In Pursuit of Profit
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Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.
There is no doubt that our work is more satisfying and fulfilling when we are experiencing joy in what we are doing. Here are a few reminders about finding the joy in your work:
More joy can be experienced in your work when you focus on increasing the value of everything around you.
Some of the most rewarding and memorable times in my career have been when I have been able to help our team win. It doesn’t matter whether it’s been a large corporate win or a single individual win, there is something truly fulfilling and satisfying about helping others win. However, this can only happen when we are specific and intentional with our time and efforts. As we look for opportunities along these lines, we discover there a tremendous number of opportunities in the course of a workday.
I remember a time when a co-worker was battling depression and felt like they were losing the battle when it came to their health. I felt like I could make a difference and add value into this person’s world by making time for them and lend a listening ear. I took them out to lunch and let them know that I was committed to being there for them and just wanted to listen and be a source of encouragement for them in any way they needed. This action ended up helping them move to higher emotional ground. I remember feeling such joy that I could be of help in this person’s life.
But this is only one way to add value. There are so many more! You might add value through relational networking or by meeting the needs of your customers. Maybe you add value through your unique strengths or the achievement of strategic goals. Or perhaps you add value by being a part of a company whose mission supports a charitable cause you believe in. No matter how you add value, continuing to do so can create a joyful experience for you and for others.
So, where will you add value? I’m hoping that you find plentiful opportunities around you to increase value for others. But if you look around and don’t see anywhere where you feel you can add value, it is likely time to start looking for something new.
Do Excellent Work
More joy can be experienced in your work when your work is excellent.
The writer Pearl Buck once said, “The secret of joy in work is contained in one word - excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.” One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and others is to take great pride in work well done. It takes years to develop strengths derived from personal wins professionally. Your wins have the potential to encourage others to pursue their passion and achieve their goals. By bringing excellence to your organization from your years of investment into your work, you can inspire your team and lift the environment for others.
Appreciation follows excellence—when your contribution requires minimal effort yet offers maximum impact, team members take notice and begin to seek out your guidance. In The Law of Contribution, John Maxwell says it well:
Out of what I had received in my development, I was also able to give. The confidence I gained from personal growth gave me credibility and made me believe I could start developing others. And in that, I found life's greatest joy and reward.
Thus, part of the reward of reaching the milestone of doing something well, and gaining experience, is great joy.
But you can’t do great work if you don’t have the resources and support in place to do so. No matter what you are doing, ensure that you are set up for success by articulating your needs, communicating challenges, and listening to feedback. And if your current employer does not value that kind of communication to encourage growth, you may need to start searching for something else. Look for a role that is a better fit for your skillset, professional and personal goals, and interests.
Appreciate the Contributions of Others
More joy can be experienced in your work when you appreciate the contributions of the team around you.
Within every team, individuals work daily to bring their best for the greater good of the organization. Careful examination of a team reveals unique giftings and skills that collectively contribute to company goals being achieved. Simon Sinek, in his book Leaders Eat Last reminds us, “The ability of a group of people to do remarkable things hinges on how well those people pull together as a team.”
At times, it can be difficult to work alongside a team due to unique personalities and preferences of individual team members. In time, it can become easy to focus on the negative qualities of your team members and withdraw from the people you work with rather than focus on the positive they bring. In moments of frustration or disappointment, all that is needed is to take a quick inventory of the value they add to the team.
In his Beyond Success roundtables John Maxwell says,
Think back to the most important experiences of your life, the highest highs, the greatest victories, the most daunting obstacles overcome. How many happened to you alone? I bet there are very few. When you understand that being connected to others is one of life's greatest joys, you realize that life's best comes when you initiate and invest in solid relationships.
You cannot accomplish much without a great team of people around you. Your success is dependent on them. Take time to notice what they do to help you succeed. Be interested in what is important to them and determine to support them in all they do. When we focus on how the contributions of our teammates help the organization win, we develop appreciation for our team and that leads to much greater joy in our work.
If there is enough of a mismatch on the team that makes appreciating each other too difficult, you may want to find a company that has a better culture fit. Look for a company that recognizes individual strengths and efforts and seems to embrace the same approach to work that you hold.
Key Takeaway: Remember, work is inevitable, joy in your work is optional. Regardless of the nature of your work, you can experience joy if you are willing to focus on increasing value, doing excellent work, and appreciating the contributions of others. If your work has become mundane and no longer brings you joy, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Look for a new position where you can start fresh to increase the joy in your work. When you bring joy to your role, it can be the catalyst for greater job satisfaction for others as well. Joy lifts the atmosphere for the whole team and is infectious.
If you are an accounting or finance professional interested in making a change to pursue greater joy, please submit your resume to be considered for one of our current openings. Or apply to one of our open Controller jobs or Director of Finance jobs in Oregon or Washington directly. Our accounting and finance recruiters are committed to finding the right candidates for each our clients to ensure the kind of fit that inspires joy in the workplace.
About the Author
Eric Moore, ASP Practice Manager
Eric Moore is the Practice Manager of ASP. He brings two decades of progressive experience in Controller, CFO, and General Management roles with privately held companies, and has a broad perspective from working in environments ranging from start-ups to multi-generational mid-market companies with revenue in excess of $100M.
As Practice Manager, Eric is responsible for managing the consulting teams for ASP in all markets, for setting and executing business strategy, and acting as the primary client manager for all engagements. His experience as a consultant with both ASP and CFO Selections, as well as his previous time in general management, make him uniquely qualified to lead the firm.