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Jans Corner: Christmas and jobs beyond repair

It’s almost Christmas time and like every year many of us approach the period of the year with a mixed sense of excitement and dread. Officially, it represents the holidays of love and peace. Practically, it often means stress, overspending and overeating.

For me this is an example of where the Spirit or Intention of something great can wildly diverge from the experience we have when doing it. 

Take for example a job. Most of us either have it, own it or provide it (one or many of them) with the Intention to allow people to participate in creating and providing value of some kind to others. In Spirit, business is about people and for people. In practice, you may agree the experience can be quite different. The spirit is frequently lost in the fragmentation of abstracts goals, boring tasks and conflicting interests somewhere along the way.

Tim Ferriss, in his highly popular book The 4-hour Work Week, writes that improving some jobs would be like adding a set of designer curtains to a jail cell. These jobs just seem beyond repair. And more often than not people feel stuck in them for years. In the grand scheme of today’s economy this means that likely tens of millions of people on the planet show up every day to serve their working life prison sentence!

Sad but not necessarily how it has to be. If we look beyond the resignation and cynicism or beyond the repair attempts, we certainly could see the opportunity to rethink and redesign what we call jobs to better express the original Spirit of business and allow people to have a place to shine and belong to, and an environment to be their best and contribute their most. And for that, you and I need not be job providers like Richard Branson. 

This is where I see the Christmas parallel coming in. Consider what difference it would make and to the people around us, if we made our work and our Christmas about: 

  • The attention we give rather than the presents (rewards) we get
  • The quality of moments we share rather than quantity of food we eat and stuff we consume
  • The magical atmosphere we create rather than the stressful hype (or trance) we participate in

Let’s make business just as Christmas about the people and for the people. And let’s enjoy both the spirit and the experience.

Wishing you awesome holidays full of inspiration, connection and true re-creation!

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