When you were 10, you probably thought being an adult would be tons of fun and that you’d have unlimited freedom. Now that you are one, you understand that being an adult means, among other, going to work. Many of us are left wondering where and when we are supposed to find the fun?
Most companies have a multitude of ways for employees to get involved in the business beyond the nuts and bolts of the day job. There is usually something for everyone: sports teams, book groups, wine tastings, and dinner clubs are just a few of the activities available at many companies.
The advantage of these kinds of social activities is that you get to meet people outside of your team, at different points in their career. Suddenly you realize that Jenny in IT has a wicked left foot and Amir in HR knows more about French cuisine than most folks ever learn in a lifetime.
And the partner that you thought was giving you evils on the elevator every morning? Turns out he’s just worn out from wading through War and Peace – he’s actually quite a funny guy once he’s got a book in one hand a glass of pinot grigio in the other.
After a few weeks you realize that not only are you working with good colleagues, a lot of them have become great friends, too.
Can’t find a group or activity you want to join? Why not start something up? You can’t be the only person in the company with a passion for bird watching or foreign films. Put it in the monthly eBulletin or see about posting on the internal website. You will never know unless you give it a go.
Most corporations take Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) very seriously – contracts are won and lost by how well businesses give back to their communities and serve the disadvantaged. Take advantage of this imperative!
If you don’t know where to start, find out what your company is doing to boost it’s CSR. Many businesses will have several opportunities, from cleaning up a public park to tutoring in local schools.
You may already be involved in volunteering. Use this as a launch pad to get your colleagues involved, too. Are you helping to build an orphanage in Africa? Get a team from work and do an adventure challenge together and quadruple the funds you raise. Not only will you build that orphanage but you will build better working relationships, too.
Even better is when your volunteering helps you improve your work performance. Lawyers who volunteer at a free legal advice clinic, or accountants that act as a trustee for a charity not only give back to the community, they also boost their company profile.
DON’T BE SHY
In most cases, companies want to know about your out of work activities, especially when they support one of their business goals. On most performance evaluations there is space for you to include your social and philanthropic activities.
Is there ever a time when you shouldn’t share your out-of-work experiences? Most employers have some requirement that you do not bring the company into disrepute. Make sure that whatever you do, it’s something you and your company will be proud of.
Being a grown up may not have all of the freedom you thought you’d get when you were 10, but it doesn’t have to be a grind, either. With the right attitude and a little creativity, anyone can make work more rewarding.
Let us know about your ideas on this topic? How do you go about it?