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Best and Worst Christmas Presents Ever

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I’m sure you’ve noticed that, for the past few months, I’ve been blogging/vlogging heavily about Happywork, and Happywork TV, and happiness in the workplace. This blog of mine hasn’t been a terribly content-diverse place as of late.

Yes, spreading the word about Happywork is a super-important mission in my life, but so is having fun. I enjoy going on Mark Reardon‘s radio show on KMOX, even if we’re not talking about social media or solving the world’s problems.

As we approach Christmas, I was thinking about buying gifts for my loved ones, and that got me considering this: what would I deem the best and the worst Christmas presents I’ve ever received? Identifying the best present ever is so easy – it’s no contest. Mark and I had to think hard to come up with what we might consider the worst present ever. Neither of us has ever received anything terribly offensive, but we came up with some good stories. And we took some calls, and the callers had a few winners. Who gives their daughter-in-law a potscrubber for Christmas?

Take a listen below, and Happy Holidays to all of you. Thank you for being a friend of mine.

—–> CLICK HERE TO TAKE A LISTEN <—–

Happywork TV Episode 26: Companies Should Operate in a Family-First Manner

 
In Episode 26 of Happywork TV, I present the next commitment in my work code of conduct called “The Happywork Agreement.”

This one is made jointly by employers and employees. It goes like this: “Vunorri Inc. cannot always operate in a family-first manner, but we are going to try as hard as we can. The world is different now. Dads work in concert with moms to take care of their kids. Not everyone has a robust support network they can rely on. A sick child at home is a problem that a family needs to tend to. An employee’s family is going to be more important to them than the organization is, and I will work hard to remember that. We are not going to go out of business because an employee had to leave work to comfort a puking child. We should be stronger than that.”

The world is changing … slowly, but surely. Here in the United States, I feel like we are ever so slowly starting to realize that work-life balance is a job perk worth searching for (and defending, once you have it).

Here’s what I find hilarious. There are proud, driven, sometimes utterly insane company owners out there who actually take offense when you don’t show as much love for their company as you do your own family. I love entrepreneurs with a dream. I like hard work. I like drive – wish I had more of it sometimes. But if you think I’m going to like your business more than my family, you’re cuckoo.

No, I am not oversimplifying this. Break this down to its essential parts – it’s the moment when your child gets sick. Who can break away from work – you? Or your spouse? (and that’s if you have a spouse). If your spouse has a jerk boss, and you do too, who’s going to risk their job here to go get the puking kid from school? I am angering some of you with this sensational example, but sorry folks. Shit like this happens too often. A “reliable” employee is one that never misses a day and never leaves early? What bullshit.

It’s time to grow up. Let’s again realize that our jobs are important, but they are just one part of our lives. Our jobs need to fit into the positive user experience called our lives. It’s not the other way around.

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Watch Episode 25 here!

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IMPORTANT STUFF!

Download chapters 1-3 of my book for free!

Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE!

Please SUBSCRIBE to my email newsletter! Pretty please – you’ll get these blog posts delivered to you automatically. Merci!

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What Will You Be Remembered For?

I’ve seen social media experts give advice to the effect of, “You are known for the content you curate.” Could that really be true? Do we want that to be true?

I think we are known for the most important thing that we do in our life, whatever that might be. So I would say that you should make sure that the most important thing that you’re doing in your life is not curating content on fleeting social media sites. If the troubles of our world are mountains, you should be moving mountains. I don’t think that has much to do with a personal brand, or how big your Twitter account is, or how you lost a bunch of followers on Instagram.

Get off your ass and go make some art, or help somebody in need.

Happywork TV Episode 25: Leave Politics and Religion Out of the Workplace

 
In Episode 25 of Happywork TV, I present the next commitment in my work code of conduct called “The Happywork Agreement.”

This one is made jointly by employers and employees. It goes like this: “We commit to not get caught up in each other’s politics and religion. It has nothing to do with work (unless we work for a political campaign, a politician, or a religious organization). As individuals, we may have strong convictions, but work is not the place to be politically or religiously expressive. We are going to leave this stuff out of the office environment. And besides, people who cannot see past their own political and religious biases are like robots, and poorly programmed ones at that.”

Much of my work with the book Happywork and the work code of conduct I call The Happywork Agreement dealt with human conflict. Why don’t we like our jobs? One big reason is the people! But why don’t we like those people? One reason is they’re different than us, and they sometimes make it a point to ensure that we know that. Quite simply, a Muslim might not be welcome among Catholics.

The workplace is a funny thing – yes, we do choose our places of work. We’re not conscripted into our jobs. However, for the most part, we don’t get to choose WHO we work with. They’re already there, and we often have no idea who those people are. Besides an extra interview or two, or maybe a whirlwind stroll around the office, you’ve never met your coworkers until day one.

Where does that leave you? Basically, you’ve landed the job (maybe of your dreams), and you’ve thrust yourself into a group of strangers who are not like you. It’s a combustible mix of races, ages, talent and ambition levels, religions, and political beliefs. And I think history has shown that such differences often cause humans to come to blows.

