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Compensation Cafe: Why Work Is More than a Paycheck

by Derek Irvine

Recognize This! -- Work can and should be more than a means to a paycheck. The benefits to us as individuals accrete exponentially with such an outlook.

For too many and for too long "work" has meant "a place to get a paycheck and leave as quickly as possible." But work can and should be so much more - fulfilling, meaningful and of value personally. No, our jobs won't be all these things every moment of every day, but viewing our work in such a way gives us many important physical and psychological health benefits. My last two posts on Compensation Cafe addressed different aspects of this truism.

Trust & Respect Top Drivers of Employer Reputation (30 June 2015)

What's the definition of employee disengagement – someone who is capable of doing more, but choosing not to because they see no reason or motivation to do so. And lack of trust in and respect leadership is a clear marker for increased disengagement. It’s also a strong marker for recruiting and retention.

In this post, I shared the story of a colleague's husband and his realization that he does not trust his company to "do the right thing." In any situation. At all. I also shared research out of the UK showing “the perception of a company being a good employer had a significant impact on whether someone wanted to work for it - 92% of respondents said that, if they were in a situation where they had two identical job offers, whether the companies treated employees with respect would be an important part of their decision making.”

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” with the Power of Thanks (9 July 2015)

Have you read Dr. Seuss' seminal Oh, the Places You'll Go!? I understand it's a common gift to those graduating school and moving into adulthood. In this post, I shared a new parody version of the book –Oh, the Places You’ll Go! (As an Adult). (Read it on Huffington Post.)

To summarize, adulthood is nothing more than an endless cycle of work, home, work, home, work, home… The main character ages and saddens before the reader’s eyes.

While a parody, I think there’s some truth in this book. If we allow “work” to be nothing more than “the place I go to earn a paycheck,” then the sad parody of Dr. Seuss can become more of a reality than we might like to admit.

Work has no bigger meaning, no larger fulfilling purpose for us. And that is truly a tragedy. We spend more time at work and with work colleagues than we do with friends and family. That time investment should mean more than a paycheck.