Monday, February 4, 2008

MVCC's Changing Workplace

Building on the notion of changes in the workplace, I want to focus this post on our own changing workplace at MVCC. We recently had the good fortune to have Mr. Frank Pastizzo from Warm Up the Workplace, Inc. (http://www.warmuptheworkplace.com/) visit our campus and share his own inspiring and humorous insights on the world of work. One line that stuck with me during his two-hour presentation to faculty and staff was when he said, "They say misery loves company...well, so does joy." I hope to have that notion of joy pervade our workplace in the coming years. It will take time and commitment on everyone's part to make it happen.

Frank Pastizzo reminded us that we spend more of our waking hours at work than we do with our families, so why not make the most of it. His jokes, stories, and music seemed to put many things in perspective for us. In the weeks since, I've had many faculty and staff send me notes and emails about how they went in to Frank's presentation a little skeptical and came out feeling energized and inspired to be part of what's going on at MVCC. Frank Pastizzo publishes a free online newsletter that you can subscribe to from his website. One of his recent newsletters really captures the essence for me. With his permission, I have included an excerpt here:

"(We all have) worries about children and grandchildren and bills and college and home maintenance and family health concerns and pet ailments and births and funerals and school issues and problems with the car...All of us seek stability in these areas, and everyone coming through the door at work is dealing with these same issues. Some have friends at work who are good listeners and who take some time to help them with their difficulties so they can re-stabilize. Some use good, hard work as their escape. Some find ways to revitalize themselves through intense concentration and study. Some plunge into physical activity.

Whether it's a school, factory, office, health center, or farm, when people get together to do work, we quickly find ways to minimize our personal screens and work on the professional tasks at hand. It increases the structure in our lives. It results in community production and community accomplishments. It can temporarily take us out of our own complications or instabilities, refocus the strongest parts of us, and give us valuable time and perspective from a group-energized place of order. Ideally, we incorporate our group's positive momentums into our personal circles. We come up with new plans and resolutions and bring more considerate, decisive, and positive energies back to our home lives.

Understanding that work can have this revitalizing effect, it is hugely important that we each strive to create and protect our workplaces so that they contain and preserve these kinds of rejuvenating energies. We all need to remain respectful of this group space and its far-reaching functions and its place in the community continuum. If we cannot create in our work culture the energies where each of us can really do our work at our best, then we should be perhaps looking harder to find somewhere in our lives where we can. Going to work and communing with others requires all of us to honor the environment and to be at our brightest and our best. When we do it well, we bring home the same for ourselves and send home the same with others. Thus, going to work is an incredibly important part of an energizing cycle in life. It's where many perform at their most constant, which helps all of us."

That is a powerful message. The power however is quickly lost when people fail to internalize the message and leave it externalized - thinking the message is for someone else. I have indeed heard some people say that they were so glad to hear Frank speak because their co-workers could really benefit from his message. Creating a positive and engaging workplace doesn't just happen and it doesn't happen overnight - It takes time. The message is for each of us to reflect on and think about how we live that message every day, one interaction at a time. We all can view work differently, how does this all work for you? Let me know at presblog@mvcc.edu.