Jobs and Tribes: People make the Experience

Jobs and Tribes: People make the Experience 150 150 Jason Lauritsen

Folding clothes sucks.  I find it a monotonous, boring task that I like to avoid when I can.  But, as an aspiring good husband, sometimes I have to suck it up and do it.  Yesterday was one of those days.  

Bailey, my little helper.
As I was standing in front of the bed, beginning the task, my three year old daughter came into the bedroom and immediately said “Daddy, I want to help you.”  So, she began sorting clothes into separate piles, one for each member of the family.  It was incredibly cute and I noticed that I was really enjoying my folding.  Even more, I was smiling.  It was fun.  
I know that I have often underestimated the importance of the people when it comes to enjoying my work.  When I have looked for a job in the past, my criteria were usually something like this: 
  1. The role (what are the responsibilities and opportunities involved?)
  2. The location (I generally wasn’t able or willing to relocate, so . . . )
  3. The comp (what do I get for doing a great job?)
  4. The upside (where can I go with the company once I master this role?)
This list is unique to me, but I would guess that most people have a similar type list.  The order might be different, but I think we all generally judge potential jobs based similar criteria.  
There’s a huge problem with my list.  “The People” is completely missing (it’s at least not in the top 4).  I’m not sure why, but the people never really became a top of mind consideration until after I took the job.  Perhaps I thought I could work with anyone–and I have.  But, what I know for sure is that as I reflect on my job satisfaction over the years, the jobs I loved where the ones where I was working with people who I loved to work with (and socialize with in many cases).  When I was a member of a great tribe of people at work, the work just seemed like it was more fun to do–much like my discovery that laundry is more fun to do with a brilliantly cute, 3-year-old partner.  
So, my take away from this reflection is to keep the people top of mind as we choose our work.  It’s even important to think of the people when you hire someone to work on a project with you as a vendor or consultant.  My favorite vendor partners over the years have also been my favorite people.  In fact, my new business partner, Cy Wakeman and I met when my company hired her as a consultant.  We did great work together and we had a great time as we did it.  Great people and great relationships make doing business meaningful (and often fun).  
One of my friends, who is a small business owner/freelancer, chooses his clients and projects based on a set of criteria:
  • The work
  • The people
  • The money
He won’t take on a project unless two of the three items are really exciting to him.  If he loves the work involved and the people he gets to work with, he’ll take the project even if the money isn’t the greatest.  Alternatively, if the people and the money are good, he’ll sometimes take on a client where the actual project work isn’t that exciting. 
“The People” are critically important.  Never underestimate the power of a great tribe to turn an average looking job into a remarkable experience.    
  • Edward Colozzi Ed.D.

    Work/People/Money~What's Your Top 2 out of 3? This is basically a Values decision as are ALL our career-life choices. Yet most people are unclear about their values as they discover their "expressed values" often shift with the winds of change. Within all people is another set of deep-seeded values I call "implied/hidden values", or DOVE Values (Depth-Oriented Values Extraction), often difficult to discover without reflection and yet, alway present via our intuition to guide us — when we are open to listening to our True Self. a link re Values and DOVE

    As I reflected on your inspiring post Jason, I sensed I place work first (the actual work tasks that I believe are important to be doing), people second (relationships are so valuable for my personal growth and for the power of collaboration to make needed changes), and money third (I need money and like using it, but a certain subordinate rating to those critical first two. Thanks Jason, EdC

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Jason Lauritsen