Cake
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    • I'm surprised at how many articles are appearing claiming most people in white-collar jobs, who thought they were pursuing their dreams, are unhappy. It isn't the money, it's the hours, the politics and the lack of meaning.

      Is it true? I notice that even in companies like Google, the turnover is high. I assumed that was because there are so many other exciting things to pursue — working at Tesla or Netflix or Apple, or a startup.

      I confess I have to feel like I'm working on something that has meaning. I couldn't work at a cigarette company. You?

    • It was a combination of things for me. Working on an interesting product helped immensely but I think the key for me was respect. I respected the work of the developers in creating the product, and they respected my ability to exercise it and (reasonably) document and report issues.

      My last job in the corporate world was testing software. I looked at it as a puzzle - I needed to understand the purpose of the tool but I also needed to think about how our customers would use the product. I looked at the process like a puzzle - combining intent, use, and imagination to come up with a series of tests that would exercise the product.

      I always had a good working relationship with the developers. They would often give me early releases - as in not yet really ready for testing - for a sanity check. This was a time for discussion and feedback.

      I guess I just liked trying to break things!

    • There’s no magic salary at which a bad job becomes good.  But what’s remarkable is how few workplaces seem to have internalized this simple lesson. “There are so many jobs where people feel like what they do is relatively meaningless,”

      When you go to work at a certain well-known fast food restaurant, you go through an orientation that includes watching a video.  This video shows a stressed out family stopping to eat at their restaurant after coming from a hospital visit of a loved one.  The video has the employee share a smile, a pleasant greeting and offer to get the kids refills.  You come away from the video feeling that the work is meaningful.  I once interviewed the owner of a cleaning company and I asked him, “Why do people like working here?”  He said that what they do is important, that what they do creates a safe and clean space for people. And it was obvious that he created a work environment where people felt that they had meaningful jobs.  I’ve had high paying jobs and low paying jobs that were meaningful.  Every job has grunt work and unpleasantries.  What matters is that you have a why to your struggle.  If you have that, everything else is what Robert Fulghum calls an inconvenience.

    • For sure, I remember seeing his TED talk many years ago and it helped me connect the dots. I've also been influenced by David Logan and his notions on tribal leadership. Put together with some foundational principles on hiring; I've enjoyed consistent success in building great long lasting and successful work environments, cultures, and relationships.

    • I've been reading those articles too. With that, I started to think about what makes me unhappy at work and what makes me happy. The longer I work where I am the less I'm treated like my work and knowledge is valued. This make me unhappy and watching the same mistakes made over and over make me unhappy. So many repeats that don't work could be avoided if management would work with folks that have been around for awhile.

      The work I do is all about sustainability and there is certainly value in that which I like. I like that I'm in a climate controlled building and not taxing my body with physical work. There is a lot of change which I like except when the change is only for change's sake. Pay and benefits are important since that is why I work.

      CEOs have changed about every two to three years. With new CEOs there are other changes in leadership and teams. The revolving door of management keeps the hamster running in circles rather than moving ahead... This makes me unhappy.

      I truly believe in the company and it's purpose. I stay because I want to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem but it is wearing me out. Perhaps that's leadership's goal...get rid of the old, make way for the new.