Author's note: I am a compulsive advice-giver-always have been. When my own son was in high school, he wasn't interested in his old man's advice so I wrote it down in the hope that he might change his mind one day. What follows is one piece of that advice. I trust it applies to all of us, regardless of age.
Anyone without a sense of humor is at the mercy of everyone else.
It hardly needs to be said that human beings would rather have fun than suffer through endless hours of drudgery and sorrow. The way you go through life—enjoying it, detesting it, or anything in between—is mostly a matter of attitude. And we’ve clearly established that you have the capacity to choose your attitude.
Still don’t believe that? Consider the story of the Pike Place Fish Market in downtown Seattle, Washington. You may have had a job or two that you considered to be unglamorous—flipping burgers, mowing lawns, waiting tables, bagging groceries—but try being a fishmonger.
At Pike Place Fish Market, the workers get up at four in the morning and make their way down to the fish dock to meet the commercial fishing boats as they arrive with their catch. They prepare the cold, smelly fish and arrange them for display in the market—which, although covered, is open to the air. They open at 6:00 am and sell raw fish to various customers.
The work is hard and the conditions are often tough because of the cold, damp weather in the Pacific Northwest. When the long day is over, the workers are tired, cold, and sore, and they stink to high heaven. You’d expect that most of them hate their jobs, and you wouldn’t blame them if they did.
But the employees of Pike Place Fish love their jobs—and far from spending their workdays in drudgery, they literally have a blast from beginning to end. They joke with customers, throw fish at each other as if they were footballs, and laugh at themselves and each other from morning to night. The market is a beehive of activity and laughter; people come from all over the world to visit Pike Place Fish Market.
This little company has gained fame because its employees enjoy working at jobs that most people would hate. Their secret? In 1986, owner John Yokoyama and his team made a decision to have fun and to be great with people—and they’ve been doing it ever since. That fun is infectious: it rubs off on customers, who return it back to the workers. It becomes a self-sustaining cycle.
You’re never too old to have fun—and whatever job you have, it can be fun if you choose to make it so.