Career Buddy Manifesto : Rethink Work!
Background - Sad State of Work!
Gallup, the global survey company publishes a report every year they call - State of the Global Workplace. According to this report, only 13% of workers feel engaged by their jobs. These 13% feel a sense of passion for their work, a deep connection to their employer and they spend their days driving innovation and moving their company forward.
A large majority, some 63%, are “not engaged,” meaning they are unhappy but not enough to quit.They show up, do the job as much as they can because they need it to pay the bills and keep their life going. They sleepwalk through their days, putting just enough energy into their work to not get fired. We all know some of these people, we are some of these people.
The last category of people, a good 24% of employees are “actively disengaged,” meaning, they hate their jobs. They are also staying in the job because they need to make a living. They don’t care. Some are actively working to undermine what their coworkers are trying to accomplish.
Why do we work?
Before there were factories and offices and management and 8 hour work days, people went to farms, built tools, or engaged in trade. The main idea of work then was to make enough to buy food and some decent clothing and keep the family warm. Then we had factories, offices, management, TV, cars, stuff to spend money on. And suddenly we have to work enough to keep up, pay the bills and put food on the table.
Work has become more meaningless, mindless, some series of task to complete that have no relevance. We have all become a cog in a giant industrial machine. Doing work that’s soul sapping because we have to pay the bills, feed the family and buy more stuffs.
These days, we work more. Most of us spend 8-12 hours a day at work and even more. When you ask people with fulfilling jobs-those 13% of employees who are highly engaged, money rarely comes up.
These people are engaged by their work because they have a measure of autonomy and discretion in their work, and they use that autonomy and discretion to achieve a level of mastery or expertise. They learn new things, developing both as workers and as people. And most important, satisfied workers are satisfied because they find what they do meaningful. They believe their work makes a difference to the world no matter how small what they do.
Do Work That Matters
Everyone says you should love what you do. It’s somewhat a cliche these days. There’s some truth to it though. As Steve Jobs famously said : “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it”.
The key to being “engaged” like those 13% of people is to do work that matters and always do what you believe is great work. Not matter how small or irrelevant you think your job is. It doesn’t matter what your job is, even the most mundane of jobs can have meaning and have an impact in people’s lives.
Most of the world could not care less how they think about their job. Don’t be like the 87% sleep walking through their work life. Your work is a vital part of your life, it has your signature on it. If you are going to do it, do it in a way you will be proud of. Do it like you care. The key to this is to rethink how you think about work.
Approach your work like it’s art, something you give as a gift to your employer, to yourself and the world and not just for what you expect to be paid at the end of the month. Bringing humanity to your job and making sure is it not just a transaction where you swap some hours of your life for a pay check at the end of the month.
Adopt the mindset of a craftsman. Work everyday to produce, tinker, learn and get better.
One of the things that happens when you start to think of your work as art is you find the need to make it better. The need to make it a masterpiece. All great artists live for this. There’s a part of them that’s embedded in that work that can’t be replaced by just any person. They become great by working on their craft daily. They are prolific. Someone or something that is prolific is fruitful or highly productive.
This is the reason people pay millions for a masterpiece, because of it’s value, rarity and how hard it is to replace. In the same vein, what you are currently being paid by the company you work for will always be in direct ratio to the need for what you do, your ability to do it, and the degree of difficulty involved in replacing you. To become indispensable like a masterpiece, focus on learning rare and valuable skills and become extraordinary at them.Become so good at it that it’s difficult to ignore you. Until you become that good, you have no real leverage.
Once you get good and you consistently show up in the process of creating your masterpiece, share with the world. Be generous. In today’s world, the internet has made it easier than ever to create and share.As a starting point, do you have the ability to take decent photos and create basic blog posts?This skill means that you increase your professional impact dramatically. Show up everyday and get better. Produce something and share with the world.
Our manifesto: rethink how you think about work, think like a craftsman, focus on rare and valuable skills, get better at it, share it with the world. If you do this, you will never have to worry about sending your CV to 100 online ads and waiting for a call back to interview.