Here at Pioneer Outfitters, in the remote Wrangell Mountains, we have a secret. It is the secret to using the F Word around our boss and fearless leader.
(No, not that F word! Sheesh.)
You know, the F Word that can shut down a plan in less time than it takes a grizzly bear to gobble a donut. Yep. THAT word: FUN.
Why is the word FUN been lumped into a category of cuss words? FUN is terribly misunderstood. It does not automatically mean you are being negligent or lazy. It does not mean you are not fully aware of the work yet to be done or projects waiting to be started. It does not mean that we are brain dead and don’t understand and appreciate how scary the economy is now or concerned about whatever so-n-so is planning against him-her-or-them.
Fun is defined as enjoyment, amusement, lighthearted pleasure, pleasing, agreeable, interesting, to joke or tease. Fun is something that brings joy or playfulness.
We are hearing more and more about having fun in our places of work and how including fun into our workdays will spark more creativity and productivity.
What I would like to suggest may be a little bit hard to swallow for some folks. Some may believe I am over-simplifying or missing the point. Not so! I enjoy that F Word as much as anyone and a whole bunch more than some!
However, I would suggest that before you start threatening to quit your job or some other crazy thing because you aren’t having FUN, there is a possibility that maybe you simply need to get over yourself and put as much effort into doing the job you are paid to do as you do spending time complaining about those you work for, your co-workers and the product or service that your business offers!
We all have a curmudgeon or two in our lives and some of us deal with our own at work. There are some of us who are the curmudgeon in other people’s lives. So be it. Seriously though, are they that hard to work around?
Instead of saying “Let’s go for a horseback ride, it will be fun!” say instead, “I’d like to ride to camp somewhere and check it out, clean it up, cut some wood and just absorb the wilderness for awhile.” The first statement is bound to get me nowhere and an earful of how busy we are and the second approach says two birds (camp is readied and I get a mental health ride)- one stone, I can get this work done AND enjoy myself thoroughly.
What about the last part of that sentence? “…AND thoroughly enjoy myself.” Why does it seem that it must be an unwritten law that we cannot enjoy our work? Thoroughly?! Why does it have to be such a pain in the ass or in some way demeaning to our fragile little egos, to simply do an outstanding job at whatever it is we choose (or are chosen) to do?
Understand that most of us are adults. We are all grown up. We are professionals. We are parents. We are college students working on degrees. No matter what else we are, we are mature humans. (Yeah, I am trying not to laugh at that too!) We waited forever (!) to be a grown up!
Now, we are. (grownups, that is)
Now, we get serious.
Now, that shit just isn’t funny anymore.
No. What isn’t funny is that we are all so stressed out, worried and harassed that not only is it killing us (seriously and literally) but it is also destroying our relationships, our companies and our futures.
“Also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil – this is God’s gift to man.”
The F Word
Different people have different ideas of what “Fun” really is. Some folks consider Fun something only children have. Others believe Fun is a weekend or holiday expectation. Still others look at Fun as being a waste of time.
What I believe is that Fun is completely personal to each of us and in my own estimation Fun equals peace and excitement, laughter and contentment, joy and sharing. Fun, for me, can be riding out on Thunder, doing anything at all in the rain, snow-machining, almost all of what I do for work is Fun for me, playing dice or cards with friends and sometimes, just sitting quietly with a good cup of coffee and a book is grand Fun.
Most people do not consider going to work, Fun. Why is that? I love what I do! Do you work with others? Enjoy them! Do you enjoy what it is you do? Whether it is keeping your home or running a corporation, there is nothing stopping you from enjoying it!
The Secret to Using the F Word
Smile, listen to what someone else has to say and really focus on them, be encouraging, share a funny joke you heard or something really good you may have heard or read (don’t dwell on the negative!) with the others you work with and make a point to find a positive side to at least one negative that may arise during your day.
So what about Fun at work? Everything begins with the leader and that includes Fun. Employees want to be cared about. They want to be valued and have opportunities to grow, develop and advance. Employees want to know their jobs are secure and they want to be able to take care of their own families.
How can we make work more Fun as Leaders? Here are a few ideas I have gathered from different conversations on this topic with various online communities:
Care and Communicate! ~ Leaders that care and communicate with their people are trusted and respected. It helps others to feel more secure when they know they are cared about, both as employees and as people as well as kept in the loop with what is happening around them and what the future may hold.
Passion and Vision! ~ A good friend of mine reminds us all on a regular basis that “Life is a contact sport, you are gonna get hurt.” Passionate people can make all the difference in our workplaces, to the business itself and to the atmosphere. Passionate people live life fully in the now even as they work and strive for something better for the future. A Leader with passion and vision infuses those around him or her with that same excitement and determination.
Kiss! ~ No, no, no, I am not talking about smooches! I mean the acronym, KISS as in Keep It Simple Stupid. Be who you say you are. Walk your talk. Stay the Path and look for the bright side. We are all in this life together, you are not alone. Do what you do, well. Learn more and then do it even better!
Here is the Secret to Using the F Word in action: Working Hard ~ or ~ Hardly Working
Do you use the F Word? Do you use the F Word at work? What are some of the ways that you sneak Fun into your work days? Let’s talk about them in the comments below!