Photo by Johnny DeLos Santos
Is your job the most rewarding one you can have at this time ?
I encourage you to assess your situation based on the four most important things in life as identified by leadership guru Stephen Covey:
To live. To learn. To love ( and be loved ). To leave a legacy.
I used to work in a hotshot ad agency. We were already the most-awarded but we were still hungry for awards. One of my fellow creative directors, a young genius, came to me looking bothered. He said, “Maybe we should initiate more projects. Look, the guys are doing nothing. They go home at 8 pm!"
“What the ?!”
The achiever-types of this world love to work for very long hours. Since they are the ones who get promoted to top positions, they’re the ones who set the norm. We develop an admirable culture of passion but we don’t see the trade offs until it’s too late.
The first casualty will be our health. In any office, I can believe that only 1 in 10 people actually have time for regular exercise. And we may guess that 9 out of 10 are eating the wrong food.
The second casualty is family time. I confess that I often hear my children talk about their childhood experiences that I am not aware of. I am sad that no amount of money can bring back those many missed moments of bonding.
I believe that work, no matter how exciting and enjoyable, should always allow us to live healthy, happy lives outside the office. When I first assumed headship of my Division, I announced to the staff that we would have twin goals: Quality of Work and Quality of Life. We have actually succeeded in fixing the workflow to ensure a more efficient daily performance.
Artist and critic John Ruskin said that “the highest reward for a person’s toil is not what they get for it but what they become by it."
For me, the ideal job is one that makes us evolve continuously into better persons.
In the ad agencies where I worked, every client company would have its own culture or a unique way of doing things. So, each client was a source of new knowledge and skills.
My present office is like a playground where people play roles. For example, a writer will be allowed to direct a tv shoot, an administrative officer is given the chance to write a station ID song, etc. They volunteer for things beyond the scope of their job description. This way, we keep enhancing our capabilities.
We also have a once-a-week learning session in which we take turns presenting things we have learned from seminars, books or from the internet. At times, we invite subject matter experts as guest speakers. Some of the topics are not always directly related to our line of work but we always welcome knowledge that expand our horizons.
Some jobs may not have as much variety. But anyone can learn beyond the daily tasks. For example, you may develop your skills in presenting, negotiating or facilitating group dynamics.
By the way, I often tell my staff that “by becoming a better person, I really mean a better person." For me, there’s no point in becoming an office superstar if you become evil in the end.
To love (and be loved.)
Happy hormones flow freely in an environment where we are accepted, affirmed and recognized for our good traits. In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Love/Belonging is the foundation upon which we build the layer of Esteem and finally, Self-Actualization.
There are many ways by which we can feel loved or appreciated. For example, when we’re fun to be with, when we are inspiring others, when we’re winning awards or earning money for the company, when we make others feel good, etc.
Whenever I call a general staff meeting, I always start by congratulating persons and teams who did good work in the past weeks. It is also my style to praise people publicly (and always reprimand in private.)
We have departments who don’t work with one another. So, we often come up with mix groups to work on special tasks. It is our way of enlarging every person’s circle of friends.
We all know it is hard to leave a company where friends are fun, supportive and appreciative. On the other hand, it’s hard to last a day in a workplace where backstabbing is a favorite sport.
To Leave A Legacy.
Coming up with work by which one will be remembered may be relatively easy in a creative department. That’s because on a daily basis, we produce work that’s shown to the public.
In most offices, the regular output are confidential reports that only the boss can appreciate. However, there’s still a way to leave a mark that everyone can see. For example, you set records in productivity, you break records in sales, you show a new way of doing things in the office or you influence people to think differently.
People who touch the lives of others always leave a mark. If you are the office inspirer or the glue that holds everyone together, you change things and will surely be talked about for a long time.
Does your office give you a chance to do something to be remembered by?
To live. To learn. To love (and be loved.) To leave a legacy.
As a boss, I make sure that the people I work with are growing through the experience of the four important things mentioned above. They spend more time in the office than anywhere else so I think it’s my duty to help them live the best lives possible.
If you are not achieving the same in your work, it may be time to talk to your boss for some necessary adjustments. Or maybe, it’s time to accept that your current job or office is not the right fit for you.
I have been a Division Head in three companies already. When I meet my new staff for the first time, I tell them that my goal is to help each one of them become the best person that they can be.
Then I clarify that the point is “to become the best that you can be. It’s not about you becoming better than all others but you reaching your personal peak."
And I add “it’s about becoming the best person you can be." To me, even the most awarded professional is a failure if he is not a good person.
About the Author:
Robert Labayen spent 22 years in advertising prior to joining ABS-CBN in 2004. He was VP-Creative Director at Saatchi & Saatchi and Executive Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson, two of the country's leading ad agencies. He is currently the Head of Creative Communications Management at ABS-CBN. His job involves inspiring people to be their best. He is a writer, painter and songwriter.
Read more about ExecuTips on www.robertlabayen.com