What’s your attitude at work?

By Derek Irvine

For the majority of the time you’re at work, what’s your attitude? Gung-ho and get-it-done? Excitement? Just happy to have a job? Get through the day so you can go home?
 
I started thinking about this after reading self-described Chief Happiness Officer Alexander Kjuerulf’s examination of “What the heck is work anyway?”
 
  • If work is simply what you do because you have to, then happiness at work is almost impossible by definition.
  • If work is only what you do for money, it eliminates all volunteer work.
  • If work is only what you do for a purpose, then all aspects of your job that are not productive are no longer work.
I’m not claiming to have the answer yet, but as I see it, here are some elements of a definition of work that is conducive to happiness:
  • Work is something you choose to do. You may not have a choice of whether or not to work, but you have choice in what work you do.
  • Work is something you’re valued for. Either someone pays you for your work or someone takes the time and resources to organize your work.
  • Work is an activity where you make a positive difference for someone else.

Whether or not you agree with where Kjuerulf is going with this, he is absolutely correct that work is a choice. You can choose not to work (and face the consequences on your lifestyle), and you can choose the work you do.
 
But there is a critical element that Kjuerulf leaves out – you also can choose your attitude. If the work you do every day is not something you love, you can choose to do it with an attitude that expresses your desire to do a good job, deliver an excellent end product, and respect those around you.
 
Even if you tend to love the work you do, but occasionally get an assignment you don’t enjoy or teammates who rub you the wrong way, you can still choose your attitude.
 
It’s that ability to choose that sets us apart. Those around us (bosses and colleagues, alike) make it easier to choose a positive attitude by appreciating our efforts and the attitude we demonstrate in accomplishing our goals.
 
What attitude will you choose today?
 
About the author:
Derek Irvine is a seasoned, internationally-minded management professional with more than 20 years of experience working across a diverse range of industries. An authority on the topics of employee engagement and recognition, he is a regular speaker at indus­try and professional group conferences worldwide and is frequently published in leading media. He is coauthor of Winning with a Culture of Recognition.
 
Reprinted with permission from HR.com.
 
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