Sunday, February 18th, 2018

What I Love About My Work


I had a good job and good work and II want to go on record about how much I loved my work and how good it was for me and to me. Large companies are so vilified now and everyone loves to hate corporate America when they talk to me as if I am a demented ambassador of all corporations on earth. What can I say? It may have been a Camelot moment but it lasted twenty-five years. And I’m thinking about emerging from retirement to help anyone who wants to lead well and create a company culture that is prosperous and healthy. It is not impossible. Although we do need some modern leaders.That too.

Anyway, here is what I loved about my work as an executive doing organizational and leadership development.

What Makes Work, Work

—I laughed a lot every day. Big belly laughs with colleagues about absolutely anything and everything—work, goofy retail stories, major mistakes and the foible of one another. Did I put laughter first? I did.

—I liked food retailing. It did not put on airs. It attracted extroverted, get it done people.The profit margin was tight. Deadlines were sacrosanct and people were—well, kind of jolly.

—I loved creating things that mattered and were high impact whether is was curriculum or a large international leadership retreat. I liked to add a little surprise and fun to all of it.

—I liked being challenged and introducing a new discipline to a company that had never heard of organizational development and called it “unproductive time” in its budgeting process.

—I liked the urgency and action of the culture. It may have had peak moments during acquisitions or new ventures but the “push” was always present

—I liked my teams. We did darn good, bold work together. Of course we gossiped about one another and had some rough relationships but we pulled it together to do very high level work together.

—I loved to sense an idea based on organizational need and make it real and highlighted and then to sell it and groom it and massage it into being something new whether it was same sex benefits or a leadership college.

—I loved strategy and business discussions and was glad to be a part of them. I enjoyed being part of big decisions about whether to sell a business or let a top executive go. It was interesting and nuanced and, in the end, highly intuitive.

—I loved seeing people placed in the right role and begin to flourish. I liked seeing potential and helping it grow. I loved raw talent to see what it could do.

—I liked intervening when needed to double check on fairness and legality of decisions and to make sure of a good safe place to work with immediate remedy when needed. I laugh (good thing) to think of the sexual harassment training that was done thirty years ago. Skits!! But the training got done and the message got out there long before it was legitimate in the world at large.

—I liked the leaders I worked with. The CEO’s I worked with were very different in their skill and talent. All had their flaws. Some were great. Some were not cut out for the role. I liked them all as people. How to put this? There were no —– jerks. I (You do know what I wanted to say, right?”

—I liked that my talent was seen even though my style might have been slightly maverick. I had new challenges and new direct reports and promotions that meant I did not get bored and did not feel overlooked. I might have been. Some people thought I was. Probably, my pay was a little off. But my pay and development were good enough to keep me and I did look around periodically.

—I liked being loyal to one company, to know its history and its major moments. I liked the goofy gear and enthusiasm. It was not dumb to be loyal at the time I was in the company and I want to see every company earn loyalty by being exceptional.

—I liked making work matter to people. It should. Love and work are primary motivators in a life. I liked creating policy and conditions that made work good. I liked solving problems and knocking down barriers that got in the way of every job being important.

—And oh I love the stories of all we did, all the hysterically funny mistakes, all the moments of grand achievement and all the personal stories of the ups and downs of life that we shared in the cafeteria and restrooms. I loved the community of my work.

I wish good work and good jobs  for people. It’s as simple as that.


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