Do You Prefer Having Fun at Work or Working at Work? Part II


This is Part II of a blog based on New York Times’ Op-Ed Contributor Oliver Burkeman’s article, “Who Goes to Work to Have Fun?” 12-11-2013. How Enneagram types fit into fun at work – or not—are my own additions. Burkeman wrote, “Psychologists have shown that positive-thinking affirmations make people with low self-esteem feel worse; that patients with panic disorders can become more anxious when they try to relax; and that an ability to experience negative emotions, rather than struggling to exclude them, is crucial for mental health.”

            One reader commented: “Last year, in a conversation with the young adult son of a friend, I asked him if he would like it if his generation just stopped with the ‘awesome!’ for a little while and was             able to express real feelings. He looked at me like he wanted to cry and nodded his head yes. As I see that generation with its forced cheerfulness I wonder if they know how inauthentic they’re             

            being with themselves.” – Lute, Broooklyn

The Burkeman article continues, “And these are just the hazards of trying to enforce happiness on oneself: Matters are surely more fraught when the person doing the enforcing is a manager with possible ulterior motives, such as discouraging too much focus on low wages or inherently unfulfilling work.”

These companies force you to go to happy hours and then use your “friendship” against you when “asking” you for things later on. When I was an employee, I knew very well what made me happy. Doing a good job, producing a quality product, receiving a fair day’s wages for a fair day’s work, going home each night believing I’d done something of value during the day and that both the customers for my efforts and my peers and supervisors recognized the value I added; earning my living and the respect of people whose own work I valued. What did not make me happy included pizza parties,      Employee of the Month and similar contests… – ACW New Jersey

The Eneagram types most likely to be managers are the 3-Achiever and the 8-Asserter. Of course, these types may or may not be ethical.

“Instead of striving to make work fun,” Burkeman said, managers should concentrate on creating the conditions in which a variety of personality types, from the excitable to the naturally downbeat, can flourish. That means giving employees as much autonomy as possible, and ensuring that people are treated evenhandedly.” The Enneagram 4-Romantic, a sensitive type, would especially appreciate this. “According to a recent Danish study, lack of fairness at work is a strong predictor of depression, and even heavy workloads don’t bring people down, provided their bosses are fair. 

       

            Another comment from a reader: “If a fungineer shows up at the water cooler at my job it will be very difficult to treat them with respect… If corporate thinks they can ramrod happiness down our             gullets with trite mantras they ignore at their peril our basic intelligence in favor of another device aimed at boosting quarterly productivity. A poorly dressed Trojan horse indeed; invading our emotional privacy under the guise of caring about employees feelings.” – Morgan S, Atlanta, GA

            And: “I suspect a lot of this “Fungineering” movement is aimed at Millennials who are extending adolescence to hitherto unrealized horizons. Work should be engaging, rewarding, fulfilling and             pay the rent. If it’s not that, a foosball tournament with microbrews won’t keep employees.” – NYC

Article: “Not that you’d necessarily want an office full of optimists” (3-Achievers, 7-Adventurers, and 9-Peace Seekers), “even if that were achievable. People who are oriented toward ‘defensive pessimism’ play a valuable role, preparing organizations for worst-case scenarios.” These would mainly be 6-Questioners in the Enneagram, who look out for safety.

“And if your business card describes you as Head of Fungineering, or Chief Cheerfulness Ninja, or Vice President of Wow, please skip the next company paintballing weekend, and use the time to ask yourself a few tough questions instead.”

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WorkorFun01

 

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Do You Prefer Having Fun at Work or Working at Work? Part I


WorkorFun01“Despite the sobering economic shocks of recent years,” Oliver Burkeman wrote, ”the Fun at Work movement seems irrepressible. Major companies boast of employing Chief Fun Officers or Happiness Engineers; corporations call upon a burgeoning industry of happiness consultants, who’ll construct a Gross Happiness Index for your workplace, then advise you on ways to boost it… Self-help bloggers offer tips for generating cheer among the cubicles (‘Buy donuts for everyone’; ‘Hang movie posters on your walls, with employees’ faces replacing those of the real movie stars’)… Enjoyable jobs are surely preferable to boring or unpleasant ones; moreover, studies suggest that happy employees are more productive ones. But it doesn’t follow that the path to this desirable state of affairs is through deliberate efforts, on the part of managers, to try to generate fun. Indeed, there’s evidence that this approach—which has been labeled, suitably appallingly, ‘fungineering’—might have precisely the opposite effect, making people miserable and thus reaffirming one of the oldest observations about happiness: When you try too hard to obtain it, you’re almost guaranteed to fail.”

A comment on the Burkeman article: “The management at our facility a few years back established a ‘No Frown Zone’ for our data entry department. I guess they thought we were too serious trying to type and retain our jobs by not falling into the bottom 20 percent of performers and subject to removal. So smiley faced posters went up. Casual dress days are viewed as a perk too. But not sure if that helps make up for the atmosphere of 400 people in cubicles on the floor overseen by an unblinking computer measuring everything.” – Pragmatic, USA.

