We are all about working happy at The UpWrite Group. But this was not always the dominant thinking in our culture. Work was about making a living. You didn’t need to be happy. You didn’t need to like the people you worked with — especially the boss. You didn’t need to feel like you were contributing to something bigger, or even need to share their values. It’s not personal, it’s business.
And while there are still those out there who follow this line of thinking, we are here to say that this is a bunch of boloney. Yes, you still have to earn a living and support your own existence.
But what you don’t have to do is earn a living and support your own existence on someone else’s terms. All you need to do is look at the numbers to see how entirely personal working happy is.
For example, if a person begins work at age 25 and retires at 65, they will have worked for 40 years. Given 365 days in a year, and excluding weekends and 10 national holidays, this leaves about 250 eight-hour working days per year the average person will log — resulting in 2,000 working hours per year. Over 40 years, this equals to 80,000 hours of work.
That’s a lot of hours!
Now, we all know that this “average person” is a bit of a unicorn. While a lucky few work less hours, many work so many more. Most people in our network began working full-time before age 25 unless they attended grad school (and let’s face it, grad school is work — and work that often requires an additional part-time gig, at the very least).
The COVID-19 impact
Getting off at five has become an urban workplace myth, and if you follow the news at all, you’ve noticed pushing retirement back is trending — which has produced an older workforce. Who knows what kind of impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the workforce?
With national unemployment tracking inching toward 15%, it’s difficult to envision work returning to any sort of normalcy as we knew it any time soon.
More than 20.5 million people lost their jobs in April, the Labor Department said last week. Many analysts believe it could take years to recover, as this is the most damaging blow the economy has seen since the Depression era.
Finding new opportunities
All of this is to say that 80,000 hours is an incredibly conservative number, and way too many to spend at a job that doesn’t challenge you, offer opportunities for professional growth and advancement, and make you smile (most days).
This is not your practice life. I repeat: This is not your practice life.
You should focus on filling it with people and issues that are most important to you. It’s time to make the most of it. It’s time to challenge yourself to choose happiness. The UpWrite Group chooses happiness through practicing seven principles, and we’ll be sharing these principles with you over the next few months.
Here’s a sneak peek at our list of principles:
No. 1: I work happy because I deserve to.
No. 2: My career does not define me; I define my career.
No. 3: My networking strategy starts with face-to-face, not email-to-email.
No. 4: My goals are aggressive and my work ethic is relentless.
No. 5: I surround myself with positive people who have pure motives.
No. 6: I go out of my way to mentor, coach, motivate, grow, advance, mobilize, challenge and inspire others.
No. 7: I turn down opportunities from companies misaligned with my moral compass.
So, there you have them. We’ll start unpacking these principles one by one in future columns. Stay tuned!
Joe Szynkowski is a Sr. Director for NuVinAir Global, a Dallas-based company disrupting the automotive industry. Thanks to technology, he does so happily from his home east of Marion. Email Joe@TheUpWriteGroup.com for more guidance on work happiness.
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