The Attitude For Change

Keep SwimmingMost simply stated: “Many people are not happy in their jobs.”

The above statement is not new News. There are probably several sets of statistics around that I could look up and quote here to validate that claim.

However, for employers and employees, having facts and figures on hand that support current job satisfaction levels isn’t really what is most important about the above statement, is it?

As Being Discussed on Quora

Consider the following related job satisfaction question on Quora that asks:  “Why do so many people hate their jobs?” This question has received more than 183 answers as of the time of this writing.

Asking “why” is actually a very important question.  One of the most up-voted answers to this question is from John Jeffrey Mardlin who sums it up nicely as this:  ”people hate their jobs because, now more than ever, there is the possibility to love their jobs…. and they don’t.”  

And, of course, not to be overlooked is John’s “secret sauce” solution, which he states as this:in treating your job as if you love it, that is the surest way to lead you to a job that you actually love. “  This feel-good positive-attitude philosophy is quite similar to a book which has been a best-seller in one form or another since 2004, entitled: “The Fred Factor”.

Attitude is clearly an important factor to achieving both success and happiness. This, too, is not new News.

Zappo’s and Michael Hyatt Agree, Too!

In a work environment, the daily grind and the constant pressure to hit revenue, sales or productivity targets can quite quickly become all consuming at the expense of the more meaningful heartfelt fulfillment attained by carrying out a business’ broader less self-serving vision or mission statement.

Or, as Zappo’s and Michael Hyatt have also written about in the past, it is the role that passion plays in the work we choose to do that contributes most to our level of job satisfaction and ultimately the larger impact of our jobs on our economy.

The Fuel of Passion, Purpose and Hope

In the same way that work environments can become seemingly frustrating and disappointing when a sense of purpose or passion or hope is missing or lost, the same applies to feelings about government and democracy.

Hope, passion, and purpose are important fuels to harness. Without those uniquely human psychological fuels which get us excited to wake up in the morning and face the challenges ahead of us with gusto, it is true that it is easier to become cynical than to become engaged.

What Does Democracy Have to Do With Job Satisfaction?

I bring up democracy in the context of job satisfaction because passion and purpose are what drives our commitment and dedication to each.

At the recent college graduation ceremony at The Ohio State University, a University with the motto of  “Education for Citizenship”, U.S. President Obama delivered a commencement speech last week that asked graduates to take on the role of full-time citizenship, even if they did not choose a career in public service.

I got curious about what that meant.  Who has time for two full-time jobs, one of which being citizenship?  So, I looked up the speech online and I listened to it again and took some notes.

In that speech, POTUS made two requests of the graduates:  (1) participation and (2) perseverance.  He then explained what he meant by each.  He also explained the challenging but worthwhile path to achieving change, a path which could take a lifetime to achieve without any guarantees of success, where recognition for your efforts may never be received, but also the knowledge that your involvement mattered nonetheless to enable that change to eventually occur.

Attitude Is The Key

The POTUS also used three adjectives to explain what full-time citizenship required.  Those adjectives for citizenship are:  (1) dedicated, (2) informed and (3) engaged.  All three components are required, not just one.  We go to school for knowledge.  Our job experience gives us knowledge.   Yet knowledged (via being informed) alone is not enough.   There is an attitude that needs to accompany that knowledge to make it effective.

It is the addition of “dedication” and “engagement” that turns knowledge into action so that ultimately change has the potential to emerge.  Particpation and perseverance…..passion and purpose….clearly, attitude is as important an element as being informed, educated, and knowledgeable.

The Most Appropriate Quote for The Moment 

There are so many more quoteable moments from that commencement speech that I would like to mention here.  But for now, consider the relationship between democracy and job satisfaction and the following excerpt from this commencement address:

“Nothing worth doing happens overnight. ….if you are living your life to the fullest, you will fail, you will stumble, you screw up, you will fall down,  but it will make you stronger and you’ll get it right the next time. or the time after that, or the time after that.

And that is not only true for your personal pursuits but it is also true for the broader causes you believe in as well .

You can’t give up your passion if things don’t work right away.  You can’t lose heart or grow cynical if there are twists and turns on your journey.

The cynics may be the loudest voices but I promise you they will accomplish the least.

It’s those folks who stay at it, those who do the long hard committed work of change that gradually push this country in the right direction and make the most lasting difference.”  ~ President Barack Obama

My Take-Away

Find your passion. It may or may not be at work. Choose your cause. It may or may not be at work. Full time citizenship does not require a career in public service.  Find a way to stay dedicated, informed and engaged. That is where your lifeblood lives.

Do you see this like I do in how an attitude of perseverance applies to jobs as well as causes?  

Photo Credit: title=”Keep Swimming” by Melody Campbell, on Flickr”

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