Jobs, Life, Creativity and Passion

I just finished reading Seth Godin’s new book – Tribes. As normal with Seth’s books he frequently goes into various stories throughout to make his points, this book was no exception with one particular story that really caught my attention.

Here is the excerpt from Tribes:

How Was Your Day?

It’s four a.m. and I can’t sleep. So I’m sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Jamaica, checking my e-mail.

A couple walks by, obviously on their way to bed, having pushed the idea of vacation a little too hard. The woman looks over to me and, in a harsh whisper a little quieter than a yell, says to her friend, “Isn’t that sad? That guy comes here on vacation and he’s stuck checking his e-mail. He can’t even enjoy his two weeks off.”

I think the real question – the one they probably wouldn’t want to answer – was, “Isn’t it sad that we have a job where we spend two weeks avoiding the stuff we have to do fifty weeks a year?”

Seth Godin, Tribes (2008)

I suspect that for the vast majority of people the idea of having a job which drives such passion that you do not mind, in fact you want, to make it part of your life is just a step too far. It is, presumably, why whenever we ask people about how their job is going it inevitably begins with a groan and ends with a “I need another drink!”.

Can a work environment be created that allows many more of us to feel a similar way about their work to how Seth does? I had the opportunity to see Gary Hamel speak a few months back and if we believe in the vision he presented it seems like this is not only possible but it will be an economic necessity for developed nations. An excerpt of the content he covered a few months ago is available here and very much worth the 20 minutes to listen to the podcast.

We’re going to have to get people to bring to work their initiative, their creativity, their passion, and those are human capabilities that cannot be commanded. Those are gifts that people either choose to bring to work or not.

Gary Hamel

One of Gary Hamel’s central premises is that organizations up to now have been managed by seeking out those with Intellect, Diligence, and Obedience (attributes he argues are now a virtual commodity) but now and in the future survival of companies will be dependent upon finding those with the additional talents of Creativity, Initiative, and Passion. It seems logical then that to support and attract these individuals, organizations will have to adapt and create a work environment where those with these talents will want to put their unique skills to work – and as Gary says – choose to give these ‘gifts’ to the place that they work.

Filed under: Random | Permalink