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The Mindset Of Your Work: An Overview

When I was very young – 1st grade young – I had gotten a 9 (out of 10) on a maths test. My mindset back then was that I needed to please my mom, or else… thus, when our teacher announced it, I politely asked her to change it to a 10 because my mom would get very upset otherwise.

Some 20 years later, at work, angry and worried that I couldn’t get myself in the proper state to write this article once and for all, I had remembered that moment. You see?! My mindset back then was that I needed to please my mom, or else…

Sadly but with a dim of optimism, I had just realized that my thought on the matter hadn’t changed that much over these decades. I just switched the object of my projection. Today, as silly as it might sound and as metaphorically as I can put it, “my manager is my mom”. In more drastic words, my mindset is that “I have to please my boss, or else…” **But, don’t get me wrong, my manager is “the person I truly admire, treasure and respect” who I was referring to here.
Or else I’ll get it wrong; or else I’ll get negative reviews; or else I won’t fit in; or else I’ll get a warning/notice; or else I lose my job and income; or any other variations… I mean, aren’t these some of the 7 fears we’ve all confronted at some point in our professional careers? These mindset fears go even deeper into illustrating who we think we are, because we ask “What does this say about me?” – What does my mistake/failure say about me? What does the fact that I lost my job say about me? Etc. This is how our mindsets have deeper implications into our personalities and thus, our identities.

What is the General Mindset on work?

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), a little over 3 billion people are employed. All through this past week, I had wondered why do people work. Well, it depends. Really, it revolves around the generation you’re part of and that group’s context and mindsets.

It seems that according to the conditions we grow up in, we carefully and precisely map all our thoughts and beliefs about how life works, group them into functions and procedures and call upon them when we find ourselves in appropriate situations. We learned about this automated, judgemental living ever since adolescence when we started to question our parents’ ways, generalize, rebel against the so-called “status quo” and accuse them of being incapable of understanding us on the grounds of the mighty generation gap. Our parents did it with our grandparents and them with their parents, and so on.

Each social crowd has these guidelines and boxes that they broadly fit into. In the table below we have sketched the main mindsets and work perspectives of Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millenials, and Generation Z – generations that are currently active or preparing to become active within the workforce.

GENERATION

BIRTH PERIOD

CONTEXT

WORK PERSPECTIVE

Baby Boomers

1945

1960

They were born after WWII into a reconstruction phase of the world.
The main mindset was that they needed to
build a new life for the global population and that will take time.
  • Workaholics
  • They believe that working longer will bring rewards through promotion
  • Loyal to the company they start with
  • Focused on tasks, relationships and work hours
  • Patient, long-term racers

Generation X

1961

1980

Early mobile technology had started to break in and open a new communication era that widened perspectives, challenged diversity, and global thinking norms.
  • Work/Life balance
  • They believe that working smarter rewards
  • Loyal to their careers (instead of a single firm)
  • Focused on tasks, relationships, and productivity
  • Searching for the meaning of their life
  • Tend to be informal

Generation Y / Millennials

1981

1995

Following the 9/11 incident, other terrorist attacks spread around the world.
Social media advances so much that communication has no more boundaries.  

  • Searching for personal meaning and self-worth
  • They believe that impacting community rewards
  • Loyal to their self, multidimensional growth
  • Focused on social networks
  • Digital entrepreneurs and freelancers; they work with companies
  • Achievement focus

Generation Z

>1995

They’ve grown up during the economic downturn with smartphones as the norm. They’re avid for small bits of information.

  • Multitaskers
  • Won’t spend too much time in one place unless fulfilling

Another stringent question I had was how many of those 3 something billion people mentioned by ILO go to work robotically, because they need the money, or because they know that’s just what they should do? The table above helped with the answer:

  • Baby Boomers go to work with the mindset that their work and job reputation defines them.
  • Somewhat traumatized because their workaholic parents hadn’t spent enough time with them, Generation X goes to work with the mindset that the money they make will “buy” them time with their kids.
  • Millennials think larger than family life and go to work with the mindset that their impact on community defines their identity.
  • Generation Z goes to work with the mindset that, some day soon, they’re gonna start their own business.

Do you notice, how everything logically and consequently unfolds from generation to generation simply because of a commonly accepted mindset of what outlines our identity? Does it also seem to you that one “breed” is often only a response to the previous one? As a partial conclusion, each generation has a certain mindset about themselves and the rest of the world. It’s a set of thoughts and beliefs that classify everything into labels, so we might recognize and use them more effectively. WE SEE the world! We create the map or put on the glasses that provide all the definitions. But why? (To be answered in Part 3)

What is the “working” mindset in AYG Romania?

I like my work. No, not just because my boss reads and approves this article (*wink), but because I am a strong advocate of coming to work following a calling rather than a must. I also believe in sharing and growing together with the scope of building a strong, cultural tribe to challenge norms and foster positive change in today’s society.

