In an exploration of the meaningfulness of work, yesterday I showed my Master’s degree Psychology students an interview with Michael G. Pratt, PhD of Boston College. (Worthwhile 9 minute video).
Dr. Pratt suggested that meaningfulness is about being content at a deep level. What struck a few of the students was Dr. Pratt’s research finding about TRUST. He wanted to understand how firemen decide whom to trust in a fire. It wasn’t about behavior at fires because less than 5% of calls are related to actual fires. What he discovered was that it was related to how someone views how their co-worker orients himself to work. It wasn’t about the most college educated or hot shot fireman, instead the most trusted person was the one who was quiet and went about to doing their job.
So, what’s the point for my students? How we orient ourselves to work isn’t about just our own attitude, instead it may relate to how others decide whether or not to trust us. Who do you trust at work and why?