|I, arguably, had one of the worst summer jobs. The summer before college I joined a youth crew with my state’s Department of Transportation and one of our less-than-best assignments was cleaning up road kill. I’m not joking. Yes … my coworkers and I had to remove dead animals (raccoons, deer, skunk, etc.) that had been hit by cars off the road. We actually got paid to do this. How much? Not enough … . |
Oddly, I look back on this job as not as unpleasant as it sounds. Sometimes, it was actually – dare I say – fun? Not doing the job. But, rather, working with my coworkers (who were also my friends).
The State of Michigan entrusted us with a car (a cruddy brown sedan), a radio, a flashing orange light we could put on the roof of our car, flexibility, a loose job description, and shovels.
We all knew we had to take summer jobs to shore up our cash situation for college. What made this job particularly interesting was that we got to work closely with one another and bond over the crappy work we were often tasked to do.
I don’t think there was a day that went by where:
- One of us heaved (and the others laughed about it)
- A song was on the radio and we all sang it at the top of our lungs
- We swapped lunch items ensuring that everyone had their fill
- We bartered with each other on who was going to be responsible for the next piece of road kill we’d encounter
- We imagined how we could prank someone with the flashing orange light
- We conjured up ideas on how we could do the least amount of work to get by and still feel proud about taking a paycheck (in our defense, we were teenagers)
Now, as an adult and a consultant, I hear many people who don’t enjoy their work. More often than not, it has nothing to do with the salary. It’s about the environment. Whenever I hear these stories my mind travels back to my youth crew days … crappy job, great environment.
The opportunity in front of us all is to imagine how we can help cultivate a right environment so that the work we do is done in the most enjoyable format possible. We have all sorts of choices in life – we can choose to make work a fun experience for ourselves, as well for others. I guarantee – the effort you put into making your environment be a little more fun will pay off in dividends.
Hey, I’d love to hear from you – what was your worst job and how did you make it fun? Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep Leading from the Front!