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Motivational Monday: Relishing the Workday

Well, it’s Monday again. And thanks to the wonders of advance posting, this should be going live even while I’m making sure that our next generation can hear. Here’s something a little motivational to get you through the week. I don’t promise to make a habit of this, but I like the alliteration.

I’m going to share a secret with you. While I rather dread having to go to work, I tend to enjoy myself while I’m there—particularly at the library.* Here’s how:

For people who work a fairly regular schedule, it’s a matter of logic and math. (If you’re putting in lots of overtime or are freelancing, this may not work for you.) You’ll have to translate the 4 hours to 8, but this probably applies to your job too.

1. Since I work part-time at the library, I am there for 4-hour shifts.

2. I may be there 10 minutes early and stay a few minutes late, but my shift has a definite beginning and end.

3. Therefore, I will be at the library for approximately 4 hours.

4. Really, I’m going to be there. There’s nothing I can do to get paid for 4 hours except work for 4 hours.

5. So why not smile and enjoy myself?

What’s the alternative? Make myself miserable? Waste 4 hours of my life by feeling down or grumpy? Perhaps it helps that I have a strange devotion to libraries.

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not all happiness and bunnies. Besides having to deal with the general public (sometimes a frustrating lot!), I have a boss who’s a complete…enigma. No one really understands her or how she got to that position.

But you know something, I’m going to be there for 4 hours and I might as well consider her one of those elusive Zen masters who teaches you happiness and patience by confusing the heck out of you. It’s like a game, wondering what she’ll ask you to do next, wondering when or if she’ll realize how nonsensical her request is.

I’ve even learned to appreciate her one extremely useful skill. She’s quite good at telling patrons “No.” I like having someone to back me up and when she does, she does it with conviction and authority. She’s not as good at helping them resolve issues that we can help them with, but I don’t generally need backup for that.

When I do find myself getting stressed at work, I just remind myself of the points above. That’s why there’s so much repetition…I’m trying to drive it through my thick skull. I don’t discount the negative experience, I just start thinking about all the reasons why being grumpy about it won’t make anything better. That tends to work.

I relish whatever productivity I have and tell myself that any lack of productivity caused by the system is the system’s right since they’re the ones paying me. I don’t have to like it, I just have to handle it and do my best whenever I’m allowed. I smile when I talk to the patrons because it makes all of us feel happier. And I tend to leave work feeling pretty good, even if I’m tired.

*at the hospital, I have to deal with the uncertainty of medicine. I find it stressful when I think a baby can hear but its ears are still clogged with birthing debris. Especially if the baby is going home and I have to refer for followup. Or if the parents cry. Libraries are much simpler. But then I also get a rush from having a really good day where every baby in the nursery passes!

And then when I’m freelancing, it’s not like I work for specifically 4 hours, so I can’t tell myself that. *sigh* I do like the way freelance mixes with structure, so I doubt I’ll quit the library job.


ChristianPF June 2, 2008 at 1:05 pm

you are right – life is too short not to enjoy (or at least try) to enjoy every moment of it…

Funny about Money June 2, 2008 at 2:41 pm

That’s cool. It’s sort of like what I used to say when I was writing full-time and wanna-be writers at writer’s conferences used to ask me how to deal with writer’s block: “Visualize your byline on the paycheck.” 😉

It’s actually good to hang on to a p/t job even if you’re getting a fair amount of freelance work, because it forces you to get out and interact with people. If you’re the sort of person who CAN work alone successfully, then you likely WANT to work alone. And doing that all the time may not be the healthiest thing for one.

David Carter June 2, 2008 at 6:49 pm

I always try to keep a good attitude when I am at work even though I don’t particularly like it. There is no point in being unhappy while you are at work. Sometimes it is hard for me to do this if I get swamped or work with people who leave early or don’t do their share(cause I will have to pick up the slack).

Dad June 2, 2008 at 11:20 pm

You’ve picked up something that took me years to see. My job has had its ups and downs. Sometimes I’m quite happy to be there and at others it is a pain. Most of the down times I can make myself content anyway. And then comes days when I am doing something I really enjoy (usually something trivial but enjoyable, rarely earthshaking, actually never earthshaking 🙂 ). It keeps me generally happy and probably helps my health. It is true, that some of the most annoying things, I bring home and try to tell my wife in a humorous way that lets me see the ridiculousness of what I’m being subject to. Life is good!

I’m sorry to hear about the times when parents cry. That must be so tough. My heart would go out to them so much. But be encouraged that there is so much more that can be done today than in the past and soon there will be even more.

Dad June 2, 2008 at 11:23 pm

BTW, I think you need to get as much as you do. I can work from home and at times do for various convenience reasons. But I much prefer to go out to work. I get cabin fever and I have a wife at home most of the time. That way your home is the haven you return to from your place of trials and not the place you are confined to day after day.

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