Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chocolate Coated Work

There are a lot of lessons in the visit to Old Kentucky Chocolates - both personal and professional. Let's run your work through the enrober:

1.) Do what you love or find some aspect of your current job that you love. Or quit complaining and find another job. Of course, you can do none of this and stay where you are, hate every minute of it, and lead a miserable life. But I want more for you.

Those of us who do what we love are lucky. But some of you have not found what you love yet or are afraid to take the risk to do what you love. That's okay - you are where you are. How can you find some aspect of what you do to love? First, you have to want to. Seriously - you are going to have to really want to do this. If you do, here are some thoughts:

Maybe you really enjoy people. You may have to deal with some real duds in the course of a day, but I bet you deal with some good people too. Focus on them. Let the others go. Maybe people get on your nerves, but you love the work itself. Great! Remind yourself that you get to do something you really enjoy.

I was only in Old Kentucky Chocolates for a little while, but the people there seemed pretty happy. Now, of course, they all might have been drunk, but I don't think so. This is what I think - some really enjoyed interacting with the customers and having fun (it IS a candy company after all, but I bet all of you could have more fun with your customers than you do. I have fun with the women who work in my post office!). I think some of the others really enjoyed making the candy - they liked the process. Others I think enjoyed the people they worked with and the sense of family. Find something you love, find another job, or be miserable. You get to choose.

2.) The grass ain't necessarily bluer (well, Kentucky is blue grass country) somewhere else. After we've been working a job for a while, we stay to take things for granted. We think every place else must be better than where we are. Not always! I have a friend who worked for a family owned paper and never appreciated how well she was treated till she went to work for a large corporate operation. It was a whole different cut throat world. Before she was treated like she was a true asset, now she's just a cog in a machine.

This applies to your personal life too. We think - if I was with someone different or if I lived in a bigger house, a different neighborhood, etc. etc. etc. etc. my life would be so much better. Things and people can look great from a distance. But when you really examine them, you may realize your current situation is pretty darn fabulous.

And remember that old saying - no matter where you go, there you are. That unhappy you in New York will probably still be that unhappy you in Florida. Although you'll be warmer. And there will be more oranges.

BUT don't use that as an excuse for staying in a bad situation. There is a difference between never being happy and knowing what does and doesn't work for you and making strategic choices.

3.) Be proud of what you do! Sometimes seeing your work through someone else's eyes makes a big difference. Cindy Glick said it at Just Born, Victoria said something similar to me at Old Kentucky - seeing me so excited and interested renewed her enthusiasm for her work. I don't care what you do - there is someone out there who would like to have your job or thinks some part of it is interesting. There is someone who really appreciates what you do - you may think all you do is process the bills at the electric company, but I sure am glad that my power is on right now. And if you didn't do your job, it might not be! Each of us depends on many more people than we realize.

4.) You have a greater impact than you know. Everyone you interact with every day is either enriched by your interaction, unaffected by it, or lessened. Of course, the same is true of you. Simply by being kind and courteous you can make someone's day. And I believe you get back what you give out. Give your kindness, your help, your ideas, even your tough questions - all in the spirit of enriching others and it will come back to you tenfold. I know this is really hard when you are busy, especially in challenging jobs like customer service. But I absolutely guarantee that if you can give out fun, kindness, and enthusiasm it will make your job easier and it will be contagious - both for your customers and co-workers.

The holidays season is upon us - try to spread a little cheer. Wear a Santa hat to work or when you're out shopping. Keep a pocket full of candy canes and give them to all the cashiers or service people who help you. Or to all your customers. How many people will smile just because they see you? How much joy will you spread? And you know who will wind up being the most joyful of all? Yep - you. Ho, ho, ho!!!

1 comment:

Heidi said...

As always, wonderful insights, all derived from a visit with people who make chocolate. Makes you wonder whether the world would be a more peaceful place if we all focused on chocolate and how it relates to the entirety of our lives. :-)
Great to read! Thanks for the inspiration!