I had one of those “I love my job” moments the other day at a cardio class. Not as an instructor, but as a consultant (and class member). I was there to observe the experience of the class for a customer engagement project and to interview some participants afterwards. It was the first moment I realized, while doing my high knees and grapevine, that this was my job. And I loved it.
I’ve been reflecting on the work culture here at West Monroe recently after seeing the Disney movie “Moana,” which was preluded by a cartoon short called “Inner Workings.” In short (ha), we meet a character who lives a seemingly boring life and works in a corporate office. His heart is tempted to do all these “fun” things like go to the beach, flirt with a girl, and have a delicious breakfast, but his brain is telling his body that he’s obligated to go to work. Work in this example is represented as a room of identically-dressed people, pressing the same button on a machine, eating the same paper bag lunch.
At first I was disappointed with this sentiment. I get somewhat defensive when corporate culture or any generic “firm” environment is presented as dull in movies. I don’t believe working at an office equates to working in a boring, repetitive, unchallenging environment. So I predicted what I thought was the ending of the short: the main character breaks free of his mundane office life and sets out to do the activities his heart truly desires. The message would be: avoid an office job; office jobs don’t allow you to live the way you want.
SPOLIER: Here’s how the short ends (which I found pleasantly surprising): This miserable fellow ends up leaving for a lunch break; during which, he goes to the beach, flirts with a girl, and then goes back to the office. When he’s back, he has a new aura of positivity and jams out at his desk by pressing different keys on his computer until the rest of the office joins him. There’s even some disco lights and groovy tunes.
The message I interpreted? That work is what you make it. By balancing what you want to do outside of work, bringing positivity back into your workplace, and being in the right work environment that fits your personality, it is in fact possible to love your office job.
I would agree with this message as I haven’t had a dull moment at West Monroe. West Monroe has introduced me to some of the most creative thinkers I’ve ever crossed paths with, and I constantly feel challenged to think on my feet about the industries I service. In the six months I’ve worked here, I’ve been involved in five different projects in cities I’d never travelled to before. On the first few days of every project, I’ve managed to gain knowledge in topics I originally knew nothing about (transportation logistics, retirement planning, and medical supplies distribution to name a few). Yet, when handling a difficult task, I am surrounded by supportive coworkers who are willing to guide me if I ask for help.
If I were to advise others on finding happiness at the office, it would be similar to what was depicted in the short: spend time outside of work doing the activities you can’t do at work (i.e. beach time), but also incorporate what you love into your daily work routine —even something as simple as sharing music with your coworkers or trying a new restaurant for lunch. It may sound obvious, but it’s easy to deprioritize the little things that increase our mood (and yes for me that is food and music). And most importantly, find your fit! I’ve made sure the days I am travelling for work and the days I am working at the office, I learn something new and have fun. This is the right environment for me.
Thank you West Monroe. In all the corny Disney ways, you really do make my work life feel like a dance party. Or a cardio class.