May 25, 2013

"The bottom line of a good job is that it makes you feel..."

"... like you have unlimited energy for your work because it’s so fulfilling."

28 comments:

wyo sis said...

Wow.
Would never have thought of all those obvious things without someone to guide me.
Thanks Penelope

Ann Althouse said...

I linked to this because I really believe in the importance of "flow" and this post applies the concept pithily to the question of what is a good job.

One job might pay much more but consume your energy, which you can never buy back. It's a great life if you're not doing anything for the money, but you are earning the money you need (and you don't need any money to make up for what you lost doing things for the money).

somefeller said...

Yeah, the bullet points are all pretty damn obvious and the biographical details mostly fall into the category of drama queen / TMI.

Once again, I ask: is Penelope Trunk actually good at anything other than self-promotion?

Michael K said...

I got as far as the doctor raping her after her appendectomy. Do you know how many people are in the room ? Too many.

Czikszentmihalyi was one of the people I studied in graduate school when I went back to study how to measure quality in medicine.

By the way, I learned that absolutely nobody was interested in studying the quality of the care their subscribers got. Not Medicare, not Medicaid, not insurance companies.

I even had the funding to do it for free. No deal. Especially not the government. That's why I am so enthusiastic about Obamacare and its IPAB

Michael K said...

IPRB, sorry

Chip S. said...

If you're gaining net energy from your job, you're probably not working hard enough.

somefeller said...

If you're gaining net energy from your job, you're probably not working hard enough.

Agreed. It's good to be fired up and excited when you start the day, but if you have more energy when the workday ends than when it begins, you've left too much on the field.

wyo sis said...

If you don't get energy from your job you find a way to get it somewhere else. Or, you eventually run dry.
The happiest people I know get energy from their relationships, not their job.

edutcher said...

I can agree with 1 and 3, 2 has nothing to do with a real job, and there are always going to be situations where you need some help in one way or another, so 4 doesn't work.

Actually, 2 should be something like well-treated - in the sense you're made aware management appreciates your work. I've worked at places where that was obvious at one point and later it was obvious we were all cannon fodder.

Lydia said...

The economy must be improving if folks now have the luxury to think about whether or not their job puts them in a "state of flow."

bagoh20 said...

Sounds like cocaine can make any job a good job.

The best "flow" from a job is cash flow.

Michael K said...

When I read this literature, the activity that produced the most "flow" was driving. It's about mastery of a complex task.

Carl said...

Only if it's a blowjob.

Frankly, the fetishization of work by people who don't really do any is a little nauseating. Humping 100 lb sacks of cement at a building site all day -- that's work. Also driving a tractor 13 hours to get the corn in, or fixing 18 cars, or painting a whole house exterior, or cutting the wood for an entire set of kitchen cabinets. After which, it's Miller time. Nobody who's done a good solid day's work feels like doing anything more than putting his feet up and enjoying a cold beer. Satisfying, sure. "Energizing?" Good grief.

The only people I find who fit into that latter weird category are those who consult, write, facilitate, coordinate, write turgid memos, read from teleprompters, and do other such bullshit Golgafrinchan Ark B "work."

Lem said...

I hate it when I discover I haven't plugged in the phone the night before and I have limited energy to check the Althouse blog.

William said...

Is this some new kind of literary device. You find some eye glazing topic--the effects of fluorescent lighting on office relationships, for example--then in the middle of the discussion you mention that your grandmother got raped when she was six. She does conduct her discussion of asperger's in an asperger's like way. The rape of a six year old has considerable emotional valence and is not usually associated with discussions of fulfilling careers.........I come from a 'umble background. I never really thought that fulfilling careers were what life was about. That's probably because I was raped by my uncle when I was four.

David said...

Got you beat. When I was 5 I raped my uncle.

"You little bugger," he declared.

Michael Haz said...

Ho hum.

That people actually pay Penelope Trunk for coaching shows how empty some people's lives are, and how excessively overpaid they have become to afford this pap.

Here is my advice, given as someone who will forever stop working June 14, 2013: Work as fucking hard as you can, make as much money as you can, live far below your means and stop working at as early an age as possible.

