In their book Well Being: The Five Essential Elements, Rath and Harter found that only “20% of people give a strong YES when asked if they like what they do.” They further found that people with a high level of career satisfaction were more likely to thrive in their lives as a whole. Twice as likely!
In Guts: Companies That Blow the Doors Off Business-as-Usual and Nuts: Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success, Kevin and Jackie Freiberg make a compelling argument for taking care of the employee. They maintain that companies are nimble because they trust their employees and remove the “black hole” of bureaucratic rules that drain creativity—and productivity.
It really is common sense. Take care of the employees and the employees will take care of the customer. Let the professionals do their jobs; get out of their ways. This does NOT mean the employer has to make the employee “happy.” It does NOT mean accepting shoddy work. But it DOES mean trusting the employee.
A nibble here and
A nibble there
Before you know it
You’re gasping for air
The same ol’ tune
Oh, yeah, they suck the air right out of the room!
(“Energy Vampires”—Steve Piscitelli)
Like it or not, we will run into those who want to suck the life right out of us. We follow our hearts; do what is right; make a difference—and, still, someone is standing in the way. You probably have heard the idiom, “No good deed goes unpunished.” And it can be especially frustrating when the person is a supervisor or someone who can throw some major obstacles in your way. Such is the situation a friend shared with me recently. A tough professional situation is challenging the passion that drives this friend to get up each morning. What to do? Quit? Ignore it? Confront it? The situation is frustrating and draining. About the best I could muster was, “Don’t let anyone take your passion.”
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
The more I thought about it, though, that simple statement holds a lot of power. And it has driven me along in times when I had similar challenges. (No, it is not easy…but I guess if it were easy, then everybody would be doing it, right?) And when we examine history, we find significant changes made by those who just would not be deterred by huns, philistines, or energy vampires. Years ago, one of my first supervisors made a desk plate for me. I still have it in my office:
Illegitimi non carborundum.
Loosely translated: Don’t let the bastards grind you down.
What has worked for you?
© Steve Piscitelli and Steve Piscitelli’s Blog, 2010.