As I mentioned in my last post, I turned 49 not too long ago. I’m well over half-way through my use of this mortal coil and yet I am still constantly learning things about myself.
For example, I started work in a new area in July, after having worked in a couple of areas where I had felt a great deal of dissatisfaction and frustration. Today, I was catching up with a couple of former colleagues and they asked how things are going with this new position. I told them how much I’m enjoying where I currently am and they asked why.
I gave it some thought before answering.
There are a lot of things about where I’m currently working that would make, for many, it a very unattractive position. The program area is in a state of review and change. From day one, I was out of the gate, running. I’ve spent a large amount of time scurrying around (literally and metaphorically), trying to get up to speed on the program itself, while also making sure that everything related to the changes (system- and program-related) are being properly taken care of. There are a lot of different pieces and stakeholders to keep track of and work with and I have to make sure that I’m available to provide needed support to the folks that I lead. And did I mention that we are very definitely on the radar of senior management so, yeah, there’s that.
All that to say that it’s not a job that a lot of people would want to walk into, especially the way I was feeling by the end of June! And yet I am the happiest I have been at work in at least three years.
“Why?” I answered. “Because I feel useful, relevant and supported.”
I was kind of surprised at my response. I would not have thought that those things were so important to me. As I reflected later, I realized that not only are they a huge part of why I am currently happy and satisfied, they are also a huge part of why I was so dissatisfied in my last couple of positions.
I also realized that I shouldn’t actually be that surprised. I’m no psychologist or work motivation expert, but I imagine if we peeled back the layers of why people feel the way they do about their work, those three characteristics would, in some fashion or another, rise to the top of the reasons for their satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
Now, I’ve known and understood that concept in a general nature for years, but I hadn’t realized how much it applies to me. Who knew! I’ve lived with myself for 49 years and I’m still able to surprise myself! I have about another 12 years to work before retirement – I wonder what other gems I’ll learn about myself between now and then??
Curiouser and curiouser!