Talents - April 2016

Published on by Celine Junius Gombert - updated on

Letting go, or the uselessness of always being right. Interview with Sylvaine Pasqual of Ithaque Coaching.

Hi, Sylvaine. You coach people on enjoying their work and you specialise in career changes. Can you tell us what that’s about?

The idea is to help my clients (mostly employees, rarely companies) to get more enjoyment out of work. But don’t get me wrong – I’m not advocating putting in day care or offering services or even access to games at the workplace.
I help them answer the question, “How can I get more enjoyment out of the tasks I do and the projects I’m in charge of?” 

It’s about adapting your work to yourself, and not the other way around, which is often the case at work. This means finding a way to do your job while remaining true to yourself and in a positive dynamic. That’s my goal.

« I feel better, I’m more efficient with my work, I get along better with co-workers – and everyone comes out ahead! »

The idea of enjoying work sometimes gets a laugh out of people. It’s not always easy in a country where so many people seem to “complain for a living”, right?

Sure, that’s true, but there’s complaining, and then there’s complaining…
If complaining builds up resistance so that you can finally bring yourself to taking action, that’s not a bad thing. Complaining as a way of bringing change is good. Complaining just to get attention and stay passive is unproductive.

But many people would say “enjoyment” at work is impossible, or even undesirable. How would you respond?

Enjoying work is often equated – wrongly – with relaxation, or fun, or even not being in control. I meet people who think that if they enjoy their work, others will think they’re doing something wrong. But if I like what I do, I’ll do it better and more quickly, which gives me some time to decompress a bit, think about different ways to tackle a problem, or simply take a moment to chat with colleagues.

In your last article you gave some pointers on letting go and about the uselessness of being right. Why is that important?

Not wanting to always be right is important – especially when there’s nothing really at stake – so that we don’t always try to get an edge over others, so that we can let others believe what they’re saying and that they have a right to their own opinions, and so we can progress in our interpersonal relationships and avoid common but useless ego clashes.
Again, this is when there’s nothing truly at stake. 

« Is it really necessary to be in control, to make bothersome corrections, to tense up a discussion by injecting in our own beliefs? »

We’re not more credible by knowing more. We show greater strength when we can say we don’t know than by wanting to know everything. Hence the notion of letting go.

One of the points you highlight is finding out what motivates different people. Can you explain this and give us a few key points?

There’s a difference between skills and desires. Look for those who “like” to do something, who “want” to do it – and not always for those who “know” how to do it. That’s the key point for managing based on motivation. I’ve had the opportunity to witness this type of management several times during change management. Relationships were more calm, tensions evaporated and all involved enjoyed their work despite the change. It was also at times an opportunity to learn more about others!

To conclude, is enjoyment at work something we can choose to do?

  • Yes, but don’t confuse it with just finding easy diversions.
  • You need to think about the question, “How do I do my work?”
  • Explain your motivations to others so that they’re known.

"The best way to not get what you want is to not ask for it.” So dare to talk about what makes you tick. Not taking action would be the real risk!

Thanks so much, Sylvaine. (Find her on Twitter: @SylvainePascual)

10 steps to happiness ate work by Forbes. 
Infographic about happiness at work. 
Discover how to find happiness on the job by Rashida Jones.
And, read the results of a study on the influence of happiness on productivity

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