Do You Need To Work?


Some people need to work and some don’t. Some want to work and some don’t. Then there are those who both need and want to work. But is it possible that there are some who don’t need to and don’t want to?

I’ve worked with someone in this last category and maybe you have too. Odd though it is, the person in the case I know of, had a husband who brought in the bulk of their income. There was no financial reason for her to have to work therefore; a fact she made sure everyone was aware of, so it’s not just conjecture.

This woman had originally decided the work she performed was something she wanted to do. Her children were grown and out of the house, and the job was fulfilling more of a social function, allowing her to connect with other people and helping her of course feel useful and appreciated.

But then things changed. People change even if job responsibilities don’t, and in this case both she and the job she did changed. The new mix wasn’t a good one, and it was clear to more than a handful of people that she was no longer happy in the work she did. Too old to really seriously look at another job outside the company she worked for, there were only two real options; quit outright or apply for another job within the company – but there wasn’t one she was qualified to apply for. So quitting or hanging on were her two choices.

Sadly, she made a decision to stay instead of quitting. All the positive relationships she had established in the workplace started to turn sour. Voices started grumbling behind her back, wishing she’d leave, and only because she was turning quickly into that energy-sucking, negative person that few people want to be around. So in addition to the job being one she didn’t want to do, the ‘connecting with others’ part of the job she liked was slipping fast.

In the end, she did quit. And when she left, instead of a nice send-off with sincere best wishes for a productive and happy next chapter of life, people couldn’t wait to see the back of her. Like milk turned sour when past its due date, she’d overstayed her usefulness. And that was unfortunate too, because the time she had given was on the whole, apparently quite long and had much more good than bad.

If you don’t need to work and you really don’t want to work, shouldn’t you move on?

There are a number of people who benefit when a worker retires or quits. First of course the people themselves benefit because they find new stimulation in other activities. New stimulation is a good thing, and there are options such as another job, a return to school not only for higher education but to delve into a hobby or personal interest. And you meet like-minded people if you are taking up an interest such as photography, a musical instrument or a craft.

Secondly the co-workers left behind may initially find your departure leaves big shoes to fill, but with the arrival of a new person comes an opportunity to meet and work with someone new; and everyone moves up the seniority list by one! Existing workers may find a position opened up they themselves want to apply to, and that could stimulate some real enthusiasm for a new job in other people, and a ripple causes three or four job changes.

The employer benefits too, because sour workers are cancerous. It could well be that if a worker with a poor attitude doesn’t leave on their own, they might get shown the door. What a sad end to an otherwise long and productive career that would be. Then the employer looks bad to those outside the organization, but dead wood isn’t of much use other than for burning.

And most important of all is that the customer or clients of the company itself who may have dealt with the person will experience hopefully someone new in the job who wants to be at work, wants to provide good customer service and makes their experience a good one. Of course all that knowledge that left with the retiree is dearly missed, but in the case of someone who isn’t happy, it could well be the case that the person stopped using all that knowledge anyhow, not because they were a terrible person or anything, they just became burned out.

Customers want to interact with people who want to do well in their jobs and like what they do. Given a choice of two people who both know their stuff, but where one loves the job and one loathes it, I’d choose to deal with one who loves their job. Wouldn’t you too? Employers and supervisors also want employees who enjoy coming to work, put in extra effort, do their job with enthusiasm and make the workplace a happy place.

In fact, employers should consult with disgruntled workers to find out what’s going on. Has something happened in an employees personal life that’s having a negative impact at work? Is there some support the employer can lend to get through a difficult time outside work?

In the end, it’s up to you and me; up to all of us, to review why we work, where we’d be happiest, and make changes if and as necessary.

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