Are You Having Fun At Work?
by Ramon Greenwood
Such qualities as loyalty, energy, intelligence and hard work are certain
to be in any consensus of what it takes to build a successful career.
"However, there's another essential ingredient that is too often overlooked,"
says Ramon Greenwood, senior career counselor at CommonSenseAtWork.com "That is
having fun on the job."
In fact, most of us are downright ambivalent when it comes to the subject of
fun on the job and taking leisure time away from work. It is easy to argue both
sides of the issue.
You've heard the axiom, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Well,
it is true.
A macho point of view has been the order of the day among some ambitious
careerists. It expresses itself through a sort of masochistic drive to work more
hours than the next fellow, never take a vacation and otherwise reject the idea
that work can be fun.
Unfortunately, many companies pay only lip service to vacations and then
impose a guilt trip on those who get away.
Jon Neulinger, author of The Psychology of Leisure states flatly, "Those not
interested in doing anything but work are not likely to be CEOs."
He thinks most Americans do not spend enough time seeking leisure, which is
more than just piddling away spare time.
Leisure Is A State Of Mind
True leisure, Neulinger says, is a state of mind. It comes about when a
person engages in an activity that produces satisfaction, control and freedom.
It is this state of mind that is so essential to the human psyche. It is what
provides the regenerative, therapeutic quality of leisure.
Studies show that a sense of humor, in proper dosage, can boost creativity
and productivity, as well as take the air out of tense situations.
According to Greenwood, it can help you land the job you want. One study
revealed that 98 percent of over 700 chief executive officers interviewed
preferred job candidates who have a sense of humor over those who don't.
A clinical psychiatrist at Stanford University has found that a good laugh
raises the pulse and blood pressure and releases adrenaline into the system. The
lungs expand and torso muscles expand and contract. After laughter, the blood
pressure and heart rate return to normal. Laughter is said to be like jogging in
Leaders use humor to communicate goals and motivate their followers.
That's why the late Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, the giant retailer, was
willing to put on a hula skirt and dance down Wall Street when Wal-Mart
employees met a challenge he had laid down.
It is not necessary to be another Johnny Carson to provoke a rejuvenating
laugh or enjoy a joke. Lighten up. Be willing to laugh at yourself. See and
tolerate absurdities on the job. They do exist and they are not necessarily the
end of the world.
Tommy May, CEO of Simmons First National Bank, who is an arch conservative in
business matters, put humor to work to motivate workers in a United Way campaign
by letting his chief competitor throw a chocolate pie in his face when the
May-led team came in second in raising money.
Use humor carefully. Don't overdo it. Don't violate the rules of your
workplace. Don't laugh at people; laugh with them.
Heed the wisdom of Mark Twain: "...the law of work...the higher the pay in
enjoyment the worker gets out of it, the higher shall be his pay in money also."
It all comes down to the advice from one sage observer who said, "Get
happiness out of your work or you may never know what happiness is."
Ramon Greenwood is Senior Career Counselor for
is a former Senior Vice President at American Express, a published author
and syndicated columnist, a professional director and an entrepreneur.