What is being said?
No judgement. You have heard it said. You may have said it. I know I have.
LIVIN the DREAM
Over the last six months, I have not tracked how many times I have heard someone, a colleague, a friend or even a stranger say “Livin the Dream”, but I suspect at least weekly. On a few occasions more than once in a given day.
I have heard it in the restroom, I have had it come across instant messaging and even email. I have resisted the urge to say it, but having had it said to me frequently enough, I was starting to wonder:
What does this really mean? And, is it an innocent statement or does it have more far reaching implication for you and others?
Is it cool to commiserate with fellow co-workers how bad it is at work, for not only the person who said it, but for anyone they said it to?
Is it some bragging right that implies I am more miserable than you at work? Or is it an invitation to gossip around the office how unfulfilling your job is and invite others into the fray?
Or, is it just a way to let off some steam? A backhanded way of admitting you are miserable, but only willing to say it in a way that provides some comic relief without offending anyone. (I suspect this is the most logical reason)
The Truth – the Personal Impact of Saying Livin the Dream
If you have said Livin the Dream to someone in the last few months, guess what, you are not living the dream. You likely know that, and to ease the tension and disappointment of settling for work that drains you, you pepper your greetings with Livin the Dream.
In some cases, you might be saying it to someone who you know is not Livin the Dream, just to create conversation or maybe even fit in. Misery loves company, right?
I have said it many times and have come to regret it. It does nothing but en-grain the belief that there is nothing better for you in your work life. You have settled for unfulfilling work as your birthright, like 70% of the workforce who are dis-engaged and unsatisfied.
By saying, Livin the Dream, you have cemented the notion that you are settling, for what? Money? Being comfortable? I mean it is easier to say, Livin the Dream, than actually chase a dream, I know that for a fact.
So, stop diminishing your value, your worth and start recognizing the impact you are having on yourself and the organization you work in. It is the meaning behind the words that hurts.
The Impact on Your Co-workers
You ever work with anyone dis-engaged at work? Not fun, right. When you say, Livin the Dream to someone, you are assuming they are not Livin the Dream either. Which may or may not be true. But you just turned any situation, any conversation into a downer. Oh, we laugh and joke about this, but I have had so many people say “Livin the Dream” to me, I was beginning to wonder how I was showing up at work.
And trust me, how you show up at work matters. It matters to you, your co-workers and to the overall health of the work environment.
If you know you are not Livin the Dream, it is best to work towards improving your current work situation to increase meaning and enjoyment or find a place that closer aligns with the work you want to do. Yes, that means making a change.
Identifying what would make you feel like you were “Livin the Dream”, should be your priority.
Impact on the Work Environment
If you are hearing “Livin the Dream” a lot at the office, it is likely the environment is already toxic to some degree. Could be the company is struggling financially. Could be the teams are under resourced and there is just too much work. There are a ton of possibilities as to why the environment is not the best.
The notion that saying “Livin the Dream”is going to provide some type of internal or external relief in a toxic workplace, well that is just wishful thinking. Oh, it may be fodder for conversation, but is it really that productive?
What to do?
How about we all agree to just stop with the “Livin the Dream” comment? Banish it. Let’s start there.
Three strategies for you to start really Living the Dream:
1. Show up to work with a mission to serve. That’s right. Show up in the name of service. In the name of helping others, in the name of doing it with a sense of purpose and fulfillment. In the name of being a co-worker who can be trusted. In the name of teamwork. In the name of creating a healthy work environment. Trust me, you will earn a lot of respect by not reinforcing the message that your work is not fulfilling.
2. Take responsibility for your career. Career management is complex. We all need to make a living. But settling for work that drains you, impacts other areas of your life and leaves you dis-engaged is not healthy for you or the organization.
3. Identify your strengths and work you love to do and then look for opportunities to serve in that capacity. We all know when we are operating in our strengths and contributing to the overall success of an organization, this approach is personally healthy and has a positive impact on the work environment.
If you are not Livin the Dream at work, take the necessary steps to make a change. Either you change or change your environment.
Please, stop with the “Livin the Dream”.