Find Joy in Work: A Perspective and a Process

Find Joy in Work both is—and is not—the end of our list of core values at North Star Marketing. Sarah Koudelka, one of our rockstar production managers and a member of our leadership team, is the perfect person to try and explain what we mean.

What Parts of Your Work Bring You Joy?

At my house, when I wake up, if the kitchen counter is clean, tidy, and perfectly in order, I am a happy person. If it is not, that is usually a pretty rough start to my day. When there is no time to tend to all the chores for some reason, I try never to let the kitchen get out of control. There is plenty of work that goes into keeping my house livable that I do not particularly enjoy, but I love wiping down the kitchen counter. There is something about that which brings me joy. 

I keep thinking about how there is always more work to do. At the house, at the office, there is never an end to it. But I also keep trying to think of ways to enjoy my work more, so I have been trying to pay special attention to the parts of my work that bring me joy.

A Perspective and a Process

I am slowly learning that finding joy in work is a perspective and a process. The perspective part is that I have to remind myself that joy is something I can have, even when circumstances are not going the way I want them to. There are plenty of days when it is tempting to think this is not true, but I know it is. 

The process part is why our core value says find joy in work. Sometimes joy is sort of hidden and we need to dig for it. I think the real joy in our work comes when we discover something about who we are made to be, and what we are uniquely made to do. And a deeper joy is seeing how those things are connected to the other people in our life—how we are made to work together and support one another. I guess joy is never just about one thing, or one person. 

A Gift, and a Doorway

As a production manager for our team, I am constantly aware of how much my work affects my teammates. I do not write proposals or copy for a website, or produce videos, or guide companies through our messaging workshop process. My work is a little more hidden. With our other production manager, I have to look at everyone’s work and prioritize and create an order for the milestones of every project. 

In reality, this means I have a lot to do with creating everyone’s daily schedule. When my teammates get to work in the morning and look at their list of to-dos, what they see there can have a big impact on how their whole day or week starts off. I want everyone to have that same feeling of satisfaction and relief when they look at their list in the morning that I do when I walk into my kitchen and see that clean, orderly countertop. 

I love breaking down complex tasks and creating order out of chaos, and maintaining a roomy, efficient space for getting work done. Those things are part of how I am made. And the days I find the greatest joy in my work at North Star are the days when I remember I get to do what I am built to do so it helps my teammates do what they are built to do. 

That joy is fuel for me to do my best work possible. And you know what? That feeds right into the first core value on our list: commit to excellence. Joy is the hinge, or the thing that closes the loop for us and propels us back into the process of exploring and living out our deepest values here at North Star Marketing. 

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