Monday, October 10, 2011

31 days || ten: celebrating at the office.

 {My job does not look like this. Photo by A Long Farewell via The Bride's Cafe}

Last week, I blogged about celebrating the “after work” hours, those hours from 6 to 11 that often get overlooked, ignored, rushed through. I wanted to remind myself that those hours are precious and important, just as important as the weekends I find myself anticipating. 

And my friend Kari wondered: Could joy and celebration be found in the working hours too? And if they could — if joy and celebration were to be found at the office — what would that look like? 

Because (and here is what I think we’ve got to remember) it’s one thing to write about it, and another to live it. 

I can write all day long about celebration, but how does it show up in my daily routine, in the eight and a half hours every day I spend in a tiny, cold office? 

Kari’s question got me thinking, and it reminded me: Work should be joy-filled too. 

I like my job. I write and edit for a living. No, the subject is not ideal. But I’m using the degree I worked so hard to earn. And my husband and I have something to talk about at the end of the day. (We both work in the legal field.) And I have Tuesday afternoons off. And I have my own office. And I think my job is important and necessary. Although I don’t believe it gives me my entire purpose, I do think it gives me a purpose, a goal, something to work toward. I work to help support our family, to help us pay off our very last student loan, to help pay for groceries and gasoline and gifts for people and causes we love and the occasional purchase from Gap. And I think — just like with anything else — this job might be preparing me for something bigger, greater. 

So this is not an “I hate my job” situation. 

But I am guilty of boredom. Of being all-too-ready for the next thing. Of looking at the clock every five minutes during a long afternoon. 

I am guilty of missing the celebration in the work day. 

Practically speaking, how do I find it? 

By remembering that everything I do is worship

By dressing for success. It should be noted: My job doesn’t require much more than business casual, emphasis on the casual. But I find that the days I dress lazily are the days I work lazily. The days I actually put a decent outfit together, I’m more efficient, more confident, less inclined to slack off, and more in tune with Mary Richards

By reminding myself that I have a job when so many in this country do not

By pretending my job is a big deal. What I mean is: I use my imagination. I pretend I’m working on some high profile story a la Woodward and Bernstein. Or I have an “Alias” moment when I use my key card to get in the building. I refuse to be embarrassed by this. Imagination is power. 

By taking a few minutes out of every day to pause and look out the window. Because my office has a window. And trees are beautiful.  

By laughing. My job is not very people-oriented. I may go an entire day without speaking to more than a couple of people. So I tend to laugh at myself. A lot. I laugh at what I read on the computer. I laugh when I catch myself singing along to the radio. I laugh when a coworker spies me behaving awkwardly. 

By creating a morning playlist that I can sing and dance to as I drive to work. (That playlist may or may not be designed to make me feel like the star of a Rachel McAdams film. In other words, Rachel McAdams.) Music is a big part of celebrating to me. So on days when I’m feeling sluggish, I turn on some music — tricky, since my workplace blocks Pandora — and I’m instantly in a better mood.

By bringing art into my office

By forcing myself outside of my comfort zone. In our family, Jordan is the extrovert. Easily. It takes me longer to warm up to people, to share my life with someone else. As a result, Jordan is practically best friends with everyone in his office. I’m well-liked, but I generally mind my own business and stay in my little office under a couple of sweaters. (It’s cold in there!) This makes for a long, lonely work day. I need to get better at chatting with coworkers, taking an interest in their lives. I’m never going to be like Jordan (INTJ, folks), but I do think it’s possible to be a little bit warmer, kinder to those I see every day.

By taking moments away from the computer


That's how I celebrate on the job. What about you? Do you think it’s possible to have a celebratory lifestyle at the office? 
What does that look like?


The Learned Lady said...

I'm sort of in a "not happy at work" phase, so I'm finding it difficult to celebrate at the office. I have a handful of friends at work, and that does help. But feeling unfulfilled by my job is very challenging for me, and makes it hard to feel like celebrating at all, unless I'm getting out of work early!

emily0126 said...

As a psychology/philosophy student, I don't have too much to contribute to this discussion yet, except that it made me so happy to see you use "INFJ" as a description :)

My friends & I were talking about how much the Myers Briggs test helps to understand yourself and others.

Brittany said...

Loving all of your celebration post, but this one especially. I'm going to try some of these too.

Leslie said...

THANK YOU for writing this! Needed to be hear it.
I just recently got moved around in our office space and I really need to finish decorating my new space. I know that would help me be cheery.

Sabrina said...

An elementary school is not a real office....but boy oh boy did we celebrate:) When you are teaching I think celebration can just flow naturally from a happy spirit and being around the kiddies. I always tried to surprise my students. I was a big, huge fan of incentives. We had a varied schedule, and did not stay still for hours on end. All reasons to celebrate! It spoiled me and I know that now no matter where I work in the future.....I will have to have celebration.

Four Flights said...

such a well thought out post. I was actually talking to Taylor tonight about finding jobs and working and how some people hate their job and some people love it. The fact that you don't hate it is cause enough to celebrate in my humble opinion :) But even though this job is not like you said, the most exciting dream job ever, it is important and worthwhile and you get to use your skills and talent, which is so, so important. There will always be things to not like about work, but there can always be things to love about it and celebrate in it. I have always tried to find the best in any workplace and it makes for a much happier, content environment. I absolutely believe you can have a celebratory lifestyle at the office, and if you don't, you're doing your company, yourself and your coworkers a disservice.
p.s. can I tell you how much I appreciate how well edited your posts are? I don't think I've ever found a typo :)

Kari said...

I read this yesterday, Annie, but never got a chance to comment. Great thoughts!

My job is people-oriented, obviously, so it's very different. Some of the things that I do are to try to make sure the students know that I value them by being careful and thoughtful in my interactions with them. I also try not to treat work as if it's not my "real life." I used to do that, but I spend 8 hours a day here, so it's pretty real. I make friends with my coworkers as much as I can so that it's easier to enjoy my time here.