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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I don't go to work to be Happy

Back when I was working,  I’ve run into managers who would approach me and tell me: “You don’t look like you’re happy”  when they’d noticed the serious expression on my face.

Some would think there was something wrong with me. Some would think I had an attitude or I was sarcastic. Others would think I’m hostile. Many would project the “Angry Black Man” stereotype on me.

What most people don’t know is that off the job I’m a friendly guy. Easygoing. Even a lot of fun.

But for me work is about getting serious, not being happy.  

And I didn’t think being happy was a qualification for a job. I never saw happiness as one of the duties in the job description for any positions I applied for.

But some managers are trying to make happiness one of the qualifications for their jobs.

Let me say this: I don’t go to work to be happy. No one should.

Now I’m not a curmudgeon. I don’t have an attitude. I’m not angry or frustrated. I’m just very serious about any job I’m doing.  

When I have a stern or serious look on my face I am is focused on the task at hand.  I’m concentrating on what I’m working on.

When I’m at work I have no time to smile. I understand I’m hired to get things done. To meet goals.

More importantly, I’m hired to perform tasks that will help a company compete with other businesses.

And when a business is in competition with other businesses there’s no time for people to be happy. Business is a game of survival, companies compete to stay alive. Employees who understand that work is a place where they are paid to get things done are more productive.

When I’m on a job, the time for me to smile is pay day. That’s when I’ll get happy.

But when it’s time to work I want to keep it professional. That’s when I put my game face on. That’s how I concentrate. That’s how I focus. That’s how I compete. That’s how I do my job, providing the best whatever it is I do for someone else.

From my personal experience, it’s the people who want to be happy at work job are usually the ones who bring chaos to a workplace.

Usually these individuals reek of so much insecurity that they wind up destabilizing a business. It’s their insecurities about making people happy that causes a company to lose its direction. They’re so busy focusing on micromanaging everyone that they wind up throwing a business off course.

In their quest to be comfortable, they make everyone miserable.

And you don’t go to work to be comfortable. Because when a person is comfortable at work is when they make the most mistakes. Career ending mistakes.

People who are happy and comfortable forget they’re on a job. They don’t take their jobs seriously. They cross boundaries they shouldn't. Workers who are too at ease can lead up to a host of troubles for an employer from sexual harassment lawsuits all the way up to workplace accidents with life-threatening injuries.

Work isn’t all smiles. No one is going to be happy in a job all the time. There are going to be good days and bad days. Days that make you want to tear your hair out. Days that make you want to quit and open a peanut stand in Hawaii. But a professional employee takes each day one day at a time and does what they have to in order to get through the day.

A professional understands that work is work. That they need to establish boundaries for conduct and etiquette in the workplace. They understand that they are being paid to get things done, and their satisfaction comes from getting things done. They don’t go to work to be happy, they are happy when they’re doing their jobs to the best of their ability. 

1 comment:

  1. I noted this fact long ago, but never saw a comment on it and never commented myselt. I first thought about it in a bank where the smiles seemed pasted on and the voices unreal. It's good to have you point this out. Civility is what we need more, not to mention mature respect and helpfulness. Happiness never hurts, but it shouldn't be fakes. That never works.

    Keep it up, Shawn. Keep it up!