I read an interesting article in the Sunday NY Times by Daniel Goleman called “It May Be a Good Job, But Is It “Good Work”?”. [BTW, Daniel is the author of the 1995 book “Emotional Intelligence” and the 2006 book “Social Intelligence: The Science of Human Relationships“.]
The article discussed the difference between a “good job” and “good work” and included references to research done by Harvard educational psychologist Howard Gardner. Mr. Gardner originally proposed the theory of multiple intelligences that suggested that traditional notions of intelligence based on IQ testing were too limited. Instead, the theory measures intelligence on 8 core intelligences or categories which include: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spacial, bodily kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalist.
When applying Gardner’s theory and research to job satisfaction, it comes down to asking these questions about your job:
- Does it fit your values?
- Does it evoke excellence? (are you highly effective and competent at what you do?)
- Does it bring you joy?
The unexpected finding in their research was that joy was such a critical ingredient for good work.
While you ponder whether you are doing “good work” (and if you have enough joy in your job), here are some links to check out:
- 2004 NY Times article on Howard Gardner
- Daniel Goleman’s blog
- Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics meet
- Responsibility at Work
- EQ for Everybody (free e-book)