Costly Decision

When I look up the meaning of the word ‘work’ at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/work, it gives a list of definition. They include the followings:

– a job or activity that we do regularly especially in order to earn money

–  activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something

–  sustained physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result

  the labor, task, or duty that is one’s accustomed means of livelihood

  a specific task, duty, function, or assignment often being a part or phase of some larger activity

However, work means differently to a child. When I look at a child at play, I believe he is working. To him, play is work. And work is fun and enjoyable. He is not bored working with his toys. Have you seen a child plays with his favorite toys every day?  He may be doing role play and pretend to be a doctor or a nurse to his sick ‘patient’. He may be trying to figure how to fix the Lego blocks. He may be drawing, colouring and painting daily without feeling bored. He is using his cognitive and eye-hand coordination skills, progressing at work over time.  He enjoys his work as he gains confidence. He will talk about what he has done and laugh at his finished work. The point is he enjoyed ‘working’.

Unfortunately, we adults have forgotten how to enjoy our work, even when it is a choice we made. If you choose to work why not enjoy doing what you are paid to do? After all, you are going to face the work for as long as you choose to stay on the job. Work is not work when you have fun doing what you enjoy. Work becomes a chore or mundane when you lose interest and form negative thought in your mind.

Why do we work? We work for many reasons. First and foremost, we work so that we have money to pay for our food and mortgage or rental at the end of the month. Some people prefer to work as a freelancer as it allows for flexibility in managing their time better, especially when they have family commitment. Some choose to work part-time to stay active after they retire from their full-time job. Some work because they need to fulfill their responsibility as parents, while others work to supplement household income and pay for college loan. Some work so that they can apply what they have learnt in school in order to achieve their personal ambition. Others work because they don’t have enough money set aside for retirement when they retire at age 60.

What is your reason for working? We need to know why we choose to work in our chosen vocation. Find the objective of working and learn to enjoy at work. If you dislike working in your chosen field, find out why and how you can cultivate a liking for it. However, if you tried but still continue to dislike your job, then it is time to quit and seek employment somewhere else or change your vocation.

Whatever is your reason for working, you should not drag ourselves to work or complain about how you are being unfairly treated by your organization. Whenever you are tempted to complain, think about the negative effects on your body. I don’t have the statistics, but I believe unhappy workers tend to get sick more often. If you were to observe carefully, the staff who has the most medical leave is someone who is stressed and unhappy at work. How can someone be stressful at work be happy?

Take my daughter for example, she was hospitalized for six days and rest at home for another 21 days during May & June period, after working for less than three months.  She was very stressed at work. The CEO who is also her immediate superior has high expectation and delegated her works that are meant for experienced Consultant. As a fresh graduate working for the first time on a permanent job, she was unhappy that she was tasked to do something which she was not trained to do. She tried her best although she struggled. When she approached her boss regarding her work knowledge deficiency, he refused to accept.

After she was hospitalized, she was tempted to resign and recuperate at home for a few month. However, I prayed with her and ask God to cause her boss to delegate the consultancy tasks to a qualified Consultant. We believe by faith that nothing could rob my daughter of her job, something which God has blessed through my network. She returned to work in early June with little expectation. However, things began to change. Her boss became more understanding and kind. I heard he engaged a new Consultant to take over all the consultancy tasks from my daughter. She is much happier working and no longer over-stressed. Today, she is motivated and happy working with the same boss.

If you are at the management level, try to understand what your staff and subordinates are going through. It is going to cost the company if the turnover rate of staff is high. When new staffs enter a company, you need time and money to train them before they can contribute.  It is unlikely that they will stay long enough to contribute to the success of the company; if they are not placed in the job that match their capability or the welfare system is not properly administered at work. The tendency for new staffs to quit is high. Of course it also depends on the maturity and the attitude of the new staffs as well.

As employees, we need to look at our work from a positive perspective. I believe if you are desperate for a job, you will not quit easily even when you think that it is not an ideal job for you. I tend to think that we are what we perceived. If you think negatively, you tend to reap negative result, whereas the reverse is also true.

I was in my dire state when my late husband undergo financial crisis. I dislike the idea of looking for a job even though I desperately need one. As a homemaker for almost a decade, it was not easy for me to enter the work force with no computer literacy. (I don’t even know how to turn on a desk top computer a decade ago). However, I forced myself to apply for a part-time job with flexible hours as I need to care for my young children (age 3 and 8). I learned on the job and managed to overcome my fear of handling computerised cash register. I told myself to be a better cashier as I progress with time. I challenged myself to be good in both money handling and customer relation skills. Within a year, I was promoted from a regular cashier, to team leader and subsequently a Supervisor. This was possible because I change my perspective towards my work and find the joy of challenging myself to be better over time. Since I need the money to pay debts, I might as well do a good job and get a pay rise.

I believe every employee is able to excel in their work if they have positive attitude towards their work and the company. They should be recognized and rewarded as their work performance will demonstrate their potential.

After my husband passed on, I did not look for employment for a few years. Early this year, I decide to work part-time and apply for a cashier job with a supermarket chain. I prayed before I apply and told Jesus my needs. If He wants me work, He will bless me and meet my needs.  I choose to work only five days a week; five to six hours a day, any time between 7am to 6pm. By God’s grace, my branch chief cashier accedes to my request although on contract, I am supposed to work six days a week.

I was happy working part-time as it allows me to stay active and earn some pocket money for myself. About three months into my job, I was offered a full-time job. I did not take up the offer; as my objective is to work part-time so that I have time for household chores and spend time with my children in the evening. Eventually, I will seek for full-time employment after my youngest graduate from his diploma course, and get enlisted to serve his national service. (It is mandatory for all male Singapore citizens to serve in the Defence Force for two years at age 18 or after their high school or diploma course)

IMPORTANT POINTS TO NOTE

1. Working is a choice. Your job or workplace should not put your health at risk. If you are highly stressed due to overworked, you should do something about it before it causes your health to suffer. Remember that when you suffer due to poor health, the company can always replace you with a new staff. However, you and your family will suffer the brunt of high medical cost and emotional pain for a long time.

2. Find your objectives for working. Ask yourself: ’Why do I want to work? What are my life purposes?’ Once you have written down your objectives and long-term goals, let them be your motivation to excel at work and enjoy life.  As Christians, I tend to think that my CEO is Jesus. Colossians 3:23-24 ‘Work willingly as whatever you do, as though you were working for the LORD rather than for people. Remember that the LORD will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the master you are serving is Christ.’ Since Jesus is my CEO, he will be pleased if I do my job well. Hence, I am motivated and enjoy my work every day.

3. Don’t entertain negative thoughts about your work or company in your mind. They will affect your performance at work. Remember that you are what you perceived. If you are always complaining about your dissatisfaction on your salary, work place condition and customers; think of ways to overcome them. You either do something about your situation or condition; or change your perspective and stay on the job. If you are not going to do anything about your dissatisfaction and get frustrated at work; you should quit and change job.

4. Job hopping is costly and so is high staff turnover rate. Each time you quit a job, it doesn’t mean that you will find a job immediately. Some time you take a few months before you can get a ‘suitable’ job. During those months when you are temporary unemployed, you have no income and you are eating into your saving. If you really have to quit your current job, make sure you have a new job waiting for you. Otherwise, it is going to cost you money each time you decide to leave a job due to personal reasons. Besides, it doesn’t look good on your resume.

As for the organization, high staff turnover rate reflects poor staff management and welfare system. High recruiting cost and training cost will eat into the organizational profits. CEO and higher level management personnel should investigate and find ways to minimize high staff turnover and keep high performance employees that are of value to your company’s success.

 

 

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