I was pondering this question on an early train to Manchester this week. Commuters were sleeping, texting, reading, whilst others just stared into space. You could hear a pin drop. The carriage was quieter than the quiet carriage on a Virgin train. The sole conversation came from a lady chatting to her partner on the phone. I could tell it was her beau because there was a heart emoji next to his name on her mobile screen. She clearly loved him.
Have you ever had that urge to break the silence and speak out?
I really wanted to ask everyone packed into that train carriage whether they loved their job. How many do you think would have replied yes?
There doesn’t seem to be any reliable research out there on what percentage of people are happy in their work, although there are various surveys about unhappiness. A quick google search showed that somewhere between 53% and 80% of people in the UK hate their jobs. Whichever way you look at it, that’s a lot of miserable commuters.
I’ve developed a greater awareness of job satisfaction since becoming self-employed. When I do have to tackle the morning commute now, I’m no longer one of those grey-suited faces in the crowd falling asleep and looking a bit miserable. I’m the one in the brightly coloured clothes with a spring in my step because yes, I love my job!
That morning I was heading to a meeting for internal comms professionals. It was a bit of a therapy session where we each brought a challenge to the table and asked for ideas and approaches to help tackle it. Although these days internal comms projects are a only a small proportion of my work, I really enjoy keeping up to date with what’s happening in that world and I still have a lot to offer. If I can help other comms professionals at the same time, then even better.
The issues raised ranged from car parking to branding to communicating change - a real diverse bag, yet the root of the problem is always the same - other people!
It was evident to me during the session that everyone in the room had a real passion for their job. Whilst there will always be challenges and issues to face in communications, the people in the room truly wanted to make a difference. The sheer fact that they were in the room in the first place demonstrates a willingness to improve.
I came away from the session thinking that I really do have the best of both worlds now. I am lucky enough to get to choose the projects I work on and have significantly less bureaucracy and red tape to get through than most other communicators. I meet some incredible people who clearly love their jobs, many of them small business owners who are working hard to make a success of their business idea.
I’m not big on quotations, but if I had to choose a favourite one, this would be it:
Do what you love; love what you do
This is what I’m doing right now and it seems quite appropriate given February is the month of love.