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Posted on Aug 30, 2017

Finding Joy In Your Work

Finding Joy In Your Work

Over the past 80 years, the perception of work has shifted with each generation. Today it is possible for 5 different generations to be working in the same place at the same time, each with a different view about their work.

  • Traditionalists or Silent Generation (born prior to 1946) want to feel needed; are loyal to employers; and measure work ethic on timeliness, productivity, and not drawing attention.
  • Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) believe rules should be obeyed unless they conflict with their own desires; expect loyalty from those they work with; and measure work ethic by the number of hours worked.
  • Generation X (born between 1965 and 1977) prefer a casual, friendly work environment; value flexibility, freedom, and control of their own time; and believe in working smarter, not harder.
  • Millennials or Generation Y (born between 1978 – 1995) want to feel personal fulfillment; want open, constant communication and positive reinforcement from their boss; and work to live, rather than live to work.
  • Generation Z (born after 1995) are collaborative and creative and yet not very team-oriented, process information at lightning speed; and are self-directed.

Now consider how each generation views Labor Day (in America), the first Monday in September, which was dedicated as a national holiday in 1894 to celebrate the contributions and achievements of American workers. The origins of this sprang from the labor union movement, specifically the 8-hour day movement, which advocated 8 hours for work, 8 hours for recreation, and 8 hours for rest.

While the need to work may still exist, how it is perceived has clearly changed. And yet regardless of the number of hours one works, members of every generation desire to find joy in their work.

This reminds me of a great quote by Henry Ford, that I highlighted in a Values Quote a few years ago. Everyone enjoys contributing to the fulfillment of a greater purpose.

May you find joy in your work!


Today’s quote is from Henry Ford, the well-known founder of the Ford Motor Company and credited with the development of the assembly line technique of mass production.

One of Ford’s famous quotes was:

“There is joy in work. There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something.”

Ford knew the value of work, intimately.

As a differentiating value, Work means exerting mental or physical effort for a purpose. It also means having an effect or outcome. Therefore, work that is valued must serve a purpose and have an identifiable outcome.

For Henry Ford, it didn’t matter if he was building cars, experimenting with innovative ideas to lower production costs, or creating new ways to promote and distribute his products. He derived joy from work because he could see his accomplishments.

Do you enjoy your work?

Maybe a better question is: can you see results that contribute to the fulfillment of a greater purpose?

That might include seeing that your family is cared for on a daily basis. That might mean helping others in the fulfillment of their purpose. Or it might even mean making a significant impact on the lives of others, as Ford did.

Since most of us are engaged in some type of work, I encourage you to find the joy in work by looking for the purpose or outcome you wish to experience.