I’ve heard that conflict is good, and necessary. I think the expert who said this meant healthy conflict surrounding the direction of the company. I don’t think she meant, for instance, Republican owners intimidating their employees to vote Republican (yes, this has happened). I don’t think it meant ostracizing the one employee who’s religion is different than yours because he was born far, far away. These seemingly small differences aren’t small at all – they tear nations apart.

All we’re trying to do at work is 1. Do our job, 2. Provide for our families, and 3. Achieve great things. The historically divisive topics of politics and religion have nothing to do with our work, and must be left out of the workplace.

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Watch Episode 24 here!

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IMPORTANT STUFF!

Download chapters 1-3 of my book for free!

Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE!

Please SUBSCRIBE to my email newsletter! Pretty please – you’ll get these blog posts delivered to you automatically. Merci!

And subscribe on YouTube!

Happywork TV Episode 24: Don’t Interrupt People Who Are Trying to Concentrate

 
In Episode 24 of Happywork TV, I present the next commitment in my work code of conduct called “The Happywork Agreement.”

This one is made jointly by employers and employees. It goes like this: “When a fellow employee must work in complete concentration, I will try to give that employee a chance to work uninterrupted. What can wait … will wait.”

As I say in the video, in a list of 46 commitments, some are going to be stellar, and some will be just so-so. Reflecting upon The Happywork Agreement, thinking of everything I cut out of it and what I decided to leave in there, it is possible this is one of the weaker ideas. (Although I’d love for you to vigorously disagree with me!).

Getting interrupted at work is not the cardinal work sin that’s tearing workplaces apart. However, let’s admit: it’s just bloody annoying!

I think we become disengaged at work, even grossly unhappy at work, because of big hairy problems, MIXED IN with small little daily crap that accumulates and gets on our nerves. So yes, let’s eliminate the human indecency at work: the abuse, the mind games, the discrimination – the BIG stuff. But hey, let’s take a crack at the little stuff, too. I think that’s where my head was when I put this in The Happywork Agreement.

Google famously allowed its employees to take 20% of their time for personal programming pursuits – I’d call that “thinking time.” It’s the exploration of your biggest ideas, without the pressure to perform. What a wonderful way to learn. At most jobs I’ve worked, I have not found a healthy respect for thinking time. In fact, at most companies, work flow and human communication are both rather dysfunctional. “Getting things done” a mixture of email, voicemail, text messages, memos, hallway conversations, and meetings that go on for twice as long as they needed to. All of this represents interruptions to our “flow” – the ability for us to put our heads down and crank out something beautiful.

Every time you’re interrupted, it takes you anywhere between 5-20 minutes to get back to what you were doing. In an 8-10 hour day, being interrupted 5 times steals a huge chunk out of your day (and 5 is being generous). You’d be more pleased with yourself if you were getting your work done. However, you were meeting with Sally, when all of a sudden, Larry poked his head in your office and started talking … while you and Sally were talking. Rude. Where were we again? In cases like this, I actually appreciate text messages and email for what they are – non-interruption-based communication.

If you see a comrade at the office, and they appear to be working hard, in deep concentration, ask yourself if your needs could be communicated to them in an email.

What do you think?

p.s. Here’s a link to the blog post I referenced in the video.

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Watch Episode 23 here!

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IMPORTANT STUFF!

Download chapters 1-3 of my book for free!

Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE!

Please SUBSCRIBE to my email newsletter! Pretty please – you’ll get these blog posts delivered to you automatically. Merci!

And subscribe on YouTube!

Happywork TV Episode 23: Don’t Be a Chief Problem Identification Officer

In Episode 23 of Happywork TV, I present the next commitment in my work code of conduct called “The Happywork Agreement.”

This one is made jointly by employers and employees. It goes like this: “We won’t publicly present a problem without offering at least one viable solution. Chief Problem Identification Officer is not a staffed role at this organization.”

Here’s a question for you: “Who’s good at identifying problems?” The answer is EVERYBODY! That makes problem identification not so special. Every job applicant in the world could take that job and rock it. Children are experts at identifying problems, which should tell you what you need to know about problem identification’s value to an organization. When my kids tell me, “I’m HUNGRY!” I just politely thank them for letting me know, and I wait for a solution-based request. I’m not trying to be a jerk dad, although I’m sure that’s how I come across. I want to them to think critically starting NOW – I want them to think about solving problems, and not just pointing them out.

Nothing is gained by people sitting around a conference room table bitching about all the problems an organization has. Besides, when everyone is complaining, everyone is also being negative, and negativity accumulates like plaque on teeth. It’s an ugly, insidious force, and it will drag you down!

You start making the big bucks when you can solve problems. You might not even need to identify a single problem in your career. That’s so easy to do, you could leave it to others. Find and implement solutions to those problems, and you’re the leader we need.

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Watch Episode 22 here!

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IMPORTANT!

Download chapters 1-3 of my book for free!

Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE!

Please SUBSCRIBE to my email newsletter! Pretty please – you’ll get these blog posts delivered to you automatically. Merci!

And subscribe on YouTube!

Download Chapters 1-3 of Happywork for Free!

