Monthly Archives: December 2014

Your Weekly Noodle: December 31, 2014

Noodle* on this…Tile wall with message
Thank you, Life, for all my experiences this year. I am so grateful for all I have seen, done and learned. ~ Louise Hay
Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. ~ Hal Borland
Every day life presents us with new experiences, new challenges and learning opportunities. My friend Ernest  is a social worker and is fond of saying, “There is no such thing as a bad experience if you learn from it.” What experience did you have in 2014, either bad or good and what did you learn from it that you can carry into 2015 as wisdom?
Three weesk ago, I learned that trying to move a refrigerator just two inches by myself is not a wise idea. I’m still paying the price for that experience and you can be sure I will never so that again.
Share a lesson learned or wisdom you earned in 2014 with us in the Comment section
* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.
Image courtesy of Auntie P.

Your Weekly Noodle: December 24, 2014

Noodle* on this…

Woman giving a red gift box with pink ribbon repreent kidness, grace and gratitude.

Give the gift of kindness, grace and gratitude this holiday season. They are free and don’t need gift wrapping.

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with kindness, grace, and gratitude. ~ Denis Waitley

At this time of year, we spend a lot of time, effort and money traveling, spending, and consuming in search in holiday happiness when it is immediately within our grasp simply by living with kindness and gratitude.

What will you do this week and throughout the year to live in kindness and gratitude? Share your thoughts with is in the Comments field below.

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.

image courtesy of Naypong @

Your Weekly Noodle: December 17, 2014

Man using the word growth to improve his work

What steps will you take to grow on the job?

Noodle* on this…

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.  ~ Benjamin Franklin

At work, personal growth is essential to your well-being and growth requires learning. Identify something about your work, your team, or you organization that you want to learn this week. What steps will you take to learn it? 

Share you learning experience in the Comments field below.

Read more about learning at work.

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.

Image courtesy of Arztsamui at

Learning at Work

Woman studying to improve her workplace skills and well-being

Are you willing to learn at work? I would guess that answer is yes, because you are reading this blog. Those who are willing to learn on the job, be curious, to develop new skills and improve existing skills are more likely to be more successful at work and more engaged in their work. In other world, they have a greater sense of well-being and fulfillment in their work. In addition, the workplace is constantly changing. You know this is a fact of life – you see it every day and if you are to survive in this constantly changing environment, you must learn constantly.

Be a Learning Shark

Shark represneting the constant drive for knowledge, skills and abilities at wor, which are essential to well-being

Be a shark for learning – always on the hunt for new knowledge and skills.

Think of yourself as a shark. Most shark species do not sleep as humans do. They must constantly move to force air through their gills. Think of yourself as a “learning” shark. Rather that constantly moving to pull air into your lungs to live, you must constantly learn to acquire knowledge and skills to thrive on the job.

Formal learning, training and certifications are just the beginning of workplace learning. In addition to the learning options your employer provides you and the continuing education requirements of your professional organization; you must find the motivation to keep questioning your knowledge, skills and abilities. This requires balancing confidence and doubt – confidence in what you know and the skills you have; and the current limitation of that knowledge and your skills. Use these insights to develop your personal learning plan that goes beyond what your employer or professional organization offers. This is self-directed learning. You take the initiative and responsibility for learning. You identify your personal learning needs and interests and find available resources. You motivate yourself; track your progress; apply your learning on the job and share it with your co-workers.

Unfortunately, most workplace learning occurs outside the classroom or without a formal training program. This is incidental or informal learning and it takes every day – whenever and wherever people are working together. More experienced, knowledgeable works help those with less experience, answering questions, showing them how to do things; educating them on the organization’s culture; and identifying the “go to” people for specific issues for them. In addition, workers who attend workshops or training programs may share what they learned with their co-workers.

Consider this…
Learning is the beginning of wealth. Learning is the beginning of health. Learning is the beginning of spirituality. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins.  ~ Jim Rohn

What would you like to learn that will improve your work performance, satisfaction, or well-being.

