Wednesday 27 May 2009

What are job lovers?

"There are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice".

When F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote those words I very much doubt he was thinking about people loving their work. However, I've noticed that "love" has become a two tiered word these days, and now as well as the top tier of the love between two people, you also get a second tier of a love for things, for objects and also for experiences.

How often do you hear people say "I love my job" or "I love where I work". When I hear people say that (I'm going to call them "job lovers") I get a warm fuzzy feeling inside, but what do they mean?

I'm certain I'll never get a fully agreed definition of the word "love" here, so we'll go with my interpretation for now. That is, the second tier of "love" in the sense of "I love my work" or "I love my new phone", is to like something so much that you actively tell other people how much you like it. Not just when you're asked, but proactively go out there and start conversations about it, enthuse to others about it, become an advocate of it.

To have people at work who love their jobs is an amazing feeling. They are naturally more proactive, they will push harder, go further, and feel more connected than other people. You can't tell people to love their jobs, it happens because you've employed someone in something they enjoy, and then given them a structure to work within that fits their character. Oh and you also need a sprinkle of luck.

The only problem with people who love their jobs is that they, like two people in love, can be more sensitive to failure or change. If you fail an employee like this then it may have a much more significant effect on their performance, and you may find that they go from your best employee to your worst almost over night. What's the saying; "Hell hath no fury like a lover scorned"? Well, a team has nothing as demotivated as a job lover treated badly.

So, should you stop people becoming job lovers? Of course not! If you don't get a huge thrill from working with and around job lovers then you yourself are in the wrong job. If you don't want to spend your time helping to create job lovers then you've settled for second best from your teams. It won't always be easy, and the love will be strained from time to time, but take the risk, enjoy the feeling, and make sure that you're the biggest job lover of all.


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  2. Hell yeah!
    No where near enough managers understand the link between the motivation, quality and quantity of work done by people who enjoy and care about what they do and who they do it for and with.
    Too many managers think that people are robots with more flexible computational abilities and/or they are doing the employee a favour by letting them work there and wonder why people aren't constantly thankful and gleeful!

  3. Thanks Cap, Well said. It's impressive the lengths a bad manager will go to in order to justify why they don't make their employees happy. More love, I say.

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