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0 The Power of Loving Your Job

Is it realistic to think we can wake up every morning saying, “MAN!! I cannot wait to get to the office and start this day!”? Probably not. Would it be cool if on Friday, we got a little bummed because we were going to be away from our job for 2 whole days! Away from this “work thing” that gives us so much joy, purpose, and validation? Probably so. Imagine all the benefits for our societal culture, our economy, our personal health, and the overall human condition if we loved every minute of every day at our jobs.

Musicians or artists might feel that way, although I did once hear a performer complain that “…
keeping a guitar in tune in the summer is so hard!” So even my “dream job” has its drawbacks, I
guess. For the record, her tuning grievance received very little empathy from the audience.


It should come as no surprise to anyone who has some work experience that companies and
organizations that have higher job satisfaction in their workforce are more profitable and more
productive than those that rate lower in this statistic. Also, individuals who have more job
satisfaction tend to be healthier and have an overall happier personal life… duh!


In researching this article, my team (okay, just me) found that statistics for this subject are
somewhat varied. However, digging deeper into the available data we (me) found some

Here are some things you might find interesting:

  • A little more than half of the U.S. work force is “satisfied” with their job.
  • Only about 20% are “passionate” about their job.
  • Roughly 4 in 10 workers say their job is important to their overall identity.
  • Relationships with coworkers was a big part of overall job satisfaction.
  • About 12% of U.S. workers are “extremely” dissatisfied or unhappy with their job.
  • Paid time off benefits were considered the best contribution to job satisfaction, while
    health care benefits were considered the most important.
  • Almost half (47%) of the workforce who have paid time off benefits said they did not use all
    their allotted paid time off.
  • One study showed that 74% of employees in the U.S. believe that company culture is one of
    the biggest contributing factors to job satisfaction.
  • And finally… Companies with high worker satisfaction outperform low satisfaction companies
    by (as much as) 202%

Most of the surveys stated that the statistics were consistent with government, non-profit, private
sector, and self-employed workers. In every study, workers aged 54 – 65 were the most satisfied
with their jobs, and having just turned 64, this gave me a little validation… a small dopamine
shot. But the same studies showed workers in their 20s were by and large the least satisfied.
Since I have 2 children in their twenties, both freshly out of academia and in the workforce, this
certainly gave me some pause.

I firmly believe we all owe it to ourselves to put forth our best efforts toa t least find some
enjoyment in our workday. We spend almost half of our waking life,o n the job, shouldn’t we try
and squeeze as much joy out of that time as we can? That enjoyment can come from many
possibilities; the comradery of our co-workers, the responsibility of an important project, the
validation of doing things well, the personal reward of knowing your work has meaning, or is
helping others. Sometimes that enjoyment can lead to passion, and when your occupation, your
day job, becomes your passion, you can’t really call it work anymore. It becomes something

Several years ago, I ran into a high school friend who I hadn’t seen in years. He was a guy I
always looked up to; great social skills, hilarious sense of humor, and just a joy to be around. As
our conversation turned to the “what have you been up to” portion, I asked him, “Where are you
working these days?” His reply was something that has stuck with me since:

“I don’t work, man.”

“Really? Must be nice! How do you pay the bills?” I replied, being a bit nosey.

“Oh, I have a job. I’m a flight attendant. I ame mployed by a small airline based in D.C.,
but it doesn’t feel like work. The hours are crazy, and the days are brutally long, and I love
every minute of it!”

This was a revelation to my 20-something-year old brain, "...a nd I love every minute of it!" This
guy was talking about his job, not his softball team or his golf league. His JOB! A job with long
days & crazy hours.

For my friend, it was the social aspect of working with the high energy people in his peer group,
working with the public and meeting new people every day. Traveling, and seeing the country
with people he enjoyed being around, was his occupation. He found joy in that culture, and that
joy became a passion.

Up until that meeting, it hadn’t occurred to me that a job, one’s vocation, could be enjoyable. I
didn’t like my job at the time. In fact, the culture where I worked was such that not liking your
job was kind of part of the job…the expectation. While I did not know this at the time, “culture” is
everyone’s responsibility.

The chance meeting with my friend created something of an epiphany for me. I was working in a
warehouse for a municipality at the time, and I shared the experience with my coworkers. It took
some convincing and some inspired persuasion, but I talked the team into creating something
like a swear jar. But instead of depositing a quarter in a jar for bad words, we had to pay up per
complaint. Every gripe, every whine, every non-constructive utterance was accompanied by a
monetary fine. We had fun with it, we charted it when we could; the first couple of months it
added up quickly. We used the money for an end of the month lunch or happy hour, but more
than anything we used the constant reminder of our bad attitudes to change the way we
approached the day. We were lucky in that there were 5 of us who all bought into the exercise. We
changed the culture, simply because we were sick and tired of being sick and tired, 8 to 10 hours
a day, 5 or 6 days a week. We found a way to make the best of a situation, that really wasn’t as bad
as we were making it out to be. It was just a small change, and we all took accountability for
making the change. It can be done… and you can do it.

While that was a great learning experience, the job still wasn’t what I thought would be
fulfilling in the long term. So, I searched for something more. It took a few years to find a
vocation that would become my passion, but I did. Early in my sales career, I read every
book I could find, attended every seminar, and took every workshop made available to me.
None of that stuff felt like work, or “have to” tasks. I found it fascinating. Later in my
career, largely based on the influence of my mentor, I found real joy in being a sales
trainer and a leadership coach. Today, that’s where I find fulfillment when I’m on the
clock. I love my job.

In my mentoring work, I try to drive this home anytime I have the opportunity: There is
real power, and amazing mental and physical health benefits in enjoying your job. In
today’s world, it’s NOT just forty hours a week. Consider your commute, consider the time
thinking about it on the weekend, especially if you are dissatisfied. If you are not happy in
your job, first, look within. Decide as to whether you can fix it, or at least make it better. I’ll
bet you, with a little effort, you can. Choosing to make a change is half the battle!

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