TED Talk Thursday ~ To the Worker Bees

The few times I’ve gotten together with my friends since I’ve been home it seems that work is the main topic of conversation.  I’ve sat back and listened to the conversation not having much to add on the subject and my silence has been noticed by a couple of people who commented that I must be bored with the topic.   I wasn’t, I just sat back and observed about how each person talks about their job, the pay and benefits, the people they work with, the location etc.

It’s interesting to find that the most vocal people in the conversation are the people who, even though they say they like their job, seem to contradict themselves at every corner.  It would be so much better if I didn’t have to work with this person or I was able to do this instead of this.  The quietest person (aside from myself) was self-employed and had been for many years.  She sets the rules, chooses how much work she wants to take on and takes vacation when she wants, giving her clients notice so they can make other arrangements for services.  She enjoys what she’s doing, seems to be earning fair compensation and has people knocking at her door because of her positive attitude.

Where is this leading?  It got me to thinking about what makes people happy at their jobs and what I enjoyed most out of my working years.  I’m still young enough to return to work if the occasion or necessity arose but I’m quite happy and busy now with life in Panama and I’m anxious to return.  Other than those lean years when I stayed home full-time with my children I’d have to say that my last job at MacEwan was the most enjoyable.  I was somewhat autonomous, working on projects on my own.  The projects I worked on with others gave me just enough contact and team atmosphere to not make me feel isolated.  I had my own, pretty nice space to work in.  I felt I was compensated for what I did and that employer recognized my value and contributions to the institution.  The hours were pretty good; although not perfect.   Most of the work I did allowed me to set my own deadlines, within reason.  And one of the best things was that an evolution was taking place and I was part of it and I was continually learning something new.

Today’s TED Talk is by Dan Ariely, an Israeli American professor of psychology and behavioral economics who teaches at Duke University.  He has long studied how emotional states, moral codes and peer pressure effect a person’s ability to make sensible and important decisions.  His introduction to irrationality took place while he was overcoming injuries sustained in an explosion that left him with third-degree burns on 70% of his body.  In this talk he discusses what encourages people to work. Most would say it’s about the money, but not always.  He demonstrates that it’s not about happiness either.  Not surprisingly, to me at least, most people feel the most satisfaction by constantly evolving and feeling valued.  Take a few minutes today and ask yourself some of those all important questions about the work that you do; and if you’re unhappy perhaps you can find some ideas that will help change that.

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About indacampo

You'll find me at https://indacampo.wordpress.com/ blogging about Panama...and other things.
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