The words “happy” and “work” are often considered contradictory and many people simply accept that as a fact and wait until their next vacation. I, on the other hand, have always been on the pursuit of being happy at work. We spend the majority of our lives working. It doesn’t make sense to spend the majority of our lives doing something that doesn’t make us happy.
The Happy Beginning
At a young age, I knew my passion in life was to positively affect the life of others. When I was 5 year old, some of my peers were wheelchair-bound and spent recess alone inside while everyone else was outside. Being blessed as a healthy and able-bodied child, it simply made sense for me to offer help when it was possible. As such, I volunteered to take them outside for walks around the playground every recess. Seeing the joy in their faces and creating a meaningful bond made me happy and look forward to go to school every day.
As I grew older, I expanded to help students in grades below me learn how to read. The older I became and the more I learned in school, the more I gave back to the community. People would ask me why I spent my spare time working so much…I just responded that “it makes me happy.”
The “Problem” Employee
I entered the workforce when I was 15 and, something changed. The priority stopped being the needs of the people and focused on the needs of the employer. It was something I had a hard time understanding because…shouldn’t the goal of the company be to meet the needs of the customers? Not according to many of my previous employers.
I found myself frequently conflicted with moral dilemmas because what was best for my clients was not best for my employers or coworkers. When I would make suggestions in the workplace to improve the quality of service to the clients, I would get push back and comments like, “Why?… That’s stupid.” or “…but we’ve always done it this way.” When I would see outright unethical behaviours, my manager would tell me to “ignore it” and “mind my own business.” When I started speaking out against unethical behaviours, I became the centre of attention for bullying. My choice was to conform or get out. My friends told me that people aren’t meant to be happy at work. It’s a job to get paid and go home.
That’s not good enough for me.
Creating My Own Happy Workplace
Since I started my company last year, I’ve worked harder than I’ve ever worked before and have never had more uncertainty about my income than ever before. Yet, I’ve never been so happy at work. That’s because I designed a company and service tailored to the needs of the community. It’s a company that aligns with my morals, ethics, and values. My work is dedicated to placing my clients’ needs first and develop solutions that align with their goals.
When families call me to tell me the struggles they have had getting their elderly parent to a clinic, I am delighted to say, “I can help you. Let me come to you.”
When women call me because they feel like their family doctors dismiss their health concerns, I am delighted to say, “I can help you. Let’s talk about it.”
When people who don’t suit societal “norms” tell me they’ve avoided the traditional healthcare system because they fear judgment and scrutiny, I am overwhelmingly delighted to offer them a health service that also doesn’t fit into traditional “norms” and say, “Let me help you.”
For me, being happy at work means that I get to wake up every day to do work that I am passionate about. I love what I do because I get to make a positive impact in my community. When I am stressed or worried, I know it’s worth it because of the benefit it will provide for the people who matter most – my clients.
My work is rewarding.
My stress is meaningful.
I’ve never been so happy to go to work.
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