Shark Image courtesy of Richard Ling

Your Weekly Noodle: December 10, 2014

Noodle on this…Child wearing a NASA costume and holding a toy space shuttle representing that we all need something to inspire us in our work and a part of our well-being.

To succeed … you need to find something to hold on to, something to motivate you, something to inspire you. ~ Tony Dorset

Children aren’t the only people who dream of great adventures, like orbiting the Earth. We adults have our aspirations, but they may be less grand than those of a child. Finding inspiration or meaning in your work not only improves your well-being, it also makes the work seem easier and time seems to pass more quickly. What motivates or inspires you at work? What gives your work meaning?

Share you thoughts with us in the Comment form below.

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.

Image courtesy of Wild Texas.

Find Meaning In Your Work

Man with a crazy face climbing a tree illutreates lack of well-being and meaning at work Note: This is the second article on meaning at work. Click here to read the first article. In the chaos and pressure of the workplace, almost everyone, regardless of their age, education or job, asks themselves:

  • What does this job mean to me?
  • What are my goals in this job?
  • What is my purpose in the organization?

Finding or creating meaning at work is essential to your well-being. It requires that you step back and take a look at who you are, what you want and what you believe about yourself and your work.

Meaning at Work Questionnaire Answer the questions below or download the Meaning at Work Questionnaire. Do not rush. Take time to think about each question and develop an answer.

1. Understand your job

  • What are the five (5) most important tasks in my job description?
  • Do I have the necessary skills and experience to do each task? If not, what do I need to learn?
  • Do I find my work challenging, interesting, or boring?

2. My role in the organization

  • How does my work fit into the overall work of my team and department?
  • What do I expect from my job?
  • What do my co-workers expect of me?
  • How does my work support the products and services of my employer?

3. My self-definition

  • What are my values?
  • What interests or excites me about my work?
  • What valuable traits or characteristics do I have?
  • How do I use these traits or characteristic in my work?
  • How confident am of my knowledge, skills, and abilities for my work (1 = Not at all confident and 5 = Extremely confident)
  • Explain your ranking.

Take the Next Step
After you answer the questions, write a meaning at work statement that incorporates components from each aspect of meaning at work. For example, a meaning statement for my work as a technical writer might be: “My work as a technical writer is meaningful because (1) it is challenging and allows me to use my writing skills. (2) I work with a several project teams and the work we do helps employees use company information technology effectively. (3) I see myself as an effective communicator of knowledge and I am constantly learning and sharing that learning with others, which excites me.” The numbers in parentheses indicate the aspect of meaning addressed by the statement that follows it.

Creating Meaning in Your Work As a technical writer working in a health care organization, I was fortunate because I saw clearly the meaning in my work. Unfortunately, not every job is like this. Sometime, workers must create meaning in their work. How do you do this? Follow these steps to help you create a sense of meaning in your work Go back to question #1 in the Meaning at Work Questionnaire and select the most important task in your job description. Answer the following questions about this task:

  • How can I apply my values to this task?
  • How does doing this task help me, my-co-workers, my manager or the company?
  • What successes have I had in completing this task?
  • How can I share my knowledge and experience to help others?
  • Answer these questions for thee more tasks in your job description.

Consider this…
Without work, we cannot survive; without meaningful work, we cannot thrive. ~ Marty Grothe.

Next: Learning at Work

Your Weekly Noodle: December 3, 2014

Noodle* on This…Firefighters have a clear ourpose in their work. Firefighter hosing a house fire

He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

We cannot all be firefighters or other first responders and we honor those who have the courage, commitment and purpose to do these dangerous jobs. But, we can find purpose or meaning in our work, even if it is boring and every job is boring at least once in a while. Plus, having a purpose makes even the boring times more tolerable.

