There was a long op-ed in yesterday's "New York Times" about the state of work in America today. As you might expect from an article titled "Why You Hate Work," the findings were not positive. You can read the article here and I wholly recommend it.
Years ago a brilliant planner friend, Teresa Alpert, did some research on what makes small and mid-size business people tick, what makes them feel fulfilled, what makes them go. It wasn't complicated, really. They want to be rewarded. They want to be recognized. They want some control. And they want a room of their own.
This article confirms Teresa's findings. The authors report:
"Employees are vastly more satisfied and productive, it turns out, when four of their core needs are met: physical, through opportunities to regularly renew and recharge at work; emotional, by feeling valued and appreciated for their contributions; mental, when they have the opportunity to focus in an absorbed way on their most important tasks and define when and where they get their work done; and spiritual, by doing more of what they do best and enjoy most, and by feeling connected to a higher purpose at work."
It seems to me--and I've worked freelance and fulltime at more than a dozen agencies--that it's not unusual for agencies to be set up in ways antithetical to satisfaction.
- Workplaces are noisy, messy, shared and anything but private
- We extol multitasking instead of allowing focus
- We steal credit and assignments
- Talentless toadies get the best assignments
- We load people down with dumb or mundane tasks rather than what's important
- There's always an inflexible and usually unreasonable deadline to be met
- We don't praise people
- We don't raise people
Despite all that, I happen to love work. I love the interaction with people. I love when I have to clean up the shit that others have thrown into the fan. I love those early morning hours when no one else is in when I crack an assignment wide open. Most of all, I think, I love seeing something I did produced and on the air.
I'd love to hear what the HR moguls at the holding companies have to say about the "Times" article. More, I'd love to see if they do anything about it.