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Want to download Chapters 1-3 of my upcoming book Happywork for free? Just enter your email address below and I’ll send you a download link!

I hope you’ll join my effort to change the workplace forever.┬áThank you kindly for your interest.


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Happywork TV Episode 22: Praise Publicly, Criticize Privately

In Episode 22 of Happywork TV, I present the next commitment in my work code of conduct called “The Happywork Agreement.”

This one is made jointly by employers and employees. It goes like this: “Praise will be public; complaining and criticism (whether constructive or not) will be private.”

This goes back to the simple notion that negativity, all things being equal, can be way more powerful than positivity. Ten compliments and one snarky jab, and which of the 11 interactions do you remember? You know the answer.

You can increase the power of negativity by heaping it on people while in the presence of others. If you tear someone a new YNW, and you do it in front of the whole company, yes that is WAY worse for that poor soul. Criticism should remain as private as possible. If you have a problem with me, come talk to me about it. We can discuss it in private.

What about praise? Some people don’t like to be praised publicly – so embarrassing. In my experience, even the people who claim to not like public praise really do like it. Everyone loves praise. Repeat: everyone loves praise. Some people are just a little more shy than others.

Praising publicly is a powerful motivational tool, and it’s part and parcel of just being a nice human being. On the flip side, criticism (even completely justified criticism) falls into the negativity family, and that needs to be handled more delicately.

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Watch Episode 21 here!

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IMPORTANT!

Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE!

Please SUBSCRIBE to my email newsletter! Pretty please – you’ll get these blog posts delivered to you automatically. Merci!

And subscribe on YouTube!

Happywork TV Episode 21: Employees Should Challenge Each Other to Be Their Very Best

In Episode 21 of Happywork TV, I present the next commitment in my work code of conduct called “The Happywork Agreement.”

This one is made jointly by employers and employees. It goes like this: “As employees, we will challenge each other to be our very best. Doing great work gives human beings the sense of significance they need and desire.”

In my work travels, I have found myself working with a melange of differently-talented people. Companies are full of superstars and clock watchers. Happy people and acerbic people. Glass-is-half-full people and glass-is-half-empty people (and some glass-is-totally-empty people, too). We all have different family lives, different goals, different backgrounds, and different motivations. We’re all REALLY different (one of the main points of my book).

Here’s an idea: it is US – the employees of an organization, from top to bottom – who should set the standard to live by. All of us – NOT just management. I will work hard, because I don’t want to let you, my coworker, down. It’s just how we live at Vunorri Inc. (the name of my fictitious company). We’re in this together. How does that sound to you? To me, it sounds like a powerful mindset. In most cases, losers (for lack of a better term) would self-select out of such a work environment. And winners would stay. We’d cooperate with each other more often, reaching company goals that much more quickly.

Instead of being forced by big bad management to perform at 150% capacity by using draconian management tactics, wouldn’t it be great if everyone came to work with a strong sense of purpose? Maybe expecting 100% attendance on this is far fetched, but there is nothing wrong with working toward perfection. It’s the journey toward greatness and the processes put in place during that journey, the camaraderie developed during the long haul, that really shape us and the companies we work at, and provide us a chance to feel fulfilled and happy.

What standard will you set for yourself? What standard will your organization set for itself?

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Watch Episode 20 here!

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IMPORTANT!

Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE!

Please SUBSCRIBE to my email newsletter! Pretty please – you’ll get these blog posts delivered to you automatically. Merci!

And subscribe on YouTube!

Happywork TV Episode 20: Do Not Be Jealous Of or Compete With Coworkers

In Episode 20 of Happywork TV, I present the next commitment in my work code of conduct called “The Happywork Agreement.”

This one is made by employees to their managers/employers. It goes like this: “There is no need for me to be jealous of or compete with fellow employees. A work culture with employees helping each other benefits everyone. I will work in concert with my coworkers. I will compete only with yesterday’s self. My barometer is yesterday; I must be better today than I was the day before.”

I am not trying to scare away the conservatives in the room by bashing competition. Of course competition can be a wonderful thing. Target makes Wal-Mart work harder. Wal-Mart makes everyone work harder. Competing with other companies is awesome. You might compete so hard with an industry competitor that you wish harm on them; it would be great if you gained market share and they lost market share. You might even want to force them out of business! I can’t tell you to feel otherwise.

But what about employees within an organization? Yes, there might be two qualified employees and only one promotion available. Is that a competitive situation? I guess so. Should these two employees be competing so hard with each other that they’re undermining the other, not cooperating with them, and praying for their demise? No. In my book, that is not healthy for that company, or the human race.

It’s hard to suppress feelings of jealousy when a coworkers gets praise and you don’t. It’s difficult (and ill-advised) to not work your ass off for that promotion you want. Go ahead – work hard! I am asking you to work with all your heart, and to cooperate with your coworkers. Company success should be your number one priority.

Besides, jealousy is such an ugly emotion.

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Watch Episode 19 here!

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IMPORTANT!

Happywork is available for pre-order on Amazon – HERE!

Please SUBSCRIBE to my email newsletter! Pretty please – you’ll get these blog posts delivered to you automatically. Merci!

And subscribe on YouTube!