Over thirty years ago, I heard Paul Harvey say, "The way to get rich in America is to find something that you love doing so much that you'd do it for free, and money will never be a problem for you."

Are you in the right job?

I used to think there wasn't a right job for me. At the time, I was working as a salesman for a large air conditioning and heating firm. I was doing all right, but I wasn't happy. I'd gone to a few job interviews, but nothing had panned out, which was just as well because I couldn't find anything I wanted to do anyway.

Fortunately, a 20-minute Sunday sermon changed my outlook on work and, consequently, my life. The preacher said that most of the people who come to him for counseling because they don't like the way their lives are going can't tell him what they want anyway. He stated that if they'd been handed a gift certificate from the "supermarket of life," and could have anything they wanted out of life, they wouldn't know what to buy with it.

My mind wandered as I wondered what job I would choose if I could have any job I wanted.

The Perfect Job

I asked myself, "What qualities do I want in a job?" and some things immediately came to mind.

I would like to be treated with respect. I would like to have a little dignity. I would like responsibility; I want to be able to think for myself. I would like to help others.

Ideally, a job should offer:

  • A challenge.

  • A creative outlet.

  • Appreciation.

  • Decent hours.

  • Fair treatment.

  • Security.

  • Camaraderie.

  • Financial rewards.

    Thinking about this list led me to a new series of questions:

    Since these are the qualities that you want in your job, have you been actively seeking these qualities in the job you have? If I were enjoying these qualities in my job, would it really make any difference what I was doing? Can you enjoy all these qualities in the job you now have if you set that as your goal? Would I be smart to write these things down and look at them every day?

    I realized I didn't need a different job. I needed a different thought process.

    Unlocking The Door

    I travel the country, running calls with my fellow service techs for a living. Needless to say, I work with a lot of people who hate their jobs. They hate the boss, they hate the heat, they hate the cold, they hate the work, they hate the paperwork, they hate their wives, they hate their lives, they hate their dogs, and they hate me.

    I'm supposed to work with them on sales, but since hateful, miserable employees rarely sell anything, I often work on their heads first. I start by asking them, "What do you want out of a job?"

    After we develop a list like the one above, I then suggest, "Tell you what, on the next call, let's forget about the boss, let's forget about the dispatcher, let's forget about sales. Let's just do something where we can ..." - then we list all the things we want out of our careers.

    It works. The next thing you know, they stop feeling like their jobs and their lives are out of control and start doing the "right" thing on the job - which covers everything from doing a complete inspection to making recommendations on every call to doing neater, more complete paperwork.

    I have a theory that everyone already knows how to do their job better than they're already doing it. The key is unlocking that door.

    Stop looking at your job as "work" or "hard labor." Share this thought process with your employees and, not only will their outlook improve, so will their work.

    Guest columnist Charlie Greer is the creator of "Tec Daddy's Service Technician Survival School on DVD" and can be reached at 800-963-4822 or charlie@hvacprofitboosters.com.

    Publication date: 07/19/2004