You'll be happy. Or actualized. Or whatever. But don't let your grandma buy your clothes because you'll grow up broke and living on a farm and writing ridiculous shit on a blog.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I have no idea who this Trunk person is and really don't care.

However, the other day my husband and I were talking about this topic. Jobs and what makes you like them and how they make you feel. In his job, people are happy to see him come to the work and THRILLED when he leaves after completing the job. You didn't have water before, you didn't have working toilets or any multitude of water related woes. Once the job is done, HE is a hero. Part of his payday is the gratitude and the feeling of actually being needed and of service. It is satisfying to feel appreciated. It is gratifying to know that what you do makes other people's lives better. That is how I felt about my financial planning practice.

A job where you are just grinding it out and no one ever says "Gee....thanks....I really appreciate what you did for me." No one recognizes your efforts. Too discouraging. No wonder we have bad performance and bad customer service. If no one else cares....why should you.

This is why we always take an extra effort to compliment the people that we do business with, even if it is the poor tired clerk at the gas station mini mart. YOU DO COUNT.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Here is my advice, given as someone who will forever stop working June 14, 2013:

Counting down the days, are we? I did too :-)

You won't stop working. You will just be working at things that YOU want to do.

Good advice BTW.

David said...

If you feel like you have unlimited energy for your work, maybe you are not working hard enough.

I liked my job, but even unlimited energy would have been insufficient sometimes.

Michael Haz said...

DBQ - At 4:00:01 PM. No, not counting a bit. :)

Paddy O said...

Golgafrinchan Ark B "work."

Nice!

Though, if I remember right, there was a fair bit of angst in the marketing assistant who had to look at 100s of very similar pictures of toothpaste everyday.

Now, off to find a soap mine...

Paddy O said...

The "flow" is why I went the direction I did, rather than go any number of other directions. I remember thinking, back when I was finishing college about what I loved, what I would do if money wasn't an issue. The trick, then, is to make money at that, so you can do it. And while I'm pretty burned out at the end of a fair amount of schooling, there's that flow, that zone, in writing and researching that really gets me going.

I've done enough unfun--often very physical--jobs in my life, and done them v well, to respect that kind of work too, and the people who do that, many of whom hate the work, but it pays for a nice life--and when the job is done for the day, that life takes over. Unlike other jobs where there's no getting away from them.

If you can find the flow and making a living at it, that's something special. Though, far too often, one's family and friends tend to be pushed into the background. I worry about that.

William said...

I've noted on a number of jobs that some people put far more effort into avoiding work than actually doing their job. The goldbricking, while more exhausting, did involve some creativity and was, in its way, perhaps more fulfilling than doing a good job. II found the easiest way to get through the day with minimal hassles was to do a good job. My competence was a higher, more evolved form of laziness.

pm317 said...

All I got out of the Trunk article is that I am more like my grandma on my father's side too.

I tend to look at my current job as a lucrative hobby -- don't get me wrong, I need the money though my husband would not complain if I threw up my hands and said I can't do it anymore. But I refuse to get into the rat race with this job. I agree with the flow concept. Incidentally I went around saying I need to get in the zone whenever I needed something done and didn't know that was famously said by that unspellable/unpronounceable guy that Ann likes.

Freeman Hunt said...

My husband has a great job that he loves.

During the most active phases of this job, however, he comes home and collapses into bed with no energy left at all.

So I don't know about this feeling of unlimited energy requirement.

n.n said...

This is why self-esteem was proposed to compensate people when they realize their good feeling is violated by the terms and circumstances of reality.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I get lost and lose track of time when I am planning and administering my family's budget and playing with spreadsheets. So I thought maybe I should go into accounting of some type. It's probably even a good mommy job because I could part-time "do the books" for a small business. But then my ass would get even bigger from all the sitting, unless I get one of those weird Meadhouse standing desks, and I'm too poor and/or cheap for that. So I teach preschool instead. I adore circle time when the kids are engaged and listening and making connections. Adore the hugs and "I love you Ms. Pants." Enjoy planning lessons and researching creative stuff to do. Am utterly exhausted at the end of my grueling 15-hour workweek (the four kids of my own contributes, however).