The Jester’s License To Bring More Purpose Into Your Job

The Jester’s License To Bring More Purpose Into Your Job

April 19, 2019 #Cocoon #Perspectives 0


I recently came across the concept of job one and job two:

Job one is the job you were hired to do and that delivered useful, profitable results for the business. Job two is everything else you need to do to look good in the organization, to protect your vulnerabilities etc. And in many organizations job two is using up over 50% of the people’s energy on average.Graham Boyd (minute 6:58)

The concept resonated strongly with my observation and proves useful because of it’s simplicity. It creates an immediate reaction of recognition in many people who I speak with in the corporate world. And while there’s an intuitive understanding that we are wasting many precious resources in our businesses by keeping these masks and games up, there is often very little confidence up to resignation when it comes to moving beyond this largely systemic issue.

Luckily more and more leaders are waking up the insanity that corporate life creates on so many levels and are actively seeking constructive ways to improve the situation. And the most powerful way to change this dynamic is to create safe spaces where people are actually invited and supported in moving beyond their masks.

The leap of faith into vulnerability

A courageous leader will at some point make that leap of faith into vulnerability and trust in advance without any guarantee for safety and reciprocal benevolence. By embodying qualities that reduce her/his investment into job two she/he will be a role model for others that it is okay to be authentic and connect on a personal, not just professional and formal level.

In that way more energy becomes available for job one and potentially the business results even improve alongside the overall satisfaction of the work experience through more fulfilling personal connections and less wasted energy. However, I believe in many contexts it is not enough to just be authentic and shift your energy to job one, especially if your job isn’t necessarily what you’d describe as your passion.

Therefore I’d like to expand the concept by adding job three:

Job one: The job you were hired to do
Job two: Everything you need to do to be able to do job one
Job three: Your true purpose for being in the organization

Ask yourself: Why are you really really in this organization? If you weren’t paid for job one – whatever it says in your contract you’re supposed to do – but could do whatever you wanted to advance the people and the organization you’re working in – what would you do?

Connect with that deeper aspect of yourself where you hear a calling to contribute to something meaningful and deeply fulfilling. And even if you cannot identify with the product or service your organization delivers (and you don’t want to change your organization for whatever reason), ask yourself: What is your gift that you can give to other people in your organization? What are people coming to you for support? How can you focus on that more?

For example, if repeatedly people come to you for emotional support, opening up to you about challenges in their personal lives, maybe you have a special gift of listening and guiding others due to your path and own experiences. How could you shift more of your energy towards serving other people in your organization, even though it might not appear to be directly related to your job one?

Obtaining your jester’s license

By shifting your identification beyond your official role and the associated masks and politics towards your deeper calling – what can you contribute to the system you’re immersed in right now? And by identifying with something larger my experience is that your courage rises and you can give yourself more permission to do less of job two. You realize there is something much more important at stake and you bring in more of the archetypal fool quality: the jester’s license to do whatever you want because you’re not accountable only to your official boss but to a deeper purpose that is expressing through you.

There can be no purpose more inspiring than to begin the age of restoration, reweaving the wondrous diversity of life that still surrounds us.Edward O. Wilson

How do we create the courage to move beyond the second job and the authority, rules and conventions – the invisible cage – of our systems? As limiting and irrational as they might seem, they often have a strong gravitational force, exert a stabilizing function and are not easy to move beyond.

In my experience we need safe spaces for ourselves first where we are accepted fully for who we are, where we can dare to be vulnerable and show ourselves with our weaknesses and fears, as much as with our dreams and excitement. The more we have these safe spaces in our lives, the more we can create them for others and move beyond the limiting conventions of our organizations. We move from „other dependent“ to „self-authoring“ (see Robert Kegan).

Cocoon is such a safe space

In September 2019 a new cycle of courageous innovators is going on a three month transformation journey in Berlin.

Read on for more details if you’re curious…

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