A cartoonist, a magician, and a dolphin trainer walk into a bar…
Certain job titles seem to ooze fun. But I have a hard time imagining very many jobs that can’t be made fun with just a little bit of effort.
Kim and I are in California this week for a series of speaking engagements. We were able to spend Monday and Tuesday out and about in the San Francisco area before hunkering down and getting some work done in our hotel room today. We saw many examples of people who had fairly ordinary (and even mundane) jobs, but who interjected a level of fun into their work.
We bought an all-day pass for the cable cars, giving us many opportunities to witness quite a few different operators. First of all, as romantic as it may sound to be a cable car operator in San Francisco, it’s a pretty monotonous job. You’re collecting fares, handling the grips, traversing the same route back and forth, all day long. But one guy really stood out. He offered some interesting trivia, witty banter, and patiently paused at various interval so tourists could get the perfect picture of the Golden Gate Bridge or Lombard Street. His cheerfulness added to the experience for everyone aboard, and I’m sure it made the time fly by for him.
While strolling Fisherman’s Wharf, we spotted a bakery that specialized in sourdough bread. It also specialized in fun. Besides offering free smells, it also offered free views of the bread making. One guy was making some very unique loaves of bread. He sculpted turtles, alligators, and crabs out of the dough. A crowd of people had gathered to watch the culinary art show. It was hard to tell who was having more fun: the bystanders or the baker.
The main ingredient used by the baker and the cable car operator was fun.
So why bother? What difference does it make if you have fun while you work? Well, it makes for a more productive workplace (people aren’t so lethargic), keeps us healthier (75% off all our doctor visits are stress related), helps minimize employee turnover (they’re enjoying themselves too much to look for a new job on Monster.com), and can even add to the bottom line (wanna bet animal bread guy sells more bread at higher prices than regular loaf bread guy? I am reading a book about the great promoter, P.T. Barnum. One of the things he knew quite well was that the one thing people would spend their last nickel on, even during a period of time as tough as the Great Depression, was…fun.
Whether you spend your days in a wet suit in Orlando or in a dry suit on Wall Street, I challenge you to try and interject a little childlike fun into your workday. If incorporating some fun into your day job is something you already do, please share some of your techniques!
[tags]San Francisco, fun, fun jobs, P.T. Barnum, cable cars, sourdough bread, Fisherman’s Wharf[/tags]