” “TGIF!” These work-related expressions permeate the air, particularly in workplaces, and offer one sentiment: work stinks, and sometimes for good reason. Most people would admit that they love leisure time and agree with Bertrand Russell that they should have plenty of it, but the question must be asked, shouldn’t work be a place we love? Why don’t we ever hear anyone exclaim, TGIM?
If you have never been employed in an extraordinarily empowering environment, you may not be aware of that incredibly joyful feeling that some have the privilege of experiencing every day arriving at work. Lifers, clock watchers, and those only interested in a paycheck to fund outside interests must have entertained ideas on how their jobs could be (more) enjoyable. There is no reason why we should live with that “brain cloud” afflicting Tom Hanks in Joe Versus the Volcano. Too often we start a job in the wrong mindset, even as early as the interview, asking questions about benefits, what a typical day is like, or how much the remuneration (not to say these are not important).
The first question jobseekers should ask is this: What makes this a great place to work?
The answer you get should impart upon you a sense that you will be valued by the employer. Erika Anderson, a contributor to Forbes, in her article 2014 Best Companies to Work For: Four Things That Make Them Great, sums up the commonalities of the greatest places to work.
Culture. When it comes down to it, culture is everything. The right culture is built on the pillars of positivity and empowerment, inspiring greatness, purpose, trust and respect, communication, and freedom from the fear of mistake.
Professional growth. Have you sat at work and, inspired, been hit by an idea that you shared with your supervisor and found that it landed on interested ears? Or, has your manager come to you, knowing you well, and asked if you would like to participate in a project that matches your strengths and interests? If not, why not?
Great colleagues. Personalities abound in this world, and yours is one of them. Knowing your personality and how it might fit within a particular company’s norm is important. Certainly, when personalities, engendered by the common values that make a positive culture, are in sync, there could potentially be no happier moment than greeting your colleagues as you walk into work.
A challenge. How often have you found getting up to go to work a challenge, especially on Monday? Daily, you say? Then your workplace may not be the best fit for you. The challenge should be at work, in the form of brain-stimulating employment in which your interests are aroused and your activities driven by a synergistic blend of internal and external motivations.
So much more could be said about the particulars of great places to work, but the reality is that much of what makes a great place great comes from the top. Making an extraordinary company culture a priority and holding employees accountable to that standard is important. However, as an employee, you are capable of doing a bit of bottom-up inspiring, and responsible for adding to the environment. Being that ‘great colleague’ above, exuding a positive attitude with actions that give body to a higher purpose and stronger values will be noticed. You have undoubtedly met such a person in your life and know the effect that positivity had on you…so pass it on. And depending on your position, begin to think of ways to creatively inspire your work, the work of peers or those you manage. Imagine the results that will return: it’s likely you will fall in love with your workplace and influence others to feel the same way.
To read Erika Andersen’s article in its entirety, please visit: