Happy at Work?

Our office (the Office of the Registrar) at TWU is reading Sophie Rowan, Happy at Work: Ten Steps to Ultimate Job Satisfaction. TWU is going through some rough times, as evidenced in the recent articles in The Province http://www.theprovince.com/News/resting+laurels+recession+gnaws+bottom+line/1571428/story.html and The Langley Times http://www.bclocalnews.com/surrey_area/langleytimes/news/44824422.html It is impossible to get through these tough times without strong leadership. I believe that each person can and should be their own leader – to pick myself up by my own bootstraps is a sign of mature leadership. So, our office is reading Happy at Work in an attempt to anticipate an existential crisis and be prepared when it comes. Peter Koestenbaum says, “Helping employees anticipate existential crises, perhaps by revisiting and redefining previous emotional catastrophes in a group setting, can quickly improve the work atmosphere, health, productivity, and loyalty of workers.” Happy at Work starts with a section called, “Managing Yourself” and has three steps, each one a chapter, towards achieving this goal. The first step is “Know Yourself”. Self-awareness is something we can learn, and Rowan encourages readers along this path by asking them to chart their career satisfaction over the years. Our office drew our own graphs and talked (briefly) about our own stories; we were happiest when…; we were unhappy when…. We talked about what we learned about ourselves in the lows and the highs. We asked ourselves what triggered a specific career high or low. Then we talked about our own reactions to the highs and lows and perhaps how we might react differently next time. We also discussed what motivates us to get up and go to work. Is it money? Partly. Is it to gain some control? Partly. Is it to contribute? Yes. Is it for the social life at work? Sometimes. Is it because we’re ambitious? Hmm. Maybe. Probably. But the key point that most of us came to understand is that we all have had ups and downs – some of them very high and low – and so we should expect that to happen again. Being self-aware helps us anticipate and prepare for the future.

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