Have Fun With the Job (No Matter How Miserable You Feel)

 This is the fourth in a series of ten blog posts that provide a brief synopsis of the chapters in my upcoming book, Lessons From the Mouse - A Guide for Applying Disney World's Secrets of Success to Your Organization, Your Career, and Your Life. You can view previous posts from the book by clicking on the Lessons From the Mouse category on the left column of this page.

Lesson #4: Have Fun With the Job (No Matter How Miserable You Feel)

Guests will often gush to Disney cast members, "You have the best job in the world! It must be so much fun to work here!" Yes, being a Disney cast member is mostly enjoyable and very rewarding, but it isn't always fun. Working at Disney's It's a Small World attraction, for example, and hearing the song, "It's a Small World After All," eight hours a day, five days a week is a torture most people can only imagine. Standing in the rain telling guests that Space Mountain is closed for maintenance for a month, can result in guests directing their disappointment or anger at the unfortunate messenger - the cast member.

Yet cast members know it's their job to create happiness for the guests, and allowing job irritations to impact the guest experience is unacceptable. So they look for the fun - especially when they feel miserable. The secret for Disney cast members is to play with the guests - while remaining respectful. In the case of Space Mountain being closed, simply providing inside secrets about Space Mountain, or suggesting that the roller coaster in Frontierland, Big Thunder Mountain, actually has a higher "barf factor," usually results in a smile; and therefore creates fun (for the guest and the cast member).

Every job contains some miserable elements. Making those elements pleasurable is a real skill, and it's all about attitude. Challenging yourself to get a customer to smile in an unpleasant circumstance; or turning an unpleasant task into a personal contest; or simply connecting with a trusted coworker who lifts your spirits can help get any of us through the inevitable unpleasant tasks that are a part of any job.

Unless you're a professional comedian, work is rarely a laugh a minute - nor should work be all fun and games. But it certainly shouldn't be unbearable. And work can easily become unbearable if we don't actively look for those moments of fun. And those times we all face when we want to throw our hands up and shout, "I can't take it anymore!" are the moments it's most important to uncover the fun.

Questions to consider about Lesson #4:

  1. What are some of the stressful or unpleasant aspects about your job or some of the jobs in your organization (your "Space Mountain is closed" situations)?
  2. What are some ideas for finding the fun in those situations (while being respectful of customers)?
  3. Within reason, what does having fun with the job look like and sound like in your role?

Lessons From the Mouse

To be released this summer