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Essay Sample on Flow and Success: Steps to Job Satisfaction

8 pages
1988 words
Middlebury College
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The world we are living in is cruel to everyone but harder on people who have nothing to do regarding job or career. Life demands that one gets basic needs to survive and also to provide for the diverse needs of one`s family. "We must spend most a large part of our lives earning a living" Mihaly (143). Whether a white-collar job or technical jobs, it's important that one gets engaged in some work that brings food on the table, and if successful, add to it clothes, better house and get to ride in a good car. Going back in time, jobs were different from what we have in the world today. Work described farming (land tilling, herding), building houses, and only a few people who could term work as working behind a closed door office with a single ventilation and computers buzzing on the whole day. Work by then was enjoyable unless when results were not achieved of which this was a rare case. Work in the good old days involved; hunting; chasing the game and taking game-meat home for food while women, on the other hand, remained home and looked after the children as well as prepared a good meal for the hunting husband and overgrown sons. Work in the old days was specifically defined as women would spend the day weaving baskets and trading them during market days in which they were exchanged for foodstuff. Work was communal in nature because the people shared responsibilities at home and in the community at large. House construction tilling of the land, as well as hunting, was a collective activity in which people joined hands for the greater good. Unlike the old days, today, work involves competition between community members and a very individualized society in which one has to put their interests fast before the interest of the other people.

Consequently, children were given simpler tasks such as looking after cattle, fetching water and collecting firewood and looking for their younger ones who were sometimes left at home to allow the elder people attend to other demanding responsibilities. People seemed happy to work together, tilling the land while singing, women weaving and building shelters while telling tales and children herding while playing games that improved social inclusivity as well as bonded young people. There was happiness; not that it just happened but being happy was a way of life in which the community could share both joy and sorrows making life more easy and pleasant. Today, jobs and working environments have been regarded as a source of stress, discomfort and goes a long way in determining the moods of the community members. However, this should not be the case since jobs are there to make our lives better and raise our standard of living by providing incomes which enable people to assess their daily needs with ease. The only way then, which we will be able to transform jobs to be successful and enjoyable, is by cultivating happiness from within ourselves and in workplaces by having shared goals and teamwork which is very effective in reducing stress and the burden of work like the generations before us did while hunting and tilling community land together.

Our current world, however, development has replaced communalism in work, and everyone has to depend on himself for production and success. The world is individualized, and most people are competing against each other to produce more, have more customers, and even perform better for a promotion which has significantly led to unproductive competition piling up stress and loneliness in life. Even with the introduction of teamwork practices at the places work, everyone has been fed with the mentality of competition to outdo others resulting maybe in job promotion or salary increment for proving a hard worker in comparison to others in the team. The results of such an environment are less productivity, workers de-motivated and less happiness among the team members and even within the individuals. Every business venture, whether in a big company, partnership or even sole proprietorship aims at making profits through high productivity, simply being successful in each step of their operations? Unfortunately, the more the developments/technology is being incorporated into today's businesses, the less happy become and the more the complaints about work.

Annie McKee, an author of the book "How to Be Happy at Work," says that performance at work is intimately linked to happiness. If workers are not happy, their performance will be drooling down, resulting in less or no productivity. Happiness is, therefore, directly linked to better performance and individual contribution of people in a working environment. A stressful working environment reduces the productivity of the people due to stress and detachment of the worker with the organization goals.

This essay will major its discussion on Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's book, Flow especially on chapter 7, Work as Flow, and other scholarly material that supports this chapter. In the introductory chapters of this book-Flow, Csikszentmihalyi introduces happiness as the center of his discussion arguing that people are seeking happiness whereas happiness is being sought for its sake. All other things that people are seeking or getting involved in (money, jobs, power, health) are all aimed at making their lives better and at ultimately bring happiness in their lives Mihaly (1). He further explains that the book examines the process of achieving happiness through one's control over their inner self, what he terms as flow. Work as flow hence means work that can achieve happiness through individuals who can control their inner selves; their attitudes and perceptions. However, happiness at work is a contribution to both the workers and their managers.

