Thursday, May 14, 2015

Work is a good thing if framed right

I have to thank Jay Acunzo and his weekly blog “Sorry for Marketing” for the gist of this piece. He makes a point that is quite powerful. Allow me to put some science behind it.

You all know by now that I have a big interest in the powers of priming and framing on the way we think about things.  Each of these can be used to make good into bad or bad into good.  They can be used to increase healthy behaviors or unhealthy ones.  They can increase consumer purchasing or mute it.

Jay’s example is in the way we frame our work. We often joke that “if it were fun, we wouldn’t call it work” but aren’t we doing ourselves a huge disservice?  We are framing our work as something we don’t want to be doing, priming our thoughts to be negative about it, and thereby preventing ourselves from enjoying it.  Intrinsic motivation be damned. 

Here are three of his examples:
  • Hump Day = you get over the middle of the week because, damn, the work week can't be over fast enough.
  • Happy Hour = you're sad all day until you can leave work and booze it up.
  • Case of the Mondays = you feel sick because you're back at work.

And here are some positive ones:
·         I for one really like my job!
·         Happy Another Day You're Alive and That's Friggin' Awesome.

So here is my advice. Instead of framing your job as “working to live,” try to think about the parts you like or frame the aspects that are good for society, good for consumers, or good for you as positives.  Then enjoy them.  No more hump days.  No more Monday blues.  Go to happy hour, but to enjoy your friends’ company, not to forget about work.