exploring possibilities for an engaging and productive workplace

Around 5:30PM, five days a week, year after year, my Dad and I had this conversation:

Me: (enthusiastic) "Hi Dad!"
Dad: (flat) "hi"
Me: (eager) "How was your day?"
Dad: (sarcasm) "What do you think?..."
Dad: (irritated) "I had to go to work"
Me: (deflated) "oh"

Playing this dialogue on repeat for several years has shaped my attitudes about work. Around age twelve, I made a promise to myself, a promise to never come home from work feeling how I imagined my dad felt.

Today I was reminded of my promise as I watched this video

This video re-affirms what my blog is all about. It's about my promise. I believe there doesn't need to be a choice between playing around or getting paid. We can have our cake and eat it too! or as they say at school (BGI), "yes, and.."

Work can be a fun, rewarding, and positive experience where work gets done and done well. This can be achieved without compromising the health of the workplace or the worker. There is a win-win for employees and employers. From what I hear, places like Google, Adobe, and several others have got this figured out.

So, what's the secret sauce? I'm interested in the impacts of management, paid time off, engagement, culture, benefits, etc. How do these policies and practices impact productivity?

4 responses to "Have Your Cake and Eat it Too"

  1. I wish I had some insightful comment on how to make get all these to work together. I've had a couple jobs I've loved, but after a while it's just the same old thing day after day, and the things that made it interesting are gone. For me part of what I love about any job is the joy in learning to do new things and solve interesting problems. How do you find a job that provides a steady stream of new types of problems to solve?


  2. Bria I'm really excited to see the research you do here because even people who really love their work often get gloomy about it regardless. Job satisfaction is a complicated beast and of course what mood we bring in the morning can defeat the best-planned job there is. I've been doing volunteer work lately and the funny thing about that is that if I were being paid to do the work, I wouldn't enjoy it. Strange, yes?


  3. I loved the video! Unfortunately that black and white - work vs. fun concept is really prevalent in our society. I saw a very large spectrum of the business world as I took short term temp assignments for several years out of college and this concept was my major take away from that experience. Ever since I have been trying to find that secret sauce. The two main ingredients I have found for that secret sauce are leadership, and right livelihood. Right livelihood, at least in the sense that people are content and satisfied with their activities, and leadership largely in that people feel valued and successful. These can take all kinds of different forms, but seem to be central to most anyone I have found who really enjoys their work.


  4. Thanks for sharing that video! It reminded me of one of my favorite movie intros: Joe vs. the Volcano.


    In the past couple of weeks I have had a few job interviews and have noticed the change in questions I am asking. I am considering culture, reward systems, and values alignment more. So even if the job doesn't appear to be my dream title, I am exploring what else can still make it a rewarding experience.


Leave a Reply