Work or Fun – Pick 1 (NOT!)

Posted: June 10, 2010 in career

Think back to your childhood (for some of us it may take longer than others, but please just do this for me). What was your “job” as a kid? I mean, before mowing lawns and paper routes.

Here’s the answer: your job was simply TO PLAY. That’s what kids do. That’s how they learn to socialize, develop physically, enhance their ability to communicate, etc.

So, kids “play for a living.”

One more question: How did you decide what to play? Why did you pick some activities and skip others?

I know how: you picked what was FUN. If it wasn’t fun, it wasn’t play!

Here are the hard, cold facts. At some point in each of our lives, some well-meaning adult came up to most of us and said knowingly, “OK. FUN time is over. It’s time to go TO WORK!” Ugh! Precious few people will feel good about that choice!

I have one final question for you: WHY do work and fun have to be mutually exclusive?! Why do you have to forgo enjoyment every time you get a paycheck?! Why must you choose between a pleasant experience and a job description?!

Allow me to introduce one of my personal guiding principles- I refuse to not have fun at work!

Please don’t misunderstand me. There are some things about my job that I would give up in a New York minute. Paperwork comes to mind right away. Every employment situation is likely to have some duties that you would love to eliminate. I call these tasks the “grown-up stuff.” Things you must do because you are told to. These duties can build character, demonstrate dependability and integrity. But if all you do at work is “grown-up stuff,” you may need to rethink your career goals.

When I place myself in situations where my work is primarily composed of activities that I actually enjoy (I have called this the move from Experience and Expertise to Enthusiasm in an earlier blog), I become the best employee I will ever be. The responsibility rests with me to discover, communicate and implement my “best stuff” (another one of my favorite phrases) in my work and life. Then my company really gets their “money’s worth” out of me, and I cease being a “5 o’clock shadow!”

How about you?! Are you having FUN at WORK?  If so, great! If not, start to find it!

  1. I have been coaching managers for years to help make work fun. When work is fun, people are more productive! My advice to leaders who don’t like to create a fun atmosphere, find someone in your company that does and delegate to them the authority to create the atmosphere people want. I also coach career seekers to look for companies that they think will be fun and enjoyable to go to everyday! We all work to many hours a week away from the people we love for it to STINK!

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