Considering my colleagues have nearly the same milestones, I conducted a very complex *smile* poll in the office to find out why AYG Romania comes to work and how consistent is that with the business vision and values. Results are as follows:

  • 35.3% have self-growth and self-development reasons
  • 23.5% add a strong relational component to their motives
  • 17.6% come to work with self-worth necessities
  • 11.8% do it on financial and self-validation accounts

What does this say about us? For starters, it states that we’re a bit narcissistic, ey?! *laughter*. I will quote our Executive Director here. She says:

“I believe in the power of Good. At a personal level, I believe that continuous learning is fundamental for individual development. Thus, the Good I mentioned earlier becomes a desire of performing and improving our environment to achieve better results”

Let me try this again – Primarily, the poll says that we’re always daring for more and continuously challenging ourselves to actually achieve excellence, not just strive for it. Secondly, it seems we like the team we’re working with and we trust them to be there and support our growth while having fun together. Moreover, we want our work to mean something – whether universally or to the ones who specifically benefit from it. Lastly but as important, in the meaningful and long lasting words of Jessie J herself, AYG Romania “is not about the money, money, money […] we just wanna make the world dance”. *smile*

So, how well do we integrate with the association’s identity, then? Well, let’s take a look at AYG Romania’s tagline, vision, and values.

 

AYG Romania Tagline

Passion. Inspire Change!

AYG Romania Vision

Our vision is to be recognized and respected as a leading change agent in our field.

AYG Romania Values

Flexibility We encourage openness and flexibility in relation to our partners and people, using feedback and feedforward as key concepts in our communication plan!
Efficiency We work smart – we bring innovation and creative solutions in a responsible and efficient manner!
Leadership Our conduct embodies healthy principles and values. We lead by example and we inspire people to be the best that they can be, both for our company and for the world we live into!
Integrity We behave accordingly to our standards of ethics – we are honest, what we promise is what we do, and what we do complies with the spirit and the letter of the law!
Progress We strive for a better society – we believe that altruism, cooperation and know-how sharing will increase individual potential, which will drive as a force for social advancement!
Passion We are overachievers – we will always out-stand our competitors because we care more, we create more, we commit more, in heart and in mind!
Innovation We have the ability to create new value leveraging on new business models and improved technology!

If we assume that leadership and progress are two terms that define development and growth and, at the same time, take into consideration that 3 out of 9 lines in the above table refer to these two concepts, we can conclude to the direct connection between our reasons for coming to work and the same 30-something percent of our organizational identity.

To state another partial conclusion, it appears we’re quite in tune with our business’s personality. In other words, we – people/workers/employees – make (or break) the company culture we’re part of. We are and define this group’s identity. We ARE the representation of that map or of that image seen through the glasses we mentioned in the first part of this article. But, what does this mean? (To be answered in Part 3)

What is the meaning of an individual’s mindset?

Up till this point, we largely and mediumly scaled our “faith systems”. In the first part of this article, we pointed out how a culture or a generation is merely the set of beliefs we have about that social body. In the second part, we concluded that we, the body, are the company culture. In other words, we are what we see our world to be!

We see ourselves as innovators, we become innovators. We picture ourselves as leaders, we act like leaders. We describe ourselves as flexible thinkers we will do what flexible thinkers do! Our creed mirrors us.

In medicine, the Placebo effect supports this theory proving that Placebo drugs have a beneficial result on the patient due mainly to his belief and not the drug’s properties. There are numerous other studies that prove, in different areas of life, that our standpoints strongly influence our outcomes. Athletes, for instance, are a great example for that.

But what does this mean for YOU and ME?

Have you ever wondered why we have rewards and recognition systems? Or why some of us are motivated to do our jobs better with more money? Or why some of us have commission based payment plans? It’s because at some point, in the midst of the industrial revolution, Adam Smith said so. *smile* It’s because sometimes at the beginning of the 19th century, Adam Smith voiced his presumption according to which human beings are lazy by nature. He believed that this character trait of ours would push us to not do anything unless incentivized. It’s because this one dude had a very strong conviction!

And the most important thing about our visions is this: we give them such meaning and such power that their impossibility is never an option! Let’s take Hitler for example. He had his vision and values and principles. And he acted accordingly till his last day, indifferent of the fact that they were wrong. See?! Unlike broken computers, smartphones, bad food, harmful medicine which you can throw away and/or replace, our creeds go on and on and on, as long as we believe them! Thus, generations after generations of human beings can be impacted by one simple thought that YOU believed in. Like, per say, the Earth is square; remember that one?

You will be an innovator as long as you believe you are one. You will be a leader as long as you picture yourself to be one. You will be a flexible thinker as long as you describe yourself as one. Your creed mirrors you for as long as you put your faith in it!

So, dear reader, what does your answer say about you? What core belief (imprinted there in your map) makes you see the world as you see it?

Dear co-worker – wherever in the world you might be – what were those strong convictions deep inside of you that made you choose this particular job/company? Are they still accurate/real/positive/good or do you just believe in them because you haven’t refreshed your identity in a long time?

Dear leader – indifferent of your location – your scope is to create the best environment so that your tribe would reach their full potential. What kind of environment do you want to create for your organization? Is it consistent with your core beliefs?

Whoever might be reading this article, the meaning of your work is only what you think of it to be! Furthermore, the meaning of your work makes sense ONLY as long as you believe in it!

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