What better way to kick off a Caribbean afternoon than heading to the bar for a pre-lunch cocktail?
Between slurps of a particularly splendid example, I get chatting with the barman, Des.
“How long have you worked at Spice Island?” I ask. “Fourteen years or so,” replies Des. Slurp.
“Always behind the bar?” I enquire. “Not always,” says Des. “I started out serving drinks to guests on the beach, spent some time in the restaurant, and now here I am in the bar making cocktails.” Indeed you are, Des, indeed you are. Slurp.
My cocktail-fuelled interrogation continues. “So, of all the jobs you have done here, which have you enjoyed the most?”
Before Des replies, a little grin spreads across his face. “I have learnt to find enjoyment in every job I do.”
I return Des’s smile and nod my head in acknowledgement of such wisdom.
Chatting with Des is a welcome reminder of a story told at a business building summit I attended a few years ago.
One of the speakers, Andrew, shared how early in his career, he worked for an advertising agency. It was a job Andrew needed; he had an expensive young family and a London mortgage to cover.
The challenge Andrew had was he really didn’t like the job. It felt humdrum, uninspiring – a grind. It wasn’t the exciting cut-and-thrust corporate world job he longed for.
The result? He slipped into just doing enough. Just about getting into the office on time in the morning. Just about keeping his mind on work until going home time. Just about doing enough to scrape his target each month.
Unfortunately for Andrew, his boss was after more than just enough. He was given an ultimatum – he had one month to show he was worthy of keeping his job, or he was out.
Following a fretful weekend, Andrew resolved the only thing he could do to turn the situation around was to convince himself to enjoy his job.
Monday morning came and Andrew walked purposefully into the office well before 9am. He picked up the phone and, with a smile, made his first call of the day. Rather than huffing and puffing through the week, Andrew started to have fun.
Within just a couple of weeks, Andrew found he didn’t have to try to enjoy his job because he actually was. And his targets? He totally smashed them, of course, and continued to do so for the following four years.
Like barman Des, Andrew learnt to find enjoyment in whatever he did. He then went on to a successful career reaching the highest echelons of the corporate world.
So, whatever the tasks on your to-do list today, find enjoyment in them – even if you have to shake and stir them up.
Richard Dixon is director of holidaysplease