Where are you on this graph?
Over the coffee machine buzzing , I could hear(whistling) “Tie me kangaroo down, sport, tie me kangaroo down” plus footsteps getting louder . Then DING DONG and three knocks”
I knew who that was.
There’s a woman who comes to the house to give me a blood test once a month – she’s been visiting since 2016.
I hear the whistling before the doorbell.
She’ll keep visiting until 2022.
Over the months, during the 10 minutes she’s here – we’ve got to know each other a little bit.
It sometimes makes me laugh that we could not have more opposing views on… well most things, really.
Politics; she is SUPER right-wing, she’s vocally against anything that I am ‘pro’. And vice versa.
She likes a rant.
I’ve face-palmed too many times to count.
She loves things on the TV that I literally could not sit through without gouging my own eyes out.
She’s actually very nice indeed.
As I’ve got older I’ve noticed that actually, the great thing about people is – we’re all different.
Having different opinions doesn’t make you the enemy –
but it does give you a bit of an insight into things that you wouldn’t normally have.
Which makes you better, I think.
Could be wrong.
Talking to her reminds me of that
Anyway, that’s for another post.
Point is, today she was cheerfully sticking a needle in my arm and talking about Boris (again) when I said:
“Is it that you really love your job, or do you just get this happy because you’re visiting me?”
Turns out she doesn’t just like her job – she LOVES her job.
She gets to set her own schedule.
This is a really big deal, as previously when she worked in the NHS, although she cherished it – she was on such tight time constraints – there was no time to chat.
Having autonomy is key for her.
She also really respects her boss; super fair, effective – and makes sure everyone pulls their weight.
She’s doing the same job as before really, but she gets to choose how, the people around support her – and the upshot is – she wants to do it even better.
I PROMISE you I have barely ever felt the blood test.
This is not me being brave, she is just really really REALLY good at taking blood.
She said she is almost obsessive at taking courses, reading about it and being the best gawd dang blood-taker that there is.
And not hurting the patient is one of the things that’s important to her.
Lucky for me.
It’s not just about the work.
There are basic requirements, as I see it for you to be happy in your work.
That you are challenged enough.
That the people around you support you.
That you don’t feel overwhelmed.
That you are valued.
I know I go on about it, but there are so many lessons that we can learn from the world of work that directly apply to the rest of our lives.
This is another one.
The blood test woman’s children are grown, her job hasn’t changed – but the traffic is better, she’s out and about seeing people and talking about retirement in a few years.
Her job is JUST challenging enough, she’s got exactly the right level of skill, her house is paid off, she’s supported – no wonder she’s whistling, really.
She’s in the sweet spot.
I don’t think many people are there at the moment.
Ignoring all the other stuff for a minute let’s just look at these two things;
Skill & Challenge
So thinking about the things you need to get done, look at the graph.
The vertical axis – Skill Level.
How skilled you need to be to do what you have to do.
The horizontal axis – Challenge Level. How hard you have to work to get the things done.
Ideal Skill level: you know what you are doing, it lets you flex your particular and unique set of brilliances, gives you the feeling of a job well done.
Ideal Challenge level: You can complete the tasks well in the time, it keeps you occupied for the time you do it, you feel like you’ve put in some effort but it’s achievable
If you’re working at the ideal skill and challenge level for you
(and those things are as different for each person
as Boris Johnson is to Russell Brand –
the stars of today’s conversation with the blood test woman)
I can pretty much guarantee you are having a good time.
If those things are out of whack – then you won’t be.
You probably know I like a graph/chart/Venn diagram.
(Which is ironic as I used to bunk off maths quite a lot).
This could easily have been represented by one of those.
With so many people working from home,
(I had never heard that word before 2020 – had you?)
having to be schoolteachers ON TOP of regular jobs,
with no place to let off steam.
In lockdown series 3 many of us are in dark, unchartered territory.
I want to spend the next few days talking about each of the
‘non sweet spot’ areas in turn.
To offer you some solutions – or at least things to take the edge off.
But for today – I want you to find where you are on the chart.
And let me know, so I know which one to start with.
Come over to Wise & Gorgeous: Inner Circle and we’ll be chatting about it there…
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