There are nights that we finish up work at the theatre early and we head out to some local place to hang out with the crew. Sometimes we head over to The Pie, which is a great pizza place right around the corner where they serve heart-attack-on-a-plate (basically more cheese than you have ever seen even on an extra cheese pizza). Sometimes The Bayou, which is a great bar with the longest beer list in the state: Beervana! And when we have the young-uns but still want a drink we often hit up Squatters, a local brewery and restaurant.
So, why do I tell you this? It all has to do with a keeping up morale. My personal philosophy has always been that you should be happy doing whatever it is that you do. It has always seemed so strange to me that people go off into the world and take jobs or positions that they don’t really enjoy. It seems even stranger the people who go through all of their schooling studying things that don’t really make them happy or excited. I know that not everyone does this, but it seems to me that a lot of people do.
In my line of work, theatre, there are very few of us that are doing this for the money. Most of us are in this business because we love doing it. I think the same goes for most people who work in fields like education as well. We find the jobs exciting and rewarding, and even on the long and hard days that we don’t feel motivated to do anything, we still do it. There are definitely days that I would rather be at work than sitting at home, even if there isn’t much to do.
There are a few things that I tell all the people who I hire to work for me. Most of these people are college age and recent post college age. First of all, I tell them what I just stated: “If you are not having fun doing what you are doing (whatever that may be) then you are doing the wrong thing.” I want to see people here who want to be here and enjoy the work that we do. it makes people much more productive when they are excited about coming to work. So, I try to make sure that I always provide an atmosphere that encourages that kind of excitement.
Second, I tell them that if they are not having fun while we are working, let me know. I realize that we can’t be chipper and happy all the time, 24/7/365. It is just impossible. Everyone has off days, people get tired and start to burn out and get snappy. However, I do my best to make sure that we don’t get too far down that road, and I hope that my crewtons will let me know when we do. Whenever we drift that way I can feel our efficiency slip and many times we will get to a point where we are better off calling it a day and coming back later to finish things up (unless we need to meet a deadline).
So, how do I keep my people happy. Well, I try to really establish a family atmosphere. We get to the point over a season where we know how everyone works and we work very well together. If people get edgy we figure out how to work with it. Sometimes people just need a break. However one of the most effective things to keep people happy is good and drink. So, we go out and enjoy when we can. I try to go out with my crews and have some fun at least once every show. It is usually pretty effective. I am also hoping to be able to organize a group paintball game after we open the last show. All things that help us bond and gel and keep everyone happy.
Be happy about what you do, enjoy work or school. If you are not enjoying what you are doing, do something different. Try a new sport or a different class or even a whole different job!
What do you do to keep your job or school exciting?