You’ve done it.
So have I.
We’ve told ourselves that when we get the next job, then things will be perfect. Because we are humans (and not bees), we have a tendency to pine for a perfect tomorrow instead of live in the messy opportunities of the moment.
But (unlike humans), bees don’t fuss too much about tomorrow. Every day they leave the hive could be a point of no return. They don’t live for their own happiness. They live for the happy functioning of the hive.
Before you roll your eyes and buzz off to the next post (sorry, couldn’t resist that!): allow me to outline what I am not saying. I’m not saying that one’s enjoyment of one’s work is not important. I’m also not saying that we should sacrifice our unique identities for the sake of a nebulous group.
What I am saying is that there is a lot to be learnt from the humble worker bee.
I’ve been working in various environments for long enough to know that there is no “perfect job”. Like there is no “perfect employee.” But each and every job – yes even the yukky ones – offer perfect-for-you learning opportunities.
Over the years, I have acquired a range of skills that primarily developed from the daily grind. These days, I can pull together a publication with barely the bat of an eyelid; I can happily meet a new investor and wax lyrical about the organisation that I am passionately committed to; I can… handle any number of things that would be too boring to list in this post.
When I attended two lively and inspirational presentations by social entrepreneur John Kobara, he eloquently wrapped in words what my heart had been learning all these years: that every job is like a degree. You are given the opportunity to learn, grow and develop in a highly focused area and when you leave, you “graduate” with that knowledge.
Long after you’ve spent the farewell gift voucher and the promises to stay in touch with colleagues have faded, the working knowledge you gained at XYZ organisation remains active. That is precious. It’s what gives us the confidence to apply for a new position because we know that we can rise to new levels of excellence.
We worry about the money and the perks and whether we will be able to work with our direct line manager; when instead we should be getting excited about embracing the ways we will be able to grow. We also fail to factor in the value of learning how not to do things.
If we see ourselves as problem-solvers, we will automatically improve systems and processes. If we focus on what we can give to our work, we will ultimately gain more than we expected.
So next time you feel frazzled, remember the worker bee. It’s a little reminder from Mother Nature that doing a job well is a reward in itself. You are gaining things that you will never lose: skills, techniques and invaluable experience.
When we learn how to make things work better, we become better at our work.