The Game of Work (hint: it's supposed to be fun)
Hemingway said, “When you stop doing things for fun you might as well be dead.”
I talk to people all day long, most of whom I ask, “Why are you talking to a recruiter?” Responses range from the authentic to inauthentic, brief to exhaustive but boil down the majority of their answers, and it comes down to: “It’s just not fun anymore.”
Recognizing the audience that I speak to are high-paid salesmen and women in a first world country, one has to acknowledge the luxury in being able to say, “I want to have fun in my job.”
Relating work to game:
Think about the last time you broke out a board game, you know the ones you actually wanted to play. Think about who you played with, the discussion that led up to the decision of the game, breaking out the board, reminding each other of the rules and agreement to go forward. You carefully chose the game piece or color that represented you, you understood the objective of the game, the rules were considered and agreed upon. You thoughtfully planned out your strategy to win. For you crazies who play Democracy - you might even manipulate and back-stab your way into winning. You play. You win or lose. You play again, this time with a new strategy.... or you decide, stakes are too high and you walk......or you decide that game just wasn't fun.
I'd propose that's how this work should be. But it doesn't just get handed to you. In order to be good at a game it's first deciding that you want to play and then doing the work to earn the chance to win.
If you're running to your phone about to call me because you hate your job -- WAIT. Make sure you have done these things:
Own it. Be responsible for your world. Ask yourself:
- Am I doing my job - am I doing the activities that lead to the objectives of my role?
- Am I learning - what am I doing to grow myself and be better at my job?
- Am I serving - is there anything that I can do to teach or help others?
Face the reality. Ask yourself:
- Do I believe in the company, addressable market possibility, the value of the offering and leadership that's driving the vision of that value?
- Do I like this culture? Is this culture adding to my life or taking away from it?
- Am I even right for this job and what do I really want?
If you've owned it and if you've decided you don't like the reality of the organization that you represent: Go find a new game. Trust me. There are plenty of options in that game closet. Appreciate this world that we're so lucky to live in. Go have fun.