the blog Synergy

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Commitment to play creates a rich working experience

This article in the Boston Works section of Today's Globe (free registration required) drives home a good point, one we tend to forget but one that we should be reminded of frequently. That is, play is rewarding even at work!

Kristina Mahoney, a former pre-school teacher, shares her experiences as an office manager for a "unique New England company".

Excepts from her article:

Our office building was an old fraternity house, which once belonged to a local university. Each day, the company's technology manager could not resist sliding down the banister, which was the centerpiece of the old frat house. Fortunately, most of his dismounts were successful and painless. Being a former teacher, I wanted to yell out, "No sliding on the banister!" But, I thought, why? Instead, I played the role of Olympic judge and rated each landing. It was fun.


Of course, there were the crank calls to the front desk with the random complaints about miscellaneous items found in our product. I had to treat each call with professionalism and sincerity, even though I knew the callers were sitting two floors above me. Their snickering usually gave them away - the same way it did with the children I use to teach. Instead of giving them a "time out," I laughed.


We also had a "cube-crawl" rather than a pub-crawl. After work, employees went from cubicle to cubicle and sampled drinks. There was a martini lounge in the art department. The guys in the logistics department provided apple pie shots. Upside down margaritas in marketing. Imported wine from accounts payable. It was the most creative fun adults could even imagine.


As an adult, I often assumed we outgrew kindness. I was wrong. Some of us fell in love. Some even got married. Our appreciation of one another was never defined by our job titles.

Unfortunately, the doors to our company eventually closed and we lost our jobs. Not because we goofed around too much, just the opposite. We were so successful that we were purchased. Our owners made millions of dollars.

All of which got me thinking: The very principles nurtured in preschool can be applied to a business and make you very rich, in more ways than one. You can have a very rich life, regardless of whether you are wearing short pants in the sandbox or your favorite shorts to your job at the office. Life is about rich experiences at any age.

So put on your thinking cap! Recall those preschool and kindergarten days of play!

I don't want to grow up! Peter Pan has and always will be my hero.

Yet, life's reality has forced me to accept that I have gotten older, and wiser, and that I have responsibilities for my wife, daughters, and extended family but I still want to play and have fun.

Life without play is no fun!

What about you?


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