Day 22: Being a Whole Human Being

You have opportunities every day to step beyond your role at work and act like a whole human being, offer a helping hand, learn the skill outside your scope of work, allow yourself to be helped by others. This will make your life more humane and deeply fulfilling.

Sharon Salzberg, "Real Happiness at Work"


This was my intention for the week: Find ways to act like a whole human being, not a job description.

— Nicely asking someone who called on an intense deadline to call back in 20 minutes rather than snapping at him. He doesn't know my schedule.

— Hearing out a long-winded regular caller without getting impatient.

— Doing a task that needed to get done without claiming credit.

— Asking for help from others instead of becoming a steaming pot of snotty resentment.

I appreciated that final phrase — "allow yourself to be helped by others" — since that's a part of being a whole human being I skip over. That also means speaking up when you need/want help (it's OK to help with something that you technically don't need help with) because other people don't necessarily know what's going on in your head.

I confess, I found the last chapters of "Real Happiness at Work" a little too heavy on how to be happy in your job, no matter how bad the conditions. I was hoping for some guidance on how to work toward improving a work situation, not just improving your attitude toward a work situation. Sometimes dropping your stories and seeing clearly shows areas that are in need of change, but since others aren't dropping their stories, it's difficult to acheive that.

There are stories of people who left their jobs and found their true calling elsewhere, but there's also value in changing the culture of a workplace so that work that is fulfilling can be done in a place that is supportive of your growth. I would like to be a whole human being working in a humane system.

But maybe that's another book. This book offers a wealth of explorations and contemplations for being personally happier at work, and that is a treasure.