With our new “Social Coaching for Workplace Success” program, I’m spending more time researching, thinking, and teaching about work. Last week we hosted a discussion, “Lessons Learned on the Job,” with the young adults in our Social Coaching Network and their parents. As we shared stories about jobs we’ve held throughout our lives, whether at home or in the community, paid or unpaid, some main themes arose as people described the value of work:
1. It feels good to accomplish something
2. Getting affirmation from others for a job well done helps us to keep going
3. A paycheck is a definite benefit!
4. It’s great to know that we have gifts (time, abilities, knowledge, personality traits) that others need and value
5. Work helps us learn new skills
6. Work experience looks good on a resume and gives us access to people who might serve as references
Last week there was an editorial in our local newspaper (The Holland Sentinel, Esther Cepeda, August 30, 2012) entitled, “It’s called ‘work,’ not ‘fun.’” It was an interesting review of research indicating that young people today expect their daily pursuits to be “fun” and entertaining, and employers are beginning to have to deal with not just employing workers, but entertaining them.
I teach my students that employers have expectations for them, and the better they can meet those expectations, the more successful they will be. Are we modeling that for our students? Are we clearly defining our expectations, and giving them strategies to meet those? Are we ensuring that they have opportunities to develop work-related skills and a great work ethic?
Our students need to know that work isn’t always fun, but it’s still worthwhile! There are both “pros” and “cons” to almost every job. But most jobs help provide nourishment, growth, connections, and opportunities to contribute—all necessary components of a healthy, well-balanced life!
Best wishes in your work this week—whatever you do, and wherever you do it!