She said a good day ain’t got no rain
She said a bad day’s when I lie in bed and think of things that might have been
– Paul Simon, Slip Slidin’ Away
It’s the small things at work that can change everything, even if only for a moment.
A good day is when I am surrounded by good people.
A good day is when I participate in a conversation where I learn something.
A good day is when a friend reminds me I am a friend.
A good day is when we get to promote someone.
A good day is when someone who used to work for me is promoted by someone else whom I’ve never met.
A good day is when a customer writes or calls to tell us we’ve exceeded their expectations.
A good day is when customer service completes an interaction that began with an unhappy customer with someone who will again trust our company.
A good day is when we stop paying legal fees on a settlement that never should have been a legal matter.
A good day is when a great former employee stops by just to say hi, then casually asks if we happen to have any openings that might be a good fit for a familiar someone.
A good day is when one person stops by another’s desk, thanks them sincerely for almost anything, and acknowledges them for a job well done (bonus points for heartfelt gratitude expressed by managers and executives).
A good day is when one employee apologizes to another for being rude without the prompting of Human Resources.
A good day is when no one has any reason to complain about anything to Human Resources.
A good day is when no injuries have occurred in the workplace for many, many months.
A good day is when someone tells me they accomplished something they never thought they could do.
A good day is when someone tells me a colleague helped them accomplish something they never thought they could do.
A good day is when a collective brainstorm that seemed to be going nowhere for hours (or days, or weeks) ends with a big idea embraced by consensus.
A good day is when we achieve a milestone, whether customer #100 or #100,000,000, celebrate together, and maybe add a sticker or t-shirt to our collections.
A good day is when bonuses exceed budget because employee performance exceeds budget.
A good day is when children visit the office and ask lots of innocent questions like: “Do people like coming here?”
A good day is when someone brings a dog to the office, and right when you are about to lose your cool, the pup jumps into your lap and you keep your head on straight.
A good day is when pizza is served, good or bad pizza. Or ice cream. Or both.
A good day is when I hear someone articulate clearly what they like most about their job—it’s especially good if I overhear it from afar, ensuring the reflection is purely authentic.
A good day is when I get to share stories like this.
A good day is when someone chooses to share one of their favorite stories with me.
A good day is any day I remember for years to come for any and all the reasons mentioned here.
A long time ago—toward the beginning of my career—a wise boss told me I would be surprised over time how many of the complex projects I would forget, how few of the business struggles I would remember more than vaguely, but how many of the people I worked beside I would long remember with deeply embedded impressions. I have come to realize the truth of that prediction with extraordinary predictability.
Many of us in high-pressure environments tend to have more bad days than good days, but a rough day doesn’t have to be a bad day if there is a turnaround event that reminds us why we originally choose our current job.
What about you? Think about it. What in your experience makes a good day at the office?