My Quietly Contented (Work) Life

quietlife“You cannot self-generate the necessary ‘heat’ of affirmation, encouragement, and support that are gained from true friendship.”
David H. McKinley in “The Search for Satisfaction”

If you keep tabs on the daily Internet news leads, it’s clear the writers of these career primers believe that experiencing success, satisfaction, even workplace satiation boils down to gaining three end objectives: money, power, prestige.

Almost every career advancement tip is carefully coiffed, meticulously scripted, and laced with predatory implications: it’s me against you and “me” (if given the choice) isn’t going to allow “you” a foothold.

Truth is; these writers aren’t even close to correctly assessing what men and women from either end of the socio-economic spectrum cite as the most satisfying aspect of their career.

Can you guess? Hands down, it’s how successful individuals measure their interaction with others and how great an impact they believe they are making day in and day out. Doesn’t matter if a person spends the bulk of his time in the business, medical, educational, service, or media industries.

The conclusion is the same: how richly we relate to others makes all the difference. Not only does enjoying vibrant relationships with people determine how individuals quantify their “happiness” level, it also affects how productive they are. McKinley writes, “Doing the job alone – is a primary cause for lack of productivity in our lives.”

So instead of vying solely for that next promotion in too typical lone-ranger fashion, employers(ees) would be better served to focus their energies on upping their people-service quotient as they work “with” and “for” those around them.

On The Job: What’s Most Satisfying?

· Developing relationships with parents/students. – Academic advisor
· Helping people get through a difficult time in life. – Physician
· Affecting lives for the good. – Salon owner
· Supporting people as they change. – Family counselor
· Presenting a “package” then watching the receiver unwrap the gift. – College art professor
· Knowing something made a difference. – Writer
· Finding the right solution to a client’s problem. – National account executive
· Instructing children and cheering their progress. – Media secretary
· Seeing the visual satisfaction of my customers. – Gardner/landscaper
· Creating/inventing product that brings value to my company. – Chief architect

What’s Most Difficult?

· Dealing with people in crises that have no support system. – Critical care registered nurse
· Trying to help people who will not help themselves or make no effort to take responsibility for their own problems. – Surgeon
· Absent students and discipline problems. – Secondary teacher
· Experiencing isolation from others by working from home. – Real estate developer
· Having to say “no” to 2500 inquiries/proposals a year. – Acquisitions manager
· Convincing the needy/elderly they require assistance. – Owner of home health care
· Getting others to catch the vision and invest in it. – Publisher

Notice the common thread? Work gratification all about developing and maintaining significant relationships with others using one’s gifts and talents along the way. No mention of money here, not a single reference to stepping up the ladder of “success.” When we operate under the principle of partnering with people for the benefit of all; everyone wins. And when people feel like winners, even mediocre work relationships transform into rich resources of friendship. McKinley notes, “Life is full of treacherous pathways. The potential for a fall is great. We need friends who can help us and provide strength in times of weakness, so don’t travel alone.” Even if those career advancement experts were even a little bit right; they were mostly wrong. Aren’t you glad?


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