Not All Jobs Can Be Fun

Some employees face a hard slog in work that isn't--and will never be--fun.

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Michael Wade
I was once mildly chastised by another consultant for implying that work is not necessarily fun. He noted that all work is--or should be--fun.

Call me a pessimist, but I don’t buy that for all jobs. Some jobs are downright unpleasant. Any attempt to put a happy face on them only adds to the unpleasantness.

Some “all work is fun” advocates may argue that the job itself is not the problem. The difficulty lies in the way it is structured or staffed. If only the coworkers, supervision or responsibilities were changed, the workplace and specific positions would be much more enjoyable.

I will grant that--although, the optimists often keep adding so many alterations that eventually they leave the realm of reality and the job becomes, well, another job entirely.

Is it possible to concede that just as certain jobs are inherently stressful, some jobs don’t even approach what most of us would call fun? Let it be a given that management should do its best to make the work place more pleasant and should reduce hassles so employees are not burdened with unnecessary stress. Let’s ensure that management itself is not part of the problem. Those can be tangible and measurable actions, not just happy talk.

But to pretend that the employees in some jobs are not facing a hard slog? That’s far from realistic and certainly not fun.

Michael Wade writes, an eclectic combination of management advice, observations, and links. A partner with the Phoenix firm of Sanders Wade Rodarte Consulting Inc., he has advised private and public-sector organizations for more than 30 years.