If you’ve recently worked with someone in their 20’s or early 30’s, you’ve come to understand that having “fun” in the workplace has become a cultural priority.
Being a baby boomer, empty nester, and a mother of two people who are from this generation, I can attest to how our generation has raised these kids into expecting that, in addition to a paycheck, they must also be compensated in fun. It’s a required benefit if you want them to give you their full attention and best efforts.
Yes, Gen Y wants to have fun. Always. And if something is dull and hard and tedious and not absolutely necessary, well... they’re just not really that interested in pursuing it.
(Yes, yes, I know I’m generalizing here. Shame on me for that. But be patient. I’m about to get to my point ;-)
I’m from a different generation.
We thought things had to be dull and hard and tedious to be considered “work”. “Fun” just wasn’t allowed. And during the few moments in which we did have fun, we always made sure to get back to work as quickly as we could!
So yes, I’m learning. And I’m also realizing that some truly successful people that AREN’T Gen Y'ers have considered “fun” a priority at work.
"Charles and Ray achieved their monumental success by approaching each project the same way: Does it interest and intrigue us? Can we make it better? Will we have "serious fun" doing it?" - - HermanMiller.com
Personally, I’m starting to come around.
I’m kind of at a crossroads. I need to make some decisions about what parts of my work are fun and what aren’t. I’m realizing that my time is precious, and time spent in tedious, sticky, unpleasant situations is not fun.
Spending so much time just “catching up” or putting out fires is not fun.
Overbooking myself with projects because I don’t want to let income go is not fun.
And accepting projects that don’t push my business forward, in new, exciting, more lucrative ways, is not fun.
"I think we're having fun. I think our customers really like our products. And we're always trying to do better."
- Steve Jobs
So I need to change things.
I’m starting to take a new approach to how I accept the projects that come my way.
I’m surrounding myself with people I genuinely like and respect.
And, while I love design and business and writing about design, there are still lots of things about this business that I don’t really love. And these things need to change too.
Yes, I know some of the dull, hard, tedious stuff still has to be done. But, if I can find a way to limit the time spent on the mundane so I can increase that which excites me, I think I will enjoy all this so much more.
So I’m going to be a little 20-something-ish for a while to see how it goes.
I’m going to concentrate on what makes me happy for a change. I’m going to work how I want to work, work on what I want to work on, work with who I want to work with, and see if I can bring back more of the fun that this business is designed to be so full of.
Because when I’m having more fun: I’m more creative. More excited. More effective.
...But I’m not about to tell the 20-year olds they’re completely right. ;-)