Early yesterday the first draft of this blog post read a little differently. But later in the day I was on my way to the store to pick up some ice melter and I happened upon a talk radio interview with Dan Buettner, the adventurer and author of Thrive: Finding Happiness The Blue Zones Way. I sat in the parking lot listening for a few minutes as he listed some of the findings he shares in the book. What makes people happy? I wasn’t taking notes, but a few points stood out for me. Positive people are contagious. Hanging out with happy people means you’re more likely to be happy. It seemed obvious, I suppose. But it was still a good reminder. He also said that the happiest people are people that socialize more than 7 hours a day. Normally my introverted self would scoff at such nonsense. But he went on to say that the number one thing that ensures that people are happy at work isn’t whether or not they like what they do or get paid well. Instead, the thing that makes going to work the most enjoyable is having a friend at work; someone to laugh with, process with, kvetch with. Seven hours of socializing seems like a lot. Who has time for that much of a social life? Then it dawned on me. I do.
I am lucky. Every day I get up and go to work at a place that I love with people I really truly respect, appreciate and admire. I work with clients that challenge me, inspire me, keep me thinking. I really do learn something new every single day. We laugh and learn and argue and explore and meet and talk and work and push each other. We struggle and fail and fall and get back up and we try to celebrate every single victory. We tell each other the tough stuff. And we cheer when a cohort shines. We’re social. We’re social for 7, 8, 10 hours a day. We don’t turn it off when we log off or go home. We’re friends. Some of us are closer than others. We aren’t all constantly together. Maybe we aren’t all confidantes to one another. But Clockwork is a friendly place, and it starts with how we feel about each other. And it makes our work better.
I read somewhere that gratitude left unspoken doesn’t really do anyone any good. I think that’s why we celebrate Thanksgiving. The holiday itself is rooted in some controversy. But there’s no denying that we need, and should welcome, a reason to sit still every year and just be thankful. Being thankful plays a role in happiness. Recognizing the good things, regardless of how small they may be, illuminates the positive and that is happy-making. So, it stands to reason – every time we have lunch together, or tweet a small success, or raise a glass to a new website, or share in some new tech adventure – we are actually generating more positive energy. When I think about it I am sort of overwhelmed with gratitude and the cycle of behavior we perpetuate without even knowing it. Who says work culture can’t contribute to happiness?
Today, and every day, I am thankful for our clients – those people who trust us with their business and their ideas. They are the reason we have the privilege of doing what we do. And I am thankful for my coworkers. They are my friends.