How to be a reverse optimist
Are you less than satisfied with your job? Do you look forward to Monday as much as you look forward to an unanesthetized root canal? Do you enjoy working eight hours more than you enjoy eight hours with your in-laws? If you won the lottery today, would you keep on working? If you answered “yes” or “no” to any of these questions, you are in the majority of Americans who feel the same way.
Recent reports show that 55 percent of Americans are unsatisfied with their jobs! If I did the math correctly, that means half of you reading this article right now would rather be fishing, but since you can’t, you thought reading a funny article at work would be a good way to kill time. The cause of this worker unrest is the fact that work is not fun. Some business experts would argue with me, stating that it is not called “fun,” it is called “work,” because you are there to do a job, not to play a game. I would suggest that these business experts lighten up a little bit.
For years, I have been telling people to add more laughter to their workdays because it makes them more productive, it makes them work harder, it makes them proud to be with their companies, and it costs absolutely nothing. It’s a win-win-win-win.
If you are one of the 55 percent of Americans who are unhappy at work, I suggest you employ the analytical technique I call Reverse Optimism. Optimists look at the bright side of life, while reverse optimists also look down the alleys and into the dark corners. We think that things might be bad right now, but they could always be worse. If we are dissatisfied at work, we rationalize that at least you get to sit down most of the day.
The next time something in your life doesn’t go the way you would like it to, make a list of things that could be worse. For instance, if you don’t like your job, make a list of even worse jobs that you could have. You might come up with a list of jobs that include picking up dead animals on the highway, being a roofer in Florida in July, or being the guy who services Port-A-Johns. Before you know it, you will have a list of 10 jobs that are worse than yours, and you will be singing on your way back to your cubicle.
Dale Irvin, the Professional Summarizer, can add a new dimension to your next meeting by emceeing and “summarizing” the daily happenings at the event. Sign up for Dale’s Friday Funnies—for free—at his Web site. For booking information, contact SpeakInc.’s Ruth Levine at (858) 228-3771 or email@example.com.