Let’s admit it – the male-dominated workplace can be pretty dull. This is one of the reasons I liked being out on a construction site – we had a lot more fun! We worked hard and had fun doing it. On site, we weren’t trying to impress anyone with a corporate image like we had to in the main office. In the main office you have to present a “professional” image at all times in case a Client stopped by and made it past the main lobby, conference room and senior offices and got lost in the far back recesses where our offices were located. There is something about the main office that says business and fun can’t inhabit the same space. Fun is equated to goofing off, not to creativity, expression and motivation. To me “professional” equates to bland and safe. In the main office motivation comes from pictures on the wall and periodic meetings with speeches about how wonderful the company is. The “energy” created in those meetings is supposed to sustain employees until the next management approved inspirational moment. In the male-dominated workplace I always felt like I had to stay within a defined box in order to protect the image senior management wants to portray of itself. I sometimes picked up on a defensive if not fearful vibe. They are portraying an image of who they are expected to be or an image that they were led to believe portrays success.
Why don’t we just portray who we are?
I am someone who likes to have fun at work and yes, I’ve done some crazy fun things. If you come into my office on the weekend, you will find me not only with music blaring but you will probably find me dancing to it too as I type on my computer. I wish I could act like that during the work week – or at least a toned down version. I’ve always wanted to have a Song of the Day – a song based upon what they were feeling – the mood of the office, what we were working on. Anyone could suggest the song of the day then every morning at the appointed time, we would play the song – really loud of course! People can get up and dance, move around and express themselves.
Can you imagine the reaction if you played Not Afraid by Eminem really loud?
Or how about when working the office is working on budgets playing Money by Pink Floyd? I would love to play that for my cost analyst who is both an engineer and an accountant and see if I can get him up dancing!
I think Garth Brooks has some great office songs – Standing Outside the Fire, for when bolding trying new things, Friends in Low Places , a great construction site song (or for when I sat between two Congressmen or in first class on an airplane with hard hat hair.) Then there is The River for our more inspirational moments.
We can use songs to express frustration – play We’re Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister. The first minutes of this old music video portrays the expectation men grew up with to be serious – notice the names of the school banners on the wall. I think this is a fun office rebellion song.
I regret never instituting a Song of the Day. I tried to do it once on a construction site but our offices were too spread out. Looking back I wish I had done it in a few offices I worked in – but I didn’t. I probably caved in the male-dominated workplace fear of having fun. And I also thought it was too far outside the comfort zone of my workplaces.
But women need to energize the male workplace! That is one of our traits!!
You know what? We need to shake them up!
So start a song-of-the-day tradition at your office!
And if your boss is over 50, I have a great suggestion for a song to start with – Lynard Skynard’s Free Bird – all 9 minutes of it! Believe me your stoic boss has partied hearty to this song!!
When people are energized they are more creative and they are more productive. A fun workplace is not about wasting time, it is about achieving higher performance.
So play a great song and get your office moving!
Empowered Women Make the Workplace Fun!