Happiness at work

While happiness is achieved through the personal individual efforts and creativity, Mihaly (5), argues that it is also supported by the kind of environment which one is working in. Therefore, despite the individual efforts and character of happiness, the working environment can be detrimental to achieving happiness by causing stress that is accrued by unmet individual goals in the working place. Managers can be so vital in ensuring that employees enjoy what they do or not. It is manager's role to ensure that workers are cheerful and satisfied by creating an environment where workers have a sense of purpose. They should as well ensure workers feel important and that their productivity plays an important part in the company's growth, workers who feel that they share a hopeful vision and are free to have friends and healthy relationship with other workers. In such an environment, workers are happy and in no way will they not be happy to produce to their abilities.

It is the managers' responsibility to treat employees as adults and trust them with the responsibilities they place on their hands. Workers, in this case, feel like they can make a difference in the company by what they do when they are entrusted with certain tasks by the organization. Employees are encouraged to be positive, enthusiastic and committed to what they do which is a major source of joy and happiness by loving what you do. There is no greater sense of belonging than that of someone entrusting a responsibility on your hands and believing that you can handle it without supervision but rather with compliments. Consequently, people will not only feel safe, happy but will be successful. Moreover, managers have a personal role in ensuring that they make their workers comfortable and happy by themselves taking a personal evaluation of their happiness, mood, and health issues stressed or committed to working. On many occasions, managers have been the cause of workers dissatisfaction and negative attitude towards work by how they are rudely commanding them around out of their stress and complaining all the time instead of leading them and appraising them in little achievements. Its also advisable that managers will have regular talks with the employees assuring them that he/she intends to create a happy, conducive environment while at the same time taking workers ideas on how this can be achieved. Effective Communication at work is a vital ingredient for a happy environment at work.

On the other hand, employees have a part to play in creating a happy environment at work. Its not by pretending that they are happy, but by working towards a positive, optimistic working environment having tools ready to deal with difficulties when they occur. Challenges are bound to occur, and they are healthy. Work without problems is boring, Ramsey (15). Moreover, people want to trust you, and they cant do that when you pretend to be happy, and circumstances indicate otherwise. A worker ought to face a situation as it is but with the right attitude towards making things better. On this note, Robert D. Ramsey has outlined how an individual can enjoy their job more, being self-driven, exhibiting a sense of purpose and curiosity. These type of people are termed as Autotelic, Mihaly (152)

Steps to job satisfaction

Job satisfaction refers to the ability of individual workers to be contented with their roles in an organization. Job satisfaction is achieved through the achievement of personal goals as well collective organization goals that are placed on individual employees. Ramsey is quick to comment on how people perceive jobs, indicating that jobs are what we make of them. It is from our perceptions which turn to reality and attitude towards work which dictate the feeling towards what we are doing. Luckily, we own our attitudes, and it's possible to change them. He urges people to check on their attitudes, it's their world, and one can make the most out of it, Ramsey (15).

First, one can enjoy their job by looking at what is right in their job. There must be something right about that job which one complains about. It could be its holiday remunerations, allowances, freedom, or just that one thing that is right according to you. Instead of focusing energies on what is wrong and displeases, one needs to look at that one or two things right and major in that.

Secondly, workers, ought to be good at their positions and in their responsibilities. They can do this by either, upgrading their knowledge, going back to school, attending workshops and seminars related to their field of work and trying harder every time to do better than the previous day; all this is to add on to skills that one has to be good at what one does. It will be hard to hate your work when you know you are good at it.

Making problems, your friend will play an important part of ensuring you are happy and staying positive in your job. Problems are to act as teachers and lessons to a worker. Through problems, one is put in a position which calls on his/her extra abilities; it stretches one to limits they thought they could not reach and as a result making one bring out the best in them. If a worker faces problems with a mentality of passing through a test and learning new lessons, then one will remain positive and happy at all times.

Most importantly, accept failures and avoid being a perfectionist since this will only make you gloomy and sad for things not done the right way, jobs have all types of people; those that are always careful of making mistakes and those that will always make mistakes whatsoever. For a perfectionist, anytime things are not done well, as a supervisor you will keep quarreling, and happiness might never be part of your work life. It's important to loosen up, not overreacting about issues, and don't take you and the job too seriously. "You work to live, but you don't live to work," Ramsey (16).

Additionally, associating oneself with the right people, those that have the right attitude towards a job, those that are happy about what they do, will make a worker also have a positive take on their work and will...

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