All of us get stressed from time to time. But some of us tend to work in an atmosphere of almost constant stress.
And to retain our sanity, what do we do? We tell ourselves little fibs. Little lies that keep us going through the stress. As with any dysfunctional relationship, we search for excuses. Because clearly, we must be at fault. It’s not you. It’s me.
Wrong. A great deal of the stress–and dysfunction–of the modern workplace is a complete and utter lack of meaning. You get stressed because you don’t understand why you’re being asked to do what you do. You don’t see a great deal of value in what you do. And most importantly, you yourself don’t place a great deal of value in what you’ve been able to accomplish.
Alexander Kjerulf, self-described Chief Happiness Officer, puts it even more succinctly:
Stress has nothing to do with the number of hours you work, and everything to do with how you feel during those hours.
If you work 100 hours a week feeling great, having fun and taking pride in what you do, you wonâ€™t be stressed. If you work 30 hours a week feeling inadequate, bullied or unappreciated you will be stressed.
That’s why meaning is so critical. Meaning combats stress.
To take it from a different angle: when was the last time you got stressed doing something you enjoyed? And I mean really enjoyed. Writing in your blog, staring out the window, going for a walk, talking to a close friend, spending time on your hobby. When was the last time those things stressed you out?
I hope the answer is never. Because they shouldn’t. You’re doing those things because you enjoy them.
And work shouldn’t be any different. If it is, you need to keep searching. Don’t settle.