Make your day... and everyone else's.

Joan F. Marques - MBA, Doctoral Student
Burbank, California- December, 2002

How many times have you read about the encouragement to change situations if they don't add to the quality of your life? Oh sure! These encouragements are effective and true but unfortunately not always applicable on the short term. Consider the job market: We all know how grim the situation looks there these days! Quitting your job before you found a sufficient and well-paid alternative is not a wise decision unless you've saved a decent sum of money to maintain yourself and your dependents during the time that you search the classifieds in the newspaper or on the Net. The more responsibility you have on your shoulders, the less likely will it be for you to leap out of your current work environment into a dark that can hold every possible surprise.

Yet there is hope! Epictetus figured it out many centuries ago, and numerous wise men quoted his words in several settings ever since. The essence of the statement I am referring to can be more or less captured in the following phrase: "You may not be able to decide what happens to you, but you can decide what your attitude will be towards it."
This, then, is the unification of two phenomena that can elevate the quality of your current situation with several grades! We're talking about a given Ė your current- situation- and the only tool you have to make it better: your attitude.

In "Fish!" Lundin, Paul, and Christensen have emphasized this very issue in a striking, warmhearted way: a woman is assigned the immense task to turn around a poorly performing department, up till then infamous throughout the organization for its unproductive and unpleasant work atmosphere. She ultimately finds the solution on a fish market where the fishmongers display a contagiously upbeat attitude by humorously entertaining their customers, communicating with them in a direct and caring manner, and encouraging them to share in their fun and excitement, all while selling something as smelly and ordinary as fish. The message becomes really clear to our book lady when she gets a few friendly hints and tips from the creator of this spectacular energy center. The message is simple: "If you have to do it anyway, choose your best attitude to do it, and it will pay off." How? Alertness, friendliness, helpfulness and dedication seldom remain unrecognized by customers, co-workers, or supervisors. The gratitude you'll receive from the most unexpected corners will be a worthwhile encouragement to continue the good work.

The best thing about choosing the right attitude to go to work is that it's contagious. It's like hearing someone laughing so hard you can't help laughing too, even if you donít know what it's all about; or like seeing someone yawn and automatically starting to yawn too, even if youíre not sleepy. It works like sex-appeal: people catch the vibes and see you in a different light; it's like a cool breeze on a hot day: your smile and cooperative attitude will wipe away many a frown that initially came your way.

Oh, it's understandable that you may not be able to shine with the same intensity every day, but once your positive approach has become famous at the office and has affected your colleagues, their empathy will not be hard to find when problems occur, and they will do anything in their power to lift you up when you need it.

Therefore, don't allow yourself to feel "lost" if you carry a lot of responsibilities and cannot physically change the status quo right away. You can still decide on something. There's always a choice: the choice of your personal approach.

And you know what? If the new positive "you" shines bright enough, your light may exceed the boundaries of your workplace and catch the attention of other companies in the industry. And who knows! Maybe you will get a superb job offer within too long. Yet...because of your positive internal change and the subsequent positive change you activated at work, you may not even want to consider the change of work-environment or employer anymore. Congratulations! You made yourself a winner!!!