How to fall in love with your job again
Welcome to January, the month of abstinence, resolutions and, according to company review website Glassdoor, the time you’re most likely to think about quitting your job. You’ve probably read a lot about the positives of side hustles and freelance life, but what if you’re committed to a career within a company?
European Twitter Vice-President Bruce Daisley has some of the answers. His new book, The Joy Of Work, offers “30 ways to fix your culture and fall in love with your job again”. Buzzing with the pep and positivity that comes from a career spent at a variety of tech firms (his CV features Google and YouTube) and inspired by his business podcast, Eat Sleep Work Repeat, Bruce’s book is a manifesto for frustrated workers.
DON’T CELEBRATE OVERWORK
“Most people have a 9-5 job and while the idea of a side hustle is appealing, there’s the more pressing and urgent matter
of getting the rent paid and paying off student loans,” says Bruce. “It’s becoming increasingly obvious we’re not retiring at 65, so we have a life service of this ahead of us and I think most people can get back to enjoying their job a bit more by making just a few changes.”
There are three pillars to Bruce’s approach. The first – Recharge – requires us to stop celebrating overwork and prioritise “deep work” – a state of distraction-free concentration – with regular “monk mode mornings”, where you’re unreachable for a set period of time. Working weeks should be shortened, lunch breaks taken and boundaries set with technology, such as turning off notifications and only emailing in work hours.
The second stage – Sync – incorporates your colleagues: take tea breaks, push for meeting-free days, organise social meetings, and reorganise your office to make space for communal gatherings.
The final stage – Buzz – is about working as a team: streamline meeting numbers, ban phones from meetings, organise “hack weeks” to come up with new ideas together and hold “pre-mortems” for projects so you can identify potential problems before they develop into something bigger.
IDENTIFY A SUPPORT NETWORK
If you think this is just for modern tech firms, think again – police, doctors, even a travel agency have embraced Bruce’s methods. “The intention is that a person might read this, find an article or watch a TED Talk and bring it to a team meeting and say, ‘I was thinking about this’,” says Bruce.
You, rather than your manager or HR, are responsible for your career happiness, says Helen Tupper, a former marketing director and co-founder of career coaching service Amazing If.
Helen recommends identifying a network of people to help you succeed in three areas: current role, future role and personal development. “You want five people to support you for each stage,” she says. “Don’t just think about your current department – think about other departments and companies where you could build relationships. You can borrow their ideas and insights and bring them into your job.”
If hot desking and remote working have left you feeling lonely, Helen suggests holding meetings over Skype (camera turned on), and setting up What’sApp groups “as a way of replicating the team dynamics”. Longer term, you need a strategy. “Write down the values important to you about where you work, who you work with, and what you work on,” she says. “My values are freedom, growth, energy and achievement – if I’m ever unhappy, I can look at my values and get practical about improving that.”
DEFINE YOUR OWN HAPPINESS
What does a happy job look like? “It isn’t about skipping into work,” says Fiona Murden, a psychologist and author of Defining You. “A happy job is about feeling fulfilled and positively challenged. It should be an environment where difference is nurtured and where there is transparency. The individual should be given time to reflect on who they are, what their strengths are, and where they want to develop.”
As for employers show-boating about happiness officers, slides between floors and pub jollies, Bruce urges caution. “Organisations that just go to the pub tend to be quite exclusive,” he says. “You want to know who is going to the pub. There should be a mix of people and levels and it should be done in work time – if a culture is built on everyone going to the pub at 6pm on a Thursday then you lose a lot of the parents, people with long commutes and those
who don’t have the money. You should be looking for a culture where you don’t have to spend half your pay packet down the pub with your boss to try and get on.”
The Joy Of Work by Bruce Daisley is out on January 17 (£20, Penguin)