A few blocks from the White House, Chris Bailey and I sat at a Caribou Coffee for three hours this past Monday afternoon talking about soulful, joyful work.
At one point, Chris whips a book out of his backpack to show me, called Joy at Work, A Revolutionary Approach to Fun on the Job by Dennis W. Bakke, formerly the CEO of The AES Corporation (Applied Energy Services). Chris was sure I’d love reading it, saying that Bakke and I seemed to be very much in sync in the way we looked at how work, and our workplaces, can be reinvented into much more joyful and purposeful places.
Much later that evening, finding I had some extra time on my hands, I took a walk to a Borders bookstore we’d walked by earlier, and bought a copy of the book for myself, figuring it was a good way to commemorate my time in Washington DC with Chris. In the morning I had a 12-hour travel schedule looming large, and I also knew the book would help the long plane ride pass more quickly.
Well, it was a terrific recommendation Chris, for I absolutely devoured the book, finishing its final pages mere minutes before landing. The woman sitting next to me turned out to be a retired grade school teacher, and she kept watching me, smiling, as I flagged and annotated the book the way I normally do when I have something I am not just reading, but studying intently.
She said, “You really should scan that book and send a few shots to the author, for what you’ve just done amazes me. I bet he’d think it a terrific compliment. I wish my students had loved reading their books that much.”
A book review will follow in greater detail, and Chris has one posted on his Bailey WorkPlay already if you’re anxious. For now, with possible job reinventions so much on the brain, I have to share one passage in particular with you. I could barely sit still in my seat when I first read it.