“I have to adjust my rear view mirror when I leave the office at the end of the day. When I drive to work, I’m upright and full of energy, but when I leave, I’m so tired, it’s like I’m a few inches shorter.”
A woman I worked with years ago told me this and I remember it because, at the time, I had the opposite experience. I arrived at work slouched in the driver’s seat, dreading the day ahead of me. But I left with a spring in my step, standing tall and looking forward to 15 hours of freedom before I had to return.
My coworker was seemingly content and quite successful, while I hated my job and was ready to move on. But when I consider how our work was impacting our bodies, I think both scenarios are equally grim.
Even if you love your job, should you be so drained at the end of the day that your whole bearing is affected? Sure, hard work can be satisfying. Leaving tired isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If the work is good, you leave tired but fulfilled. Or tired but energized.
But just plain tired? That tells me something is out of whack.
What do you think?
Can we judge our job satisfaction by our posture at the end of the day?
(Photo by Massimiliano Calamelli via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)
Yes, I do believe so. Leaving tired and exhausted but uplifted and feeling the inner glow of satisfaction shows that we are loving what we are doing. Feeling “Eustress” as opposed to “distress.”
Eustress over distress…great point!
I agree completely! My physical posture and energy level always signal my stress level – bad or good. If I’m stuck in traffic but singing along with the radio, I’m in a good place at work and time flies. If I’m snarling at other drivers and hunching over the wheel, there is something amiss. I recently left a job because my commuting posture told me that although I enjoyed the work, I did not look forward to getting there. When I started paying attention to my road rage, I realized that there were dozens of “little” leadership, interpersonal, and cultural issues swirling around the office – adding up to a completely dysfunctional team. When I made the decision that it was not an environment I wanted to be part of, my last few commutes were cheerful rather than frustrating. And I’m delighted to say that company is now just a tiny speck in my rearview mirror!
Great example. And I agree that there are often little things that, taken individually, don’t mean much but taken in sum make work intolerable. Thanks for sharing your experience!
Yes, I do think our body gives us clues. If anyone would watch me as I am rockin’ out in my car on my way to a speaking engagement, they would get a real show. We can change our posture though, and it will change how we feel even if we are less than excited about our work.
Excellent point, Kathy – our posture is something within our control and changing it can have a positive effect on our experience. Thanks for commenting!