How Can I Have A Higher Level of Happiness At Work
In the last column I cited three means to higher happiness at work – intimacy with God, self-possession (keeping control of your own happiness), and practicing virtue. Let’s add one more:
Sit down, shut up, and do your job! Well not exactly. Just the ‘do your job’ part. I first heard the whole phrase when consulting for a company that was trying to improve its culture. The ‘sit down, shut up’ part wasn’t working too well. But the ‘do your job’ part is essential to happiness on lots of levels, and entirely in your control.
Plato famously defines the virtue of justice by likening it to the ideal or good city, the kallipolis. The citizens make the city just or unjust. And guess how? By either doing or not doing their respective jobs. “Each person must practice one of the pursuits in the city, the one for which he is naturally best suited…Justice is doing one’s own work and not meddling with what is not one’s own (Book Four, The Republic).” Plato says: Do your job!
The constant mantra of the New England Patriots, coaches and players alike, is their simple formula for success: DO YOUR JOB! They’re fanatical about it, obsessed with every single player, on every single play, in practice or on game day, doing one thing well – his own job. That kind of ownership, focus and accountability makes for a great team. Bill Belichick says: Do your job!
One of the biggest aggravations in the workplace is people not doing their own jobs, as well as meddling in other people’s work. Both are violations of justice and injustice and instigators of unhappiness. One company I work with insists on each employee “staying in your own lane.” Makes sense.
So our fourth key to happiness at work is to consistently, competently, and conscientiously do your job. Drive well in your own lane. That will not only increase your happiness, but others as well. Happiness says: Do your job!
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