 

This blog is based on New York Times’ Op-Ed Contributor Oliver Burkeman’s article, “Who Goes to Work to Have Fun?” 12-11-2013. How Enneagram personality types fit into fun at work – or not—are my own additions. 7-Adventurers are typically the most fun-loving of the 9 personality types. Bosses who are 7s, 2-Helpers, who want everyone to get along, or 9-Peace Seekers might be most attracted to adding fun activities. 

The Times article continues: “A study by management experts at Penn State and other universities, published last month, found that while ‘fun’ activities imposed by bosses might slow employee turnover, they can damage overall productivity. Another concluded that the fashionable tactic of “gamification”—turning work tasks into games, with scores and prizes—reduced the productivity and job satisfaction of those workers who didn’t approve the notion.” As a 5-Observer, I’d be one of these employees. I like to get into my work. Party atmospheres make me feel uncomfortable. 1-Perfectionists could also be annoyed when their work is interrupted by fun and games.

 

“Worse still, the pressure to maintain a cheery facade in such workplaces can be stressful and exhausting in itself, a form of what the sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild called ‘emotional labor.’ In a 2011 study of workers at an Australian call center, where bosses championed the focus, fun and fulfillment, researchers found many experienced the party atmosphere as a burden, not a boon…” I would for sure.

 

 To be continued 12-31-13.

Visit http://wagele.com to check out my books, CD, cartoons, essays, music, and Famous Enneagram Types.

See “The Career Within You – How to Find the Perfect Job for Your Personality” using the Enneagram. 

Religion an Issue Between Dogmatic Dad and Searching Son


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This is a story from my book, The Enneagram of Death. Tom’s father is a skeptical and mistrustful 6-Questioner personality type and is motivated to protect himself. He trusts his church and the afterlife but he’s pretty grumpy about life on earth. He’s Tom, however, is a 9-Peace Seeker who looks for commonality among people and is seeking the truth.

 

Death Will Be Graduation Day

 

 

 

By Tom Purcell.

 

 

 

             My father died a month before his 94th birthday. He was a social subtype Questioner through and through. He often complained about “the powers that be,” yet enjoyed socializing with them; he was instrumental in the campaigns to re-elect our local Member of Parliament, yet refused to run for office himself; he was friendly with everyone he met, especially the underdogs of society. Yet he often said he was unable to trust anyone.

 

            My loving father maintained his intellectual faculties until the last few months. During his last ten years, following a few minor surgeries, he experienced brief periods of memory impairment, but bounced back quickly. The official cause of death was old age.

 

He was a devout Roman Catholic with an unshakeable belief that he was going to heaven. His concept of heaven wasn’t elaborate, but he did expect to see predeceased friends and family members there when he arrived. He never disclosed to me what they were, but in his later years he expressed regret about mistakes he had made in his life.

 

            Overall, he was accepting of his fate. He didn’t believe the world was such a great place with all the moral corruption, poverty, wars, and suffering. Life on earth was a test of faith, and death was graduation day.

 

In light of the current health consciousness and the focus on physical well-being, I found it interesting that my father ate red meat daily, drank alcohol, smoked, never exercised, carried at least 70 extra pounds, was always worried about something, had high blood pressure and cholesterol, and was never particularly happy or relaxed. However, he was proud of the fact that he never ever missed Sunday Mass. Perhaps he was onto something.

 

            A major theme of his stories was a mistrust of authority figures and an inability to express emotion. He felt powerless to change any aspect of the world. As a skeptic, he believed politicians were skillful liars and the news media were the mouthpieces of rich and powerful interests, but he was loyal to his wife, his family, his employers, his religious faith and his political views.

 

He was afraid of losing his job, although he held the same position for over 23 years, and he often expressed suspicion of other managers at his workplace. His co-workers wouldn’t listen to him when he said their employer was headed for bankruptcy, but his fear of being out of work inspired him to seek out another job. Three months later he found out his former employer had indeed gone out of business. My father had landed a much better position, even though he was already in his mid-fifties. He attributed his success to prayer and God’s work—never giving himself credit for his own virtues. I wished he’d take pride in his reputation for scrupulous honesty and loyalty to his employer.          

 

 

I questioned his blind faith in a belief system that had evolved through many centuries. In its highest expression, through the example of the loving kindness of Christ, it commands its followers to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” My father, however, divided the world into members of his club and nonmembers. It bothered me deeply as a young man when he spoke negatively about people who did not agree with his beliefs. I became even more frustrated when he refused to discuss religiously based beliefs at all. Now, however, I can understand my youthful desire to seek the essential truth in all religions as rather threatening to my dogmatic father.

 

            When I was a teenager, I would try to engage him in theological debates about other religious traditions, but he would dismiss anything that didn’t conform to his own narrow and rigid interpretation of official Catholic dogma. Later in his life, he softened somewhat and relaxed his rigid views when he acknowledged, “good people of all faiths go to heaven.”

 

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field. I will meet you there ~ Rumi

 

 

 

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