Author explains importance of finding joy in work


By Chris Bavender

Most employees can relate to having a day at work that leaves them feeling drained or miserable, and they wonder if it’s time to look for a new job. That’s where JoDee Curtis, author of “JoyPowered: Intentionally Creating an Inspired Workspace,” wants to help.

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“I realized when I’d interviewed people for over 20 years how many were unhappy in their role, and although my career hadn’t been perfect, when I got to the point I didn’t feel engaged I did something else,” she said. “That’s when I decided to write a book about that phenomenon – why do that? Why stay if you aren’t happy, and how might they find joy in what they are doing?”

Curtis owns Purple Ink, a Carmel-based human resources company that specializes in “customized” services. She believes the problem comes down to two things: Many people believe their workplace is depressing, or they are always waiting for someone else to change things.

“I think anyone can start to bring that joy to the workplace no matter what their role is. Sometimes it’s just looking for it instead of waiting for someone to bring it to us,” she said. “I don’t think we can share joy. I think it’s an inner feeling, a sense inside of us that is more intrinsic. Whereas happiness comes from external things such as donuts, etc. So we need to find the inner peace inside us.”

The solution, Curtis said, is to look for opportunities for what you do best or creating those opportunities.

“That doesn’t mean you have to change jobs. I think it can be looking at your role differently, or maybe trying to make something that’s boring and make a game out of it,” she said. “Trying to do their best work but thinking how can I approach this with a different attitude or approach it with the strength they have and bring it to light in a different way.”

If someone does opt to take on a new role but finds they are overwhelmed and wondering if they made the right decision, Curtis said to give it time.

“Some things take some time to figure out, and it’s all about asking questions and taking the opportunity to learn something else,” she said. “Maybe shadow someone else, or instead of waiting for someone to bring them work and saying, ‘No one gave me anything to do,’ take it upon yourself to create opportunities for work.”

Curtis is taking the JoyPowered idea and applying it to families with her second book, which should be released by the end of the year.

“It will have a little bit of a work bent to it, too, such as thinking how your work impacts your family and how what happens in the morning at the house might impact your work day,” she said. “The bottom line being to be intentional and look for what brings you joy in your life and not waiting for someone else to bring it to you.”