I just read a blog titled The Key To Success After Graduation, by Edward “Ted” Siedle on Forbes.com.  Mr. Siedle talks about how he lived in Africa with his father, a gerontologist, who had received a grant to teach graduate school at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda.  Mr. Siedle dropped out of school and learned through the school of life, helping African students, reading well into the night books he chose for enjoyment, and being on safaris for weeks.  He eventually did go to college, even though he did not have a high school degree.

Advice to Graduates

His advice about finding worth in any job can help all of us grow our work and job:  [Your lifelong goal should be to find worth, or “what matters,” in every job you may have, as opposed to finding work “that matters.” All work matters and, if done thoughtfully, will lead you in unimaginable directions.]

Find Worth in Your Work and Promote Yourself

When I began my Federal career overseas I was in a military personnel unit, “cutting” military orders.  It was both interesting and trying at times to work in a large room with young soldiers.  This was the “stay back unit” of soldiers who had not gone to Desert Storm. Many of them shouted across the room, hogged the telephones and didn’t have the maturity four civilian women, myself included, did.  When I returned to the States I was able to get a Federal position with a civilian agency at a GS-5/6 level.  After reaching the GS-6 level, I pushed for more work and a promotion.  Because I had found “worth” in that job and had put extra effort forth (rarely being sick in a remote office where the supervisor was 1000 miles away helped), I was given higher graded work and promoted.  Continually I found ways to expand my worth and work, all the while proving my dependability, ability to learn quickly, and willingness to take on new projects.  Thus, I received more complicated assignments and promotions.  You may not be in a position to “do what you love and the money will follow,” but finding enjoyment in how you do the assignments you do have could help expand your work, enjoyment and worth.

Be A Pollyanna

There’s an old Dale Carnegie training saying, “Act enthusiastic, and you’ll be enthusiastic!”  Have you ever noticed how negativity is much more contagious than positive remarks?  The comments roil and feed off each other and soon it’s a huge swirl of negativity.  Try something new next time you are bored at work or unhappy.  Be a Pollyanna and find something positive; reply “Great, never better” when someone asks how you are, and smile.  I find when I am a bit down if I can make myself laugh, it all goes away.  OK, yeah, I admit it, sometimes I make funny faces at myself in the mirror and laugh at how stupid it is that I am doing that (like, how old am I, six?!).  But in the end, it is worth it to stay positive.

What have you done to find joy in your employment?  How do you pick your mood up?