Thoughts from 30 Years
This week I celebrated the 30th anniversary of the day I was hired at KSL – February 5, 1990.
Holy crap! How is that possible?
Aside from the “where did the time go?” feelings all people my age have from time to time, I had some thoughts this week that helped me as I looked back, thoughts that were inspired by a wonderful book I just finished entitled Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World, by Marcus Buckingham. I wanted to share them, even if only to have them to refer to later.
The first and most amazing thing is, even after 30 years, I still love my work. I still wake up at 2:00 AM happy to go to work. How is that possible? Let’s start with the fact that I’m not afraid to think about my job in terms of love. I know we are encouraged to use professional words like “engagement” and “commitment,” but they’re just too much corporate-speak to describe how I feel. Employers don’t want someone “engaged” when they could have someone who is doing what they love! When we’re doing what we love, time flies by. We have energy. We’re creative, and we want to get up and do it all again the next day. That’s what love does.
But we can’t love every part of our jobs. I certainly don’t. Over the years, things have come up that have been in-cre-di-bly frustrating, even maddening. The key to loving my work 30 years later is I stopped focusing on them. Marcus Buckingham suggests a wonderful exercise in his book that I think would be good for all of us. Write down on a piece of paper two columns – what I love about my work and what I loathe about my work. Then simply – try to do more of what you love. It would be unrealistic to think your job can be 100% what you love, but even 20% of truly loved activity can make for a joyful life. For me, I don’t love reading news about shootings, political fighting, fighting of any kind. I don’t love the stress produced by trying to get breaking news on as fast as possible. What I DO love is helping people. I love knowing that my voice is soothing to them somehow, that my being there, same woman, same voice, day after day, helps them. I love supporting my coworkers. I love conversations with people where we can explore issues, listen to each other, learn from each other. I love learning and sharing what I learn every single day.
One of the things I learned a long time ago is that a job you love is not the one you were hired to do; it’s the one you make. I’m not sure what my job description said all those years ago or even what it says now, but I doubt it says anything about being there for people to help them feel good, even though that’s how I see it. Over the years, I started speaking to groups who would invite me – groups of all kinds – and being with people in person, sharing thoughts and thanking them for what they do. This is part of what I love. It’s not in my job description but being an ambassador from KSL in this way is part of what I MADE my job. The job I was hired to do never said anything about learning to be a PA announcer for the Utah Starzz or the Red Rocks at the University of Utah. It didn’t say anything about teaching media law at the University of Utah. It didn’t mention writing three books (with a fourth on the way) and performing a fictional podcast. I made those part of my job because I wanted to build a dream job. Dream jobs are not found or applied for. You don’t get your dream job. You build it.
After 30 years of work at KSL, minus my brief time as a lawyer, I am 100% sure that every moment I have spent trying to change someone, even just their mind, has been wasted. No matter how obvious something seems to me, it is an act of arrogance to believe it should be so to anyone else. I have, to the best of my ability, given up on the attempt. Now, there is a loss here, to be sure. The loss of whatever creativity or ideas might have come in the attempt, but what is gained is so worth it. What is gained is the energy of not fighting, spiritually or emotionally, when I could be spending my time focusing on doing what I love! The freedom that I have only recently discovered in letting go of needing to change anything or anyone and focusing solely on doing what I love cannot be overstated. It is life changing. I wish it for all of you much sooner in your careers and in your lives.
I have no idea how much longer I will be on the radio at KSL. They may discover they want something new next year or I may find my spirit cannot thrive in that environment any more, but every day until that day comes, I will spend serving others, being there for them, learning with them, because THAT is what I love to do.