04 Jan It’s time to raise the bar on Work
I am not at all comfortable with the phrase “I’m not what I do”. I see it as a way of justifying an out-of-touch model of work that allows us to compartmentalize the disconnection we feel, so that we can continue to engage in something that is contrary to our nature. It’s time to raise the bar on Work. Both individually, and as a society, we need to ask much more out of what we devote at least 1/3 of our day and life, and so much of our mental, emotional and physical energy.
Each of us has been given an area of natural expertise/talent, and if you speak to people about the talent they’ve been given, you’ll quickly discover that being allowed to express this ability and share it with others, gives them a most profound sense of fulfillment. For those who have found a way to make it their Career, you will hear them say “It doesn’t feel like work to me” and “I would be doing this even if I wasn’t getting paid for it.”
There’s important information in that for us to draw from, particularly when you consider the impact of work stress on our mental and physical health, and its cost to businesses and the healthcare system, not to mention relationships and families.
Just look at these numbers from a study done by the University of Massachusetts on the Financial Costs of Job Stress:
- 40% of job turnover is due to stress.
- Healthcare expenditures are nearly 50% greater for workers who report high levels of stress.
- Job stress is the source of more health complaints than financial or family problems.
- Replacing an average employee costs 120-200% of the salary of the position affected.
- The average cost of absenteeism in a large company is more than $3.6 million/year.
- Depression is the largest single predictor of absenteeism and work related performance.
- Depressive illness, a common side effect of job stress, in employees is associated with nearly 10 annual sick days (this study included one large firm).
- For every 47 cents spent on treating depression, another 53 cents is indirectly spent on absenteeism, presenteeism, and disability.
- Insurance data indicates insurance claims for stress related industrial accidents cost nearly twice as much as non stress related industrial accidents.
Clearly, societies would function much better if its people weren’t demoralized and debilitated by what they did for 1/3 of their day and fortunately there are signs that we’re waking up to this.
We are now living in a time when thoughts such as Living a Balanced Life, Self-care, Meditation, Mindfulness and Authenticity are not just frivolous concepts. Far from that. We are now alert to the fact that these are essential to our well-being, to feeling that we’re living meaningful, purposeful, and deeply fulfilling lives. Simon Senek says: “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we care about is called Passion.”
A New World
To anyone paying attention, you know that the world is changing rapidly. I take great hope in this because a time of change means that the old paradigm is breaking down and a new context, one that is relevant to who we are today, has a chance to be created.
I want to see a world where each person is supported in becoming the highest version of themselves, including how they express themselves through Work.
When I wrote: ‘I want you to wake up in the morning, happy to go to work, confident in your abilities and proud of what you’re doing with your life. I want you to feel acknowledged, appreciated, respected and treated fairly for what you do.’ I meant it.
If you, like so many people, are feeling stressed and anxious Sunday night because you know that you have to go into work Monday morning, that’s telling you something important. This is the time to raise the bar on work. Make it more than something you begrudgingly do. Step out of what was the societal norm for generations, where you stayed in a job you didn’t like for decades. Make what you do an expression of who you truly are. Dare to take your gifts, talents and joys out into this world, and live well from them.
Will this take effort? Of course it will, but what’s different about it is your connection to it: your motivation, your WHY. I want to encourage you to live your life authentically from the inside out, instead of keeping who you truly are inside, and going through the motions on the outside. This marks the difference between simply existing and truly living. And yes, this is possible. It just requires a shift in perspective.
Some of you might think this idealistic, and to those I would remind you that the computer/tablet/phone you’re reading this on, was once considered so unrealistic and idealistic that is was relegated to sci-fi fanciful thinking. The way we create a better tomorrow is by daring to dream a better dream today, and that takes courage and vision.
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Thank you for taking time to read this post! The right information at the right time is a most powerful catalyst for change. For Coaching, Workshops or an Inspiring Talk on this valuable topic, contact me!
(c) Titans International Inc. Kristina Jansz 2019, 2020-2050