I stumbled onto Rise by pure chance. A notice board at the WeWorks office where I worked mentioned there was a ‘lunch and learn’ meeting about creating meaningful work. It caught my eye.
I’m naturally cynical when anyone tells me I can find meaning in my work. For some reason it sounds like those American motivational speakers who say I could lose weight, gain muscle or buy a new house after 30 minutes of positive thinking and chanting. However, to find out what I need to chant, I must purchase their book which has one idea spread over 300 pages of clichés and stories. And the whole concept of waking out of bed energised seems like a con. When I look around the city at 9am, nobody seems like they really want to be there.
The session given by Rise was more informative than I expected. I learn’t that most people chase pleasure, not purpose. That people who felt being a part of something bigger, drew greater satisfaction from their jobs. This gave me food for thought – I never considered myself being a part of anything.
The next slide highlighted that happiness is dependent on our choices more than our circumstances. So, no matter what job I had – I could choose to make it meaningful or not. This echoed around my mind for a few days later. Perhaps there were some choices that I could make about my own work-life.
While mulling this over, I decided I needed a change of environment. Get out of Sydney and clear my head. The idea that I could make choices about my job, to make it more tolerable – dare I say – enjoyable, struck me as both obvious yet overlooked. So when my boss mentioned in my performance review that the upcoming month was going to be quiet, I said, “Well in that case, why don’t I work remotely this month…..from Madrid……leaving in two days?” Silent pause. He then responded that he couldn’t see any major problems with it.
I went home that day and told my girlfriend I’m heading to Spain for the month, does she want to come with? She politely declined, only because her job would never let her go. Well that’s what I thought one day ago! The following Monday morning I excitedly rushed down the streets of Madrid to get to my first Spanish class. Maybe jumping out of bed in the morning wasn’t a con after all. Rise had given me the shot of adventure in my arm, at a time when I needed it the most. After a few weeks in Spain, I returned home, back to work. The difference being, I now knew that I could make choices to make my work-life more meaningful.
True story written by Andrew Morell.