Friday, March 30, 2007

Tea at Work Makes Me Happy

Where I work currently, you may ask for tea to be brought to you and of course, since it is Turkey, it is served Turkish-style in a clear, curvy glass on a little saucer. It's pretty basic black tea but tea is always nice and today is a holiday where people eat simit (a softer-than-a-bagel sesame seed-covered savory bread). Now, tea is one of only a few beverages I drink (others being water, juices, coffee, wine and beer) and it being so available really makes my day much better. To put it plainly, tea makes me happy. If I had to work somewhere where it wasn't easy to make tea, I would be pretty miserable. If only finding a place where I can drink tea were the only requirement for job satisfaction!

From MSN I found this article, Finding Happiness at Work. The article lists the 16 basic desires that motivate us as people according to Dr. Steven Reiss at the Ohio State University and explains how to be happy at work, we must identify our basic desires from this list and find a job AND workplace that are congruent with these desires. Sounds good to me. My Dad always says "Do what you love and the money will follow." After all, isn't it only natural to find work that is congruent with your values, ideals and desires? Why would someone become a teacher if they don't like kids, don't enjoy having fun and can let go of expectations and control in the name of spontaneous learning that works? Because they get summers off!

That is why people are so enigmatic. Because people do things for reasons that invariably make no sense to anyone but them (i.e. having summers off makes the other 10 months of work as a teacher seem like a reasonable career choice for a person that doesn't really like kids or trying to devise ways to inspire curiosity). And in the work place I can't think of very many people who are in jobs that match their desires - they are in jobs for the salary, the prestige, because it is there, the health care benefits, the location (my temporary situation), the summers off etc., everything but because it matches their desires. I mean, how many people are there out there whose desires are social-contact, eating, romance and independence who would make brilliant independent caterers specializing in weddings and anniversaries who are working as administrators behind desks somewhere? A lot, I bet.

But then there are practical considerations - a person can't just run off to chef school, take out a small business loan and some courses in small business development and think that everything will work out...or can they? I like to think they can but the basic necessities for food, shelter, healthcare, etc., make it hard for most people to do as my Dad suggests and the money will follow. Or at least it makes them scared. But you know, people actually don’t need all that much. We want a lot of things. Oh how we want! But we don't actually need a lot of things. And if you do something you love, and it makes you happy, that will invariably translate into wealth, however you define it. Look at Oprah.

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