What is it about work that the majority of people would not show up the next day unless they were being paid? Is it all about external motivation, the ability to work hard for 40 hours and play in style during their evenings and weekends?
When I was learning to be a recruiter to go into companies and offer existing employees alternatives, I found out that 40% actually like their jobs and are not in the market, 40% truly hate their jobs, but can’t leave and 20% dislike their jobs and CAN leave. These are the undecided employees, much like the undecided voters that politicians target.
Is there another factor that can make a huge difference in the quality of your work life and mine?
You do! You are giving anywhere between 40 to 80 hours a week to a company you may not even care about doing a job you would only do for the money. What kind of life is this? Is this how it must be for all the days of your life up to retirement?
Your employer does! Your employer has already invested tens of thousands on you. Every evening, the entire company vanishes and only continues as people show up the next day. Ignoring your well-being endangers her productivity goals, which impacts topline revenues and ultimately the all-important bottom-line profitability.
Your customers do! If you are unhappy, it shows up in subtle ways that diminish the customer experience, increasingly the benchmark of a company’s competitiveness. If you bought a sexy Tesla, only to read disturbing news and watch retail stores dry up, you are the loser on what was intended to be your dream car.
You make a difference! It is just that you and your employer can all too easily lose sight of that.
You may have grown up thinking about greedy capitalists in megacorporations exploiting their labor force to offer the cheapest price on increasingly shoddy goods. This is actually against sound management principles. Shareholders of such companies should carefully take notice, as community good will, an essential element of corporate valuation, can erode.
You are not productive when you are resentful and frustrated, when you feel forced to do meaningless tasks. You are not at your best when you sit in cubicles or open areas where people spy on you all day. I have a good friend who works for a major fashion company that has no respect for privacy. Their employees actually take breaks by going out to their cars and hanging out in the parking lot just to get away from the surveillance camera.
The companies that are flourishing, such as Apple and Google, are renowned, not only for being highly selective in their hiring practices, but taking care of their employees. People are made to feel that they can make a difference in the world, are always contributing to something larger than themselves and praised for their creative initiative.
While artificial intelligence is increasingly feared as dehumanizing, threatening our job security and dumbing everything down, almost the exact opposite is true. A.I. is automating the routine aspects of your job so that you can increasingly think, collaborate, imagine and do cool things.
America’s ability to compete powerfully in the world market against ever lower wages is its ability to be uniquely creative, constantly innovating, as we see in Silicon Valley. It is very hard for other countries, such as India and China, to duplicate this no matter how hard they try. Unique social and cultural elements favor America, especially its high level of diversity.
The more effective we are with imagination; the more our work resembles play. Most extraordinary scientists, inventors and artists play at it. They would continue their work even if they weren’t paid. As has been quipped about advertising agencies: “It is the most fun you can have without taking off your clothes!”
Since this is what you really want out of your job, why not promote corporate well-being in your company? You may feel your top management is hard-assed and set in their ways. They might even be aging baby boomers about to retire. They only play it safe to secure their bonuses. In reality, corporate leaders who fail to inspire their troops are the most liable to get “fired.” Yes, C-level officers increasingly get fired by their board these days.
It is amazing to learn that C-level executives in Fortune 500 companies are doing meditation, yoga and Sanskrit chants as a way to be more present. Mindfulness is all the rage today. Conscious business and conscious capitalism are increasingly respectful as investment funds begin to label themselves accordingly. Being socially conscious, despite the ravings of certain Republicans, is in. Having an inner life is increasingly appealing, even to management no longer into financial survival.
You can align yourself with management and begin to trace the relationship between being mindful and being productive. You can also look at how increased attention contributes to greater revenues. It stands to reason that if you actually find profound satisfaction and fulfillment in your job that you are going to give a lot more than otherwise. Watch out for a company where everybody leaves at 5:00 o’clock sharp!
Soren Gordhamer is a world traveler who got the idea that our digital devices should serve us, and not us serve our digital devices. He realized nothing was more important than our ability to be in present time. He was convinced that this standard was possible even in large corporations. Soren befriended key people at Google, including Gopi Kallayil, who was in charge of Google+, their social network.
Soren started a conference, Wisdom 2.0, where hundreds of people attend. He endeavored to build a community around conscious business and conscious entrepreneurship. He attracted Jack Kornfield of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, a world-renowned mindfulness guru. Together, they established a movement that grew into thousands all around the world who insist upon bringing wakefulness into their work life.
Today, if you advocate a conscious life, you differentiate yourself from the pack and put yourself in line for leadership in corporations, universities, churches, even the military! Nobody really wants to be unconscious. It is just that most of us have not put a value on being fully alive, totally present, relishing each and every moment.
Now you can. You have little to lose and a world of love, joy and peace to gain!