Sunday, August 26, 2012

Happiness is Good: A Work Update

I've been at my new job for about five or six months. Last week, I was riding down the elevator with a colleague and she turned to me and actually said, "Isn't it great that we get paid to do this?"

It is.

I'm doing what I've done for years: website, communications, press releases, working with the media, and dabbling in social media. It's a good office. It's a GOOD office.

Why? The answer sounds so simple as to be absurd: they support each other. They understand what it means to work as a team, and they do it without hesitation.

There is a happy chemistry in the office. People joke with each other, compliment each other on a job well done. They talk about their plans for the weekend, the boyfriend or girlfriend, cute kid updates. We chat about music, baseball, and still manage to get a tremendous amount of work done.

See how silly that sounds? But at my last office, all of that had disappeared. There was no joy, no friendly banter. People were miserable. Their souls had been crushed by thankless work, supervisors who were literally thankless (they had forgotten how to praise or even acknowledge their hard-working staff), and a budget crisis that seemed hopeless. Staff meetings were miserable, awkward, painful. Departments worked to undermine other departments, and people stared daggers at each other. It was awful.

I couldn't want to get out of there. I started sending out resumes, and to my shock, I got several calls after only sending a handful out. Several interviews followed. (I called in "sick" to my job, and no one noticed. I felt not a tinge of regret.) And I was offered this job.

I fought hard to hide my smile when I told them I was leaving. They asked me to fill out an exit interview. I was brutally honest. They asked if I would recommend the company to a friend, and I said no. I don't think the HR director had ever heard that before. I didn't enjoy saying that, but the truth needed to be told.

In the last job, I would drag my feet coming into work. I started working a day from home because I couldn't stand the toxic environment. But this job is different. I can't want to get to the office. Of course, I'd rather spend the day with my beloved wife and beloved son. But the job is good, people! I'm having fun. And everyone should have a job where they have a little fun.

I'm learning so much. It's an industry I've never worked in, and I know nearly nothing about. But that was true when I worked on health care issues, and when I worked in environmental issues, and even at my last job. It's more fun that way. In the sense of what I do - the press releases, the social media, web updates - it's old familiar ground. But I'm soaking in information every day about this new industry. I'm in a new world, again. And I'm having fun.

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