Blog November 2019
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Finding Happiness through Variety: Exploring Other Avenues of Enrichment

It’s been a big year! I started as a Program Coordinator at McKenna Management in late February, and as a (fairly) recent graduate, I like to think that this is my first real job. No more working retail during Christmas, working seasonal jobs, or doing various odd jobs to scrape money together. I moved into a new apartment, traveled to new places, and had new experiences. All of these experiences, whether they were big or small, helped to clarify something for me: In order for myself to be focused and motivated, I needed my life to be filled with variety.

A study done by Zafar-Uz-Zaman Anjum in 2014 describes the correlation between job satisfaction and job characteristics. “Meaningful inclusion of Job characteristics in a person’s job makes his job more interesting and Loveable”. These job characteristics include things like Task significance (meaningfulness) and Skill variety. Feeling satisfied in your job directly relates to how much variety your job offers and how meaningful these tasks are.

In every job, there are always ebbs and flows, where you can feel overwhelmed with work at certain times, or like you have too much free time on your hands at other times. Working in a multi-client environment like an association management company (AMC) inherently comes with a lot of variety – different associations, members, tasks, and priorities. Embracing this variety helps members of the McKenna Management team, like me, do our best work and be satisfied in our professional roles.

Finding the proper balance between your professional career and your personal goals and finding the right variety between the two can also be a difficult thing to maintain. Finding that right balance, however, is key to feeling fulfilled in both areas. In times where I may not have as much work to do, it can be a challenge to stay focused or motivated. I needed to find a way to keep the fire burning, both professionally and personally, if I wanted to succeed. If Anjum’s study applies to the professional world, why can’t it apply to your personal life as well?

So, I did what anyone would do; outside of work, I threw myself at everything I could think of. I learned how to build a computer and researched an exhaustive amount on the read and write speeds of Solid State Drives. Did I ever actually get around to building it? No! But at the very least, I found something productive outside of work that I was passionate about. Browsing the web, I read an article about how important coding was for recent graduates. Why not sign up for a free course? I may not be able to write complex algorithms, but now I can make a basic web page. And while I may not have one singular interest, I have variety, at work and outside of it. This variety has enabled me to take more interest in my work and I find myself more motivated to come into work every day. Starting the day and seeing multiple tasks on my plate doesn’t intimidate me like it would have in the past. Instead, it has the opposite effect. It empowers me to do more, to seek more knowledge that can help me succeed in this profession.

In taking this same curiosity into your personal life, you can discover that same passion and empowerment. Learn how to sew, watch an inspiring film, play the guitar! Variety is the spice of life after all. And, it just might help you do your job better! 

Stephen Gillies serves as a Program Coordinator and brings many years of customer service and relationship management skills to his role. He completed his higher education in 2016, earning a bachelor’s degree in communication arts from Framingham State. While earning his degree, he completed courses in graphic design, public relations, and professional writing.