“I know I'm lucky to even have had that experience,” he says. “We were still young enough at the time not to fully grasp how good it was.”
That’s my friend and former colleague romanticizing a golden period in our professional lives. We had so much fun at our online gig creating stories, measuring audience traffic and trying new digital experiments that we’d stay late ON PURPOSE because we had serious FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).
A variety of factors contributed to this professional perfection:
1. The right time in our lives – this was before the majority of our workmates had kids or too many external responsibilities. We were free to work late and to go out together after work.
2. The right combo of people – our working group consisted of a variety of strong, opinionated personalities. These were not like minded people. We argued, we had differences of opinion, but we respected one another. Everyone had something to offer. Each day was interesting, because we weren’t a bunch of drones going on about the same thing. Everyone had different stories to tell.
3. Jokes – I spent an entire year laughing hysterically. We pulled pranks, we told jokes and we lovingly mocked one another.
4. The work – we genuinely liked what we were doing. We were creating interesting content, measuring and optimizing stories, photo galleries and interviews.
5. Our boss – our manager was funny, considerate and capable. He took time to meet with us on a regular basis, to help us identify areas to improve and worked hard to ensure our work was recognized and that we were compensated when we went above and beyond.
Unlike my friend, I don’t believe this magic hour was a once-in-a-professional-lifetime experience. I’ve been fortunate enough to find moments of pure joy in my working life since then. Do I hate Mondays? Of course, I am not a robot. Do I cringe upon re-entry, post-vacation? Yep. Do I have super cranky days that find me huffing and puffing about some foolish thing that happened? Absolutely. Mostly, though, I enjoy my colleagues and my work. Here are my Top 5 Tips for Not Hating Work:
1. Your new mantra is “this will be a funny story later”. Did you get yelled at? Did a project go wrong? Did you make a terrible typo? Did your computer die causing you to lose all your work? Be sad, be mad and then think about how to re-enact your downfall to entertain your colleagues later. When you’re in the middle of a “moment”, think how it’ll be funny later. It’ll make it better, I promise.
2. Get to work early and spend your first 15 minutes getting settled. This will ease the frenzy and allow you a few minutes to chat with your coworkers, share amusing cat videos on the Internet and generally get ready to start your day.
3. Read up about developments and innovations in your industry. Understanding that change is coming and having a sense of the scope of the opportunity that brings to your area of focus can be inspiring. Doing the same thing every day, all day? Get some fresh ideas.
4. Don’t check your phone while you’re eating lunch. Take a breath. Eat something. Have a glass of water. Talk to your colleagues. Don’t check your email. Don’t text.
5. Take time to be social. Yes, you’re very busy, I get that. You can still commit to going out to lunch once a month and/or meeting after work for a drink now and then. Taking time to connect with your colleagues socially helps cement friendships and provides a greater appreciation for the different opinions and personalities you’re going to deal with on a daily basis.