Loving One’s Work Used to be Nice. Today, it is Essential.
Much has been said about the divisiveness rolling through our country. Unfortunately, little is said about ending the source of that anger.
Not long ago, our country celebrated a 3.8% unemployment rate. At the same time, about half of America’s workers characterized themselves as underemployed. Most of them were stuck because their world prepared them for the Industrial Revolution. Without intervention, the underemployed hold multiple jobs to barely cover the needs of their families. They hold onto obsolete jobs hoping they don’t get laid-off, but they do. The underemployed consistently hear that technology is taking away jobs. When so many people look to the future and cannot find a place for themselves, of course, we are going to have turmoil!
We will never learn anything of value by studying failure or mediocrity. Our time is far better invested in studying the people that are succeeding in the way we want to succeed. In this particular case, let’s take a look at some of our most revered workplace icons.
The world is facing the biggest restructuring of work in 300 years. Many complain that technology is taking away their jobs. This is true. But, it is equally true that advancing technology offers us the freedom to do far more with our lives. Millions of us are already “in” and using our time to forge unique careers, solve big problems, help and connect with others. Getting from the old to the new requires a new mindset, a new set of skills that require a bit of courage to learn, and the opening of one’s eyes in an era where we can learn anything that we want in just hours.
Helping our people move into the new world of work is critical for our country. We lay people off while other countries rebuild them. Many of America’s global competitors have developed talent strategies that educate workers to grow into new roles. Instead of passively standing by as change make a role obsolete, they are preparing their people to grow and move forward. We ought to study the success of these countries, which include: Germany, China, S. Korea, Canada, and Japan.
The single most important difference between the talent strategies of these countries is startling! The underemployed don’t need promises, they need guidance. America has the world’s most diverse talent pool in the world. Not only do we need to develop the talent that is already here, but we also need to attract the world’s best talent.
Mini-Guide for the New World of Work
Job Number One: Love Your Work
Retooling oneself can be a pain in the ass. Therefore, it is a good idea to not only take care of today’s needs but to also address past missteps. The most successful people in the world insist on finding the work we love.
From Steve Jobs:
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
When we forget to build a foundation, the house above will eventually crumble.
The Industrial Revolution didn’t tell us to love our work. We were told that if we took a job, even one that was monotonous and mind-numbing, we would be rewarded by security and predictability. When children began to dream about their future, they would often tell their parents what they wanted to do with their lives. One of the most common responses was,
“Go get a real job.”
Get this, loving one’s work was always the ideal way to unleash one’s soul. I know this because I have been around thousands of people identifying what they most wanted to do with their lives and how they were going to monetize that.
When we began our business, most of our participants wanted to define their ideal work because it felt spiritually right. Most people continued to do the work that gave them predictability and security. Then, technology rose up like a tsunami, and wash the old model away.
Today, loving one’s work is job number one. Love is the single most effective fuel to retool one’s life. Every time the world speeds up yet again, the need to find the right people to help us grows as well. The need to become visible has grown as quickly as the fact that today’s college graduates will change careers 4-6 times.
Loving our work gives us the juice to include discomfort and develop skills we never had to use before.
From Oprah Winfrey:
“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you. ”
Defining and finding the work we love brings positive energy to all of our relationships and a form of enthusiasm that cannot be manufactured.
Job Number Two: Develop Connectivity
Connectivity is a series of skillsets that help us quickly and graciously connect with the right people.
Connectivity allows us to build a customized community that supports our mission, vision, and purpose.
Connectivity gives us the means to be visible and when people see us, they also see our unique value.
Connectivity skills make it effortless for people to tell us what they need and want.
We tend to be hard on ourselves when we are frightened. When we cannot connect, we often turn the outcome into a shortcoming. It is actually a learning solution and one that requires practice. For those of us with deep fears about getting attention, the alternative ought to be more frightening. Don’t wait to be fearless. Use courage to take action now.
From Warren Buffett:
“Without passion, you don’t have energy. Without energy, you have nothing.”
Job Number Three: Become an Active Learner
My office window looks direct to Sony Music, a five-story upscale office building that has been empty for almost nine months. Countless employers and business owners are having to find information to not only respond to the health crisis but to understand how to build a strong culture with remote work. Every day, accelerating change impacts all of us.
As a result, active learners have quickly taken ownership of the modern workplace. Today, savvy employers ask a few questions to determine if someone pursues knowledge or not. If the candidate doesn’t have that characteristic, the interview is usually over. Oh, they might look as if they are in their body but they are making grocery lists and reviewing unfinished work.
In a world that moves so quickly, traditional degrees are usually obsolete when the ink drys on the diploma!
Like so many previous outlooks, many families treat education like another chore.
Active learners don’t get laid off, they don’t become obsolete, they grow in ways that are profoundly surprising and moving.
How do I know this? I consume information every single day. I listen to successful people. I’m also comfortable with not having a clue on how to approach a problem. As a result, I’ve learned there is always a solution.
How do we turn people into active learners?
Love your work and you will learn what you love.