JUST199WORDS: Work Is Not a Party, But …

KennaBug playing final

I learned this in my Cornell psychology class: A child’s play is her work.

So 11-month-old granddaughter, McKenna, is hard at work above.

Curious, when you are at work, do you “play”?

Outstanding people have careers not “jobs” because they find joy in work. They feel happiness as they toil. They don’t …

  • Hate Mondays
  • Wait for “Hump Day”
  • Stampede the exit at 4:30pm every Friday
  • Pine for retirement
  • Grump their way through their day

I believe this:

Playfulness is a choice, a decision. There’s “intentionality” to the playful person. They begin their workweek planning to enjoy it.

We write in Outstanding! that “work is not a party.” But just as McKenna decides to play by peeking over an ottoman, people who love what they do might love what they do because they choose to bring a playful spirit to their work.

And, clearly, playfulness is not just of immeasurable value to us, but our organizations, colleagues, and customers.

So ask QBQs (quick “tutorial”) such as, “How can I find joy in what I do?” and “What can I do to celebrate small victories?”

Or, if needed, this powerful question: “How can I find work that I love!?”

All questions worth asking.

For Discussion:

What is your #1 “take-away” from this piece?

How will you apply it? Share below.

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10 Responses

  1. As a new business owner, business is, well, slow. But I love what I do and this career does bring me joy, so my take away from the article is to Keep at It and Don’t Give Up!
    If you love the work, you should be doing it!
    Thanks for the reminder!!

  2. John, this reminds me of a video that we watched during a management training session. It was about Pikes Place Market fish throwing. It really emphasized the importance of having fun at work and how to change the work environment to reflect that.

  3. I try to create an environment of fun in the work place. I teach Cosmetology so I have a captive audience. I if I could just get my family to laugh at my jokes it would be win-win for me! Thanks for this perspective John.

  4. I found there is a way to find joy in whatever you do. First find what it is that makes you happy? Then find a way to put that into the tasks you have to do. For me, I am most happy when I am helping someone else. When I do my job, I am helping my boss. But that is not enough I take the next step. How can I help my co-workers, so they can do their job better? When we are all doing our job a little better, I have a little bit of time that I can use to make other improvements…

    Ask these questions: What gives me joy? How can I use what gives me joy to improve what I am doing? How can I spread that joy to others around me so they will also find joy in what they do?


  5. Before I retired I was the manager (and part owner) of a small insurance agency. Clients would frequently ask me “Why are you always so happy?”. I had 2 main responses – “What’s the point in coming to work if you can’t be happy?” and “Any morning I wake up it’s got to be a good day”. Mind you I wasn’t always happy when I was doing payroll! Not that I begrudged paying our employees but because of the intricacies of it. I still try to have the same outlook.
    If employees aren’t happy they should change jobs, although some won’t be happy under any circumstances.

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