By Barry Maher
A fairly successful individual named Warren Buffett once remarked that he worried about people who claimed they were going to work at a job they disliked for a number of years before doing what they really wanted to do. “That’s like saving sex for your old age,” Buffet said. “Not a very good idea.”
What I want you to understand is that business is like sex. If you’re not having fun you’re not doing it right. The converse is also true: if you’re not doing it right you’re probably not having any fun.
Here’s my business dictum: “He or she who has the most fun, wins.” Tattoo that on your arm. Business is like sex. It’s not supposed to be painful
It’s been said that virtue is its own reward. Perhaps. Enjoyment certainly is. But it can also be good business, and good management. You’re in business for the long haul. If you can make the journey even more enjoyable than the destination–for yourself and your people–you’re going to have a better trip. The more odious the journey, the more difficult it’s going to be for the destination to be wonderful enough to make the trip worth the effort. The more likely you and everyone with you are to be disappointed once the goal is finally reached.
Business is like sex. And sex is the most existential thing in the entire universe: getting there is ALL the fun.
Enjoy. Have fun. I know this is work we’re talking about here and they don’t pay you all that money because it’s easy. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. The business gurus of Zimbabwe used to say, “If you can walk, you can dance. If you can talk, you can sing.”
Dance. Sing. Maybe your work will dance and sing as well.
Sure you’re anxious to reach your long-term goals. But if you can’t appreciate what you already have, what makes you think you’ll appreciate whatever it is you’re working so hard to get? Don’t put off sex until your old age.
Work at making your job enjoyable. Imagine how great your life would be if you got as much enjoyment from your job as you do from your favorite hobby. Imagine what your people could accomplish if you could help them have that type of enjoyment, if you could give them as much motivation for the job as they have for their greatest passions in life.
Can you do that? Probably not. This isn’t Oz, this is the planet Earth. How much fun can anyone have stripping the hair and fat from dead hogs? But the closer you move in that direction–even if it’s only a step or two–the greater the benefits for you, your people and your company.
If you’re in management and trying to make the job fun for your people, watch out for simply foisting your own concept of fun on them. One supervisor created dissension by scattering candy dishes around an office where most of the employees were trying to diet. She had Muzak pumped in, and everyone hated the music she selected. Then she decided to fill the office with motivational banners, and insisted that everyone contribute a saying. This, at least, was fun for one person. The last time I was there, his inspiration message still hung proudly by the main entrance: “Walk the elephant and pitch to the giraffe.”
You may not find that inspirational. You may even find it confusing, if you don’t recognize it as the answer to the ancient philosophical question: “What do you do with an elephant with three balls?”
You walk the elephant and pitch to the giraffe. Let that be an inspiration to us all.
If you’re not enjoying your life now, how long are you planning on waiting before you start.