Career Development | Winston-Salem, NC

Our group began by sharing answers to the question, “What was your favorite job and why?” We quickly realized that,although the jobs we had held spanned many different areas – from landscaping to sales, and theater to fungus – the reasons we enjoyed these jobs were quite similar.

We began a group discussion about how many of us learned a new skill in our job or were able to teach others as part of our job responsibilities. Each person mentioned either learning or teaching when talking about a favorite job. One particular example resonated with the group: One participant worked for a period in Old Salem. It was his responsibility to research meals that would have been cooked by the Moravians during that time period. He also had to ensure that the meals were seasonally appropriate to what resources would have been available during different times of the year. He then prepared the meals over an open fire and shared the meals and knowledge he gained through his research with visitors and other staff members. In a different role, another participant worked at a sporting goods store geared towards female athletes. One of the things she found most enjoyable was sharing her knowledge of field hockey with young athletes.

We translated this discussion of teaching and learning to the enjoyment gained from interacting with other people, and also connected it to the joy of hearing the stories of other people and getting to know our co-workers and customers. This naturally led to a conversation about teamwork and the importance of working together to accomplish a greater goal. After a lengthy discussion, we dove into even deeper meaning: the importance of camaraderie in the work environment.

The conversation concluded with all participants sharing what they took away from the conversation, and some clear themes emerged:

  • It is important to be able to both work hard and play hard with your colleagues;
  • Learning about others and being able to laugh about and enjoy differences improves the working environment;
  • And most importantly, having a sense of belonging, a sense of community and care was most valued by our group.

As University staff, we are all lucky to work at a place where we feel that we belong to the Wake Forest family.

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