Earlier this Fall, there was a flurry of posts, thought pieces, and assorted hand-wringing about “Quiet Quitting,” which sounded weird until I learned far too many people have been using the phrase to describe people doing their jobs, just not going above and beyond.
To reference The Princess Bride, I don’t think “quitting” means what they think it means. In fact, I rather side with the people pushing back at hand-wringing over people doing what they’re paid to do. Instead of “quiet quitting,” I’ve heard the entertaining phrase “acting your wage.”
Now, from the title image below, you may correctly conclude that Jon Favreau and his interviewee, Derek Thompson, agree that “quiet quitting” is a silly term, but the hour-long conversation has a whole lot more about the future of office culture, hard work and ‘soft’ work.
(Oh, and I should mention that this is from the Pod Save America family of podcasts which are, by and large, political. Favreau is a former Obama staffer, after all. So just be aware that spice is in the mix).
It’s not uncommon for me to kick off Monday’s with a post about motivation or life satisfaction, so I figured I’d post this brief article by Arthur C. Brooks over at The Atlantic. In short, Noël Coward may have been on to something when one of his characters in Design for Living goes on in a perfect theater banter way about how one can have too much of a good thing. Basically, the happiest people may not do the best in life.
I’ll be looking for related studies and other takes on this studies in the future.
What I appreciated was the time Brooks took in defining why we human animals are on this neverending treadmill for satisfaction. The societal pressures are, I would hope to most people, rather self-evident. The evolutionary arguments are ones that make me want to revisit some of my anthro coursework of ages ago and see what’s happened since then. I suspect there’s some nuance on the evolutionary angle. Nonetheless, from societal pressures alone, it makes sense why it’s so hard for one to get off the treadmill.
By the time we get to Brooks’ thoughts on three ways to aim for more satisfaction in life (decidedly not Conan’s way), the approach resonate more because of the definition of the problem.
So, as many of start another workweek, may you take some steps off the treadmill.
So, a couple weeks ago, I posted a link to some deep thoughts: guideposts for how to live your life. It was all part of a series of posts I’ve been doing this January exploring the whole notion of New Year’s resolutions writ large.
So why not continue?
The article that piqued my interest in this case was an article by Christian Jarrett for the BBC. A TL;DR summary of the article might be “everyone has their own personal goals they’re working on which often bring true life fulfillment day to day — and there’s ways to work on and complete their goals by understanding your personality and reframing your goals so your personality isn’t an obstacle.”
The article references the work of Dr. Brian Little, a psychologist who, surprise, surprise, has spent some time researching personalities and traits. You can get a taste of him from this TED talk from a few years ago:
Mind you, there’s probably a lot more that could be written about next steps, but as I’m not a research psychologist nor journalist on deadline, I leave this appetizers out there for the reader who wants to dive in and make a meal of it.
Not for the first time and not for the last, my dayjob is undergoing a re-organization. That means that, not only have I had many conversations with people who are changing jobs or looking for new ones, but it’s an opportune time to examine what the heck I’m doing — and invariably here in the U.S., that seems to bring up questions of “the dream job.”
I’ve written about this multiple times on this site, but I believe it’s important to remember that just one job probably won’t capture all the meaning you need in your life. I talk about this a lot more in a post from three years ago on the concept of “ikigai” and one’s “reason for being.”
My conclusion there, something reinforced over the past few years, has been that no one job can satisfy one’s need for meaning — and in fact one’s dream job will have tasks that are less than dreamy (e.g., running an audio theater troupe is wonderful, but not 24/7 delightful).
So Rainesford Stauffer’s article for Refinery 29 this past November came across my computer screen at just the right time. A good chunk of it is looking at the work of Dr. Erin Cech, a sociologist studying the place of passion in work, finding work, and defining job satisfaction. What I really like is how much it goes into our society’s concept of work, jobs, and “dream jobs.”
“When paying bills or being fairly compensated are presented as luxuries in the American workforce, rather than fixtures, it’s worth looking at where the urge to make our jobs into more than just work comes from in the first place. It wasn’t always this way.”
Understanding some of the structural and societal pressures to “love your job” is important as we all are beginning to ask more what we want from work in, what I can only hope can soon be the post-Pandemic times.
Especially as so many of us are about to re-enter “normal” work locations and schedules, it’s an opportune time to consider what you want to be doing — and for those of us who have the luxury of considering what to do beyond “anything that pays the bills NOW,” there’s often the push to find “your calling.”
And some of you may be stressed about that.
Well, Emilie Wapnick is here to reassure those of us who have multiple interests, you are okay. In fact, you just may be able to use that to your advantage in your quest for a more satisfying life.
If you’ve read some of his work or seen some of his interviews, the directness and clarity of his observations and suggestions will come as no surprise, but it could just be that one or three of the sentiments is just what you need to hear right now.
I’m working on some longer pieces on New Year’s and resolutions, but in the meantime, while “success” might be a long journey, this TED video about traits researchers have found in successful people is under four minutes.
I mean, granted, that means there’s no time for nuance, but if you’re raring to jump into your New Year goal planning, this might help motivate you.