“We’re not happy to stop doing our best”

Disclaimer: Sports anecdotes are very annoying especially when people use them to reveal some truth in another sphere of life. This isn’t a sports anecdote.

The title is a quote from Ingrid Engen who plays soccer for Barcelona. And apparently, they are the team… But honestly, I don’t follow soccer. Best of luck to them.

It’s the wording that caught my eye. “We’re not happy to stop doing our best”. Good on you Ingrid. You sound like you care a lot. How lucky is she that she has found a career doing something she deeply cares about?

What happens when you flip this quote?

“We stop doing our best when we are not happy”.

I think that’s fair enough. How can we expect people to do their best work when they are not happy?

It’s probably too much to expect work to be responsible for making people “happy”. But we can try to make sure that work does not make people Unhappy?

Let’s say there is an expectation that everyone is at their desk at 9 AM on the dot every morning when the CEO is usually walking through the office. Imagine the stress this could create in an individual who has to drop their kid to school at the same time. They plan to work late to make up that time, 15 mins or so.

Should anyone give a damn where that person is as long as the work gets done? Isn’t it better that the person isn’t stressed out every morning?

But so many organisations blindly prioritise policy over happiness. More or less insisting that their employees are not as happy as they could be.

Ask yourself: Is there some aspect of our work environment that could be making employees unhappy?

Further reading, kinda related: I am reminded of Fredrick Herzberg and his article “One More Time: How do You Motivate Employees”. Here’s a good summary.