What would you like to teach your child about work: that it is a necessary evil because it gives you enough money to cover the bills and maybe a bit extra, or, on the contrary, that it is a source of passion where you can find fulfillment? In the end, what you teach them depends less on what you say and more on how you act. We already know: we teach by example. If we decide that work should be fulfilling but come home each day in a foul mood that is what is going to stick in your child’s mind. If, on the other hand, you take risks, don’t settle for what you’re not happy with and can send a positive message about situations you cannot change, you will be teaching them values that will help them in the future.
Life is too short to stay in a job you don’t like
Resignation and complaining are like a silent cancer, not only because they affect our lives, but also because they teach our children to conform and not take action. This is the wrong message to send because work can also be a place that helps people grow, overcome challenges and find happiness. If we want to set a good example (and improve our mood at home) we should start with ourselves and look for or create a job that inspires us. According to an article published by Bruce Pfau in Harvard Business Review, there are four characteristics that make up a satisfying job, irrespective of our age, gender or culture. These can be defined by the following four questions:
Am I fulfilled by what I do? Developing our potential motivates all of us. Alarm bells go off if we think we are capable of doing more things than we are given the opportunity to do. We get bored, we feel frustrated and end up resenting a job that does not make use of our skills or potential.
Am I emotionally and economically recognized? Money is important but the intangible also counts, like feeling that our opinions matter or that we like our work environment.
Do I enjoy the work? Do I think it has meaning? If I enjoy my work, I have greater motivation. If I also understand what it is for and find it meaningful, then I will feel even more committed to the job.
Am I proud of the organization I work for? We like to work for successful companies or those that do things that make us feel satisfied, that way we can speak positively about our jobs to our friends and families.
But what happens if the answer to one of these questions isn’t “yes” and we don’t have the option to easily change jobs? If we want to set a good example for our children about how to respond to difficult situations, the first thing we have to do is avoid resignation and make a move. We should not stay in a job that makes us unhappy – life is too short and it it sends a bad message to those around us. If after trying to make a change, we are unable to, the next step is find the upside to what we have. No one is obliged to stay in a job for life. We are free, we can leave, and if we don’t do it, we should at least focus on what it does bring, even if that is the paycheck to cover the month’s bills. If we change our perspective on work, we can avoid resignation and teach our children to be optimistic, and will be happier with our day-to-day lives.
In the end, it is as my friend and fellow speaker Luis Galindo always says, we must give our children roots and wings: roots in the form of values, that help them feel strong and self-secure, and wings so that they dare to reach their dreams. We can only achieve this by setting an example with our own lives, including our decisions in the workplace.
English version by Melissa Kitson.