Most anyone over the age of thirty has experienced the workplace yo-yo, or in other words, the aspect of dealing with multiple personalities if not those individuals with multi-personalities. Those much younger than that, or of college age, might not be so in tune with such trials and tribulations which lie ahead. To say ignorance is bliss is an understatement to anyone who has felt like giving a co-worker the heave-ho from an upstairs window.
What is it about the workplace that turns seemingly normal people into such horrible, egotistical and unbearable monsters? Could it be that most people who function in their jobs would most likely prefer to be doing something else…anything else? It just seems that more and more people are unhappy doing what they do and they seem to relish in making those around them miserable at all costs.
I had the pleasure of working with some college-aged students recently for the purpose of discussing potential careers in sales-related occupations. More specifically, the event was centered on networking and the need to embrace those opportunities to connect with “important” people. What I learned was that most college-aged students would prefer to take a beating than to snuggle up to those who are in positions of power.
During my numerous conversations throughout the evening event, I asked each student where they saw themselves in terms of a career in five years. Most had, at the very minimum, an idea of where they might end up. We discussed the type of work they could see themselves doing and at what level. Each conversation was similar in nature, with the students explaining to me where they might land. The commonality of all of those conversations was the look of complete boredom by most of the students as they articulated to me their future plans.
The conversations, however, took a dramatic turn when I asked each student a simple question; if making money was not the issue, but you still had to work at something, what would you be doing? It was at this point that each student lit up like a proverbial Christmas tree! Each individual I spoke with had a most unique idea for either a business venture or an invention which could eventually lead to future riches. I was astonished to see the complete turnaround in their demeanor as they articulated their respective dreams! It was indeed inspiring!
As I exited the event, I thought about the reactions of those students to that one simple question. It brought me great joy to see those young people in a moment of adventure and true engagement. Then I started to think about all of those more mature people who are stuck in their miserable jobs and who have been beaten down by bad bosses, jealous co-workers or foul customers. Is it possible to retrain their minds in a way where they can capture the enthusiasm of those students who shared their dreams with me? I suppose we first need to ask that question; if making money was not the issue, but you still had to work at something, what would you be doing?
I have to say, that’s a great question…to ask ourselves.
Filed under: business