A few nights ago, my sons and I were talking about the “chore” of feeding our dogs. My youngest son saw this as “work” that took him away from stuff he’d rather be doing. It triggered a memory of a time when I’d just returned from a flight and I needed to use the restroom in the airport. I remember this restroom as the cleanest I’d ever been in…even cleaner than my own. In the room, there was an older, well-kept gentlemen dressed in his janitor’s uniform. He looked professional. Elegant. He had just finished cleaning.
I told him that I really appreciated his work and that it made me feel comfortable after a long and arduous day of travel. He gave me a bit of a puzzled look and simply said, “Thank you for noticing.” I asked what made him so good at this job. He told me he takes joy in his work because “he decides to.” That simple combination of joy + decision really stuck with me.
My conversation with my sons made me wonder….is taking joy in our work just a decision? Is it that simple? And isn’t joy a higher, more powerful form of happiness? My sons and I talked about this as we drove back from dinner. We talked about the honor of good labor and that, no matter the work, we GET to choose to take joy in it.
I realize it’s simply a decision. Maybe one of the most powerful we get to make – deciding whether or not to take joy in our work. I don’t believe this means we should stay in a bad job. I think this means we should approach whatever we do with joy and, after a while, if the work is no longer fulfilling or “joyful”, we should find work that is. Ultimately, it’s our own decision to make.
Let me know what you think.