Saturday, February 19, 2005

Take this job and .....

Penguine4050 asks, "Do people even really want to work?" 

She's a store manager and her salespeople seem less than enthusiastic about their jobs.

I said, "Of course they don't want to work.  That's because it is work."

Some of us do really love our jobs.  So what makes it a good job? 

The jobs that I have had that are really fun are ones where people are working together on some obtainable, observable goal.  These are usually volunteer jobs where I have something to offer, or some way to help other people achieve a goal.  For me it involves writing, drawing, or driving.  That's what I do. 

What could Penguine do get her folks working together.  What in her community needs doing.  Sponsor a little league team, have a monthly pizza feed on skid row, set up a youth blogging station in the store?

What has made your work fun in the past?  Could she use it?


virage65 said...

Hey Chuck,

there are lots of good books at the library that will help Penguine out.  One of the more notable ones in called "Fish!"  It's based on the men who work at the a fish market in California, but they all love their jobs so much that people come to the fish market to watch them work.

There has to be a reason why her workers are unhappy.  A lot of it may have to do with the actual management of the place.  

What has made my job fun in the past?  Interaction on a personal level with customers, knowing what is expected of me and being trusted to do it without interference, good pay and benefits, respect from co-workers and bosses, the chance to take a break at some point in the day, a one-hour lunch, birthdays observed -- complete with cake, freebies -- even if they just silly trinkets, instant gratification from projects, praise from bosses.

A good boss knows when to butt out, when to praise, when to offer constructive criticism and when to do something to lift everyone's spirits.

Really listening and considering employee ideas is another valuable tool.  I think it was a major corporation in the oil and automotive industry that recently opened the gates to employee suggestions and as a result saved millions with time and labor-saving ideas.

Workers are happy when there is respect and reward in their work, no matter how miserable their job is.

mavarin said...

It seems to me that the main thing that works is to find a job that suits your skills and interests, even if that means going to school to get the skills to work in the field you like.  I never thought I'd enjoy bookkeeping, much less accounting, but I do.  It's a good fit for a shy person with good analytical skills.  So now I have the degree and additional skills to upgrade the job that goes with this interest.  The only bad thing about that is I now have to leave a job I like, working for and with people I like and respect (and who respect me).

And that's the other part of the equation, of course.  If you're in a workplace where you know what is expected and are taught the skills to do it, where people are supportive instead of hypercritical, where there is laughter instead of fear and oppression, and where people notice if you do a great job, then you're going to be a much more happy and productive employee than if the rules are onerous and the people unpleasant, and the boss is constantly criticising you over trifles, or ridiculing or harrassing you.  I've been in both kinds of environments, and it makes a big difference.  A good boss who appreciates me is the main reason I've been with Worldwide Travel for over a decade.


plieck30 said...

My favorite job was a parttime job as switchboard operator in a small south texas town when I was a teenager. The old fashioned switchboard where you had to listen in to see if a call had been completed. The office was in someone's home and we had to set a bell when we went outside to the outhouse. Its the truth! Paula

ryanagi said...

I always loved those lame "team building" exercises we were subjected to. A nice group outing to go bowling (complete with team tee-shirts), mini-golf, dinner... anything done as a group that is fun and promotes camaraderie. A nice certificate or plaque for achievement doesn't cost much and tells the team you noticed they are doing a good job.

chasferris said...

Checking comments

judypearllove said...

I have had great jobs. I taught 4 yr. olds in day care. the kids made it wonderful. I worked in a living assistant home. The patients make it wonderful. I worked at Elivs Presley's graceland home. The tourest make it great and of coarse it was ELVIS PRESLEY'S HOME AND I COULD HEAR HIS MUSIC ALL DAY. I worked as a coctail waitress and the customers and co-workers along with great bosses made it fun. my husband owned a bingo operation. The way he treated his employees by the rate of pay, insurance, breaks, time off, understanding their situations, his friendlyness toward each of them and his concern, holliday presents or extra money his praise and his honesty and directness of what he expected from their job title and their honesty, his willingness to work with there schedules when he made them out for his employees. all these thing made him very well liked and his employees love to work for him. I now work at a Casino and I love it. It has time off, good pay, good insurance, certain rules that has to be followed, co-workers are all friendly. all managers are friendly and they make each department a place everyone wants to work well with each other in to make our guest have the best service and great experience with our service, gaming, hotels, restuarants, and entertainment. we have company parties and extras at christmas, good benefits like 401k and the company matches it, credit union and christmas funds, short term disability, life insurance. given praises on good work and overtime work. they feed us free, cook our meals and pay us for our breaks and cleans it up for us. gee I have an awesome job !!! I get to usher when we have big name groups in for our entertainment like Brooks and Dunn, Aretha Franklin, Dick clark, Styx, Dolly Pardon, Kenny Rogers, Gladys Knight and I'm getting paid to watch these great entertainers and meet them when they check in our hotel. Everyone is there to have a great time gambling, eating, and having fun.  

valphish said...

I think that to enjoy work one would have to feel they are doing something "meaningful".  I think the jobs I enjoyed in the past were ones where I felt I was making someone happy.  I was enjoying my co-workers and smiling with the public.  I was also putting out a product I was pleased with and it was something that I was proud about.  I think that your suggestions were good.  If the co-workers have a common goal to work for, that is great!  The ho-hum drudgery of the day can be very hard.  Mix it up and put some meaning to it!!  Give people incentive!  Give them a reason to come to work!  Even if it is something small!  Everyone is looking for a purpose!!  Interesting post as always, Chuck!! xox

penguine4050 said...

hey guys thanks for the comments and here are some things i have already done to motivate the mood.  i have given money prizes for sales and great associate plaques, pizza party and always say thank you for a job well done.  today we had a big visit at the store and wow it went great. actually the best the store has ever had.  when the visitors were gone i called everyone over and went over the notes from the visit and thanked each and every person for there great help getting the store in shape and ready for the visit.  then we did the 3 things on the notes and everyone left earlier than they were scheduled.  teamwork will help, i just need an extra things to get them motivated.  thanks chuck for this entry!

penguine4050 said...

also part of the motivation at the store is these poor guys have gone threw 6 managers in one year and they find it hard to adjust again and i cannot blame them.  i want them to be happy again and not think that they have to adjust and readjust when another manager comes along.  they are all great people just all have been threw a lot of stuff this year and i want them to be teamplayers and have fun.