retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Nice piece in the New York Times over the weekend noting that a new study from Gallup saying that people who love their jobs "use their strengths every day, as do their co-workers," "feel that they are an important part of their organization’s future," "are surrounded by colleagues who care about their overall well-being," and "are excited about the future because of a leader’s enthusiasm and vision."

What's interesting about people who feel this way, the story suggests, is that they largely have taken responsibility for creating those jobs, as opposed to expecting to find such a climate when they arrive at a company or take a job:

"Making small changes in our daily activities can make a job more rewarding and engaging, but people who love their jobs also have bosses who inspire them, get the most out of them and truly care about them. That’s no accident. People who want the most from their work go boss-shopping. They may change shifts or make lateral moves in a company or industry to work for bosses who can become influential leaders in their lives.

"By studying people who love their work, I came to realize that almost none initially landed the jobs they loved; rather, they landed ordinary jobs and turned them into extraordinary ones," writes columnist Shane J. Lopez.

The column goes on:

"Making small changes in our daily activities can make a job more rewarding and engaging, but people who love their jobs also have bosses who inspire them, get the most out of them and truly care about them. That’s no accident. People who want the most from their work go boss-shopping. They may change shifts or make lateral moves in a company or industry to work for bosses who can become influential leaders in their lives."

In other words, they largely accept the construct that people are responsible for their own happiness. That doesn't mean that companies have no responsibility for helping to foster job satisfaction ... just that people have to look out for themselves and be their own best advocates. (Remember that in , Col. Saito urges the British prisoners of war to be happy in their work ... but he's not ultimately interested in that. He just wants the bridge built.)

Being the architect of your own happiness doesn't seem like it should be such a radical notion. But maybe, these days, we need to be reminded of such old fashioned concepts.

You can read the whole piece here.

BTW...

I have to admit that I loved this piece in part because I'm one of those lucky people ... and I think it is because I've embraced the notion that if I'm going to be professionally satisfied (or personally satisfied, for that matter), it's up to me. Not someone else.

This was brought home to me the other day when I got an email about the Forbes column I wrote about Ace Atkins, the new author of the Spenser series, and the business lessons that I thought could be learned from the transition to Atkins after the death of the series' creator, Robert B. Parker. (You can read it here.)

The email said that the reader enjoyed the piece because it made clear that both Atkins and I very much love the work we are doing. Which I think is both pretty fair and very observant.
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