Isn't fun the best thing to have?
When people ask me what I do, I say, “I do what I want.” I know, it may sound flippant, but it’s true. I love what I do, and I do what I want to do because I have fun and I make work fun, too.
Way back, long, long ago, when I was in high school, several of my friends and I worked for a hometown family restaurant called Mr. Fables. That job was a blast. Whether I was opening up early with the breakfast crowd or the late night closing crew, I had such a great time with the people that we worked with. I also learned how much I loved working hard and doing my job well. The one exception to my joy-filled employment was the assistant manager who, admittedly, could not stand me and loved to make my time there as difficult as possible. I was on time for my shifts, worked hard, and rarely took off time for being sick. I did find out what it was that she didn’t like about me later when she went to hire another one of my friends. She actually said to her, “I hope you’re not like Micki. Ya know, happy and laughing all of the time. Nobody can actually be that happy.”
That was over 30 years ago, and it’s something that has stuck with me to this day. One of the reasons that it is still so relevant is because it was not the last time that has happened to me.
Once, I had been brought on as a manager at a company that needed immediate restructuring in order to keep the doors open. After 18 months of downsizing office space, recruiting additional sales force, and getting the office back in profit share mode, the owner stated, “Well, I guess Micki’s good with team morale.” It was so hard for him to see all of the nitty-gritty hard work and difficult decisions that I made because I was just having “too much fun” doing it.
Some people think that fun and business are two different entities that should not be merged. I disagree. Of course, I don’t think every day has to be a party, but I do believe that if people feel like they can laugh, be comfortable, and not miserable at their job, they actually will be more productive and encourage others in the same way.
Corporate culture has definitely changed over the years, and CEOs are seeing the need for more freedom in the workplace to encourage creativity. Vision, empowerment, education, compensation, opportunities, and space are all components that go into a thriving culture. I’m not saying that fun will make all your employees thrive and your business flourish. What I do believe is that simply having the freedom to have fun and simply enjoy your work is wildly undervalued. It’s also something that I wish everyone could experience.
I’ll admit that over the years, it has been discouraging that people didn’t always take me seriously or rank my judgment of strategic planning, job structure, and marketing ideas over my ability to make people laugh. I’m OK with that now. I know that I win in the long run.
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.
- Proverbs 31:25-26
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