Think about your work. Identify one thing that gives purpose or meaning to your work. Share what is meaningful about your work in the Comments section below.

Read more about finding meaning or purpose at work.

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm

Image courtesy of Loco Steve.












What is Meaning at Work?

Image of water ripple illustrates how even simple work expands to affect others.Meaning at work is not the same as meaningful work, which refers to the tasks one performs on the job. Nursing and teaching are examples of meaningful work. These are jobs that, by their very nature, make a difference. Most everyone can remember a teacher they loved or hated. For me, it was my high school psychology teacher. Mr. McKay was the first teacher to get me excited about learning and to this day, I remember him telling us that to remember the word for our sense of smell, just think of an “old factory” – olfactory. Teaching is meaningful work — teachers help people learn all over the world and have do so throughout history. 

The Nature of Meaning at Work
We cannot all be nurses, teachers, first responders, scientists or do other type of work that have inherent meaning; so, we must find personal meaning in our work. Meaning at work refers to a person’s experience of something of value or meaningful that they have at work. It is unique to each person. Even people doing the same job don’t have similar experiences of meaning at work. In 2005, I was on a flight from Minneapolis to San Diego and I was sitting in the last row – the row everyone dreads. It is the row right in front of the restrooms and the rear galley. The seats do not recline and people stand in line staring at you while waiting to use the restroom. But, the interesting thing about that row was that I could eavesdrop on the flight attendants talking as they cleaned the galley. They were talking about what it meant to be a flight attendant.  One of the attendants said. “People don’t understand that for us, it is a calling and not just a job.” The the others agreed.

Compare that to the attitude of an attendant on a JetBlue flight from Pittsburgh to New York in 2010 that caught the nation’s attention. As the plane was taxiing to the gate in New York, the flight attendant used the public address system to tell everyone that he was abused by a passenger and he quit his job right then and there. Then, he took two beers from the galley, deployed the evacuation slide and going down it. 

Meaning at work is driven by your personal values; by personal needs, goals and expectations; the characteristics of the work you do; and your relationships with others. It is a constantly changing process that is neither linear nor rational because it is affected by circumstances and problems that may cause you to question your purpose. Meaning at work is also determined by your understanding of your job, your role in the organization, the meaning you find or create in your work. 

Elements of Meaning at Work 
Understanding your job relates to your formal job description; your understanding of it and how you choose to do it. What are the tasks in your job description? How do you choose to do them? Do you do “just the minimum” or do you strive for both quality and quantity in your work?

Your role in the organization includes your place in your team or department and the organization. It also includes the interactions and expectations you and your co-workers have for your work and your team. As you learn about the processes in your department and company, your job performance improves; you see how your work fits in with that of your co-workers; and how the products or services of the organization create value for the customer.

Your self-definition at work is based on your values, interests and preferences. It includes the qualities or traits you value about yourself along with the thoughts and feelings you have about yourself, your job and your role in the organization. In addition, meaning is driven by your values and how well you work aligns with those  values. If you are good at what you do, you enjoy it and find meaning it.

For example, some people may see the job of mopping a floor as degrading and beneath them. This is the value they ascribe to the task. However, an urban legend tells us that when President John F. Kennedy visited NASA Headquarters in Houston in 1962, he met a man mopping the floor and asked the man about his job. The man replied, “My job is to help put a man on the moon.” This is an example of a worker finding meaning in his job. To others, his work was menial but to him, his work helped NASA achieve its mission.

Consider this
I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, ‘Where’s the self-help section?’ She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose. ~ George Carlin

It is up to each of us to find meaning in our work. Think about the job you do and answer the following questions:

  • What tasks do you routinely perform as part of your work?
  • How does the work you do relate to the work of your team mates, department and organization?
  • What do you find interesting or challenging about your work?

Next: Finding Meaning in Your Work

Newman,A. and Riveria, R., “Fed-up Flight Attendant Makes Sliding Exit,” New York Times, August 9, 2010.