Wednesday, June 8, 2011


My house, my architecture.

I was reading a book about the management of well-being at work earlier today in the sun. The subject was actually fairly interesting and the book surprised me by providing some useful information as well as good, descriptive graphs and pictures. One of them struck my eyes particularly and I decided to analyze the figure a bit. The figure in question is The House of Work Ability, which was developed by Juhani Ilmarinen in 2004. It's based on Maslow's hierarchy of needs but implements the levels on a person's ability to work and, thus reflects on their well-being at work and what they need to have in order to achieve that well-being. I found the figure interesting mainly because of the Values floor, which I will go a bit deeper into - reflecting it to my own life as well.

The first floor of the house is about physical health. A person, a worker, needs to be in fit condition, so that they are able to complete the tasks they are given. Self-explanatory. Yet, in my opinion this floor is overlooked quite often. People tend to think that they are capable of doing mildly physical work, even though their physical condition doesn't suggest so in the long run. My supervisor complained yesterday about lower back pains that have been caused by standing for six to eight hours straight. These kind of things can be waved at with an open hand. 'It'll go away.' But eventually the smaller things can cause bigger ones and you might end up disabling yourself from working effectively.

The second floor of the house, professional competencies, is something employers and employees have to examine carefully. A competent worker knows where he/she stands at the moment in the job market and knows how to use this to their advantage. The lack of professional competencies might eventually lead into depression because of a feeling of inadequacy. I think quite a few employers put too high of an emphasis on professional competencies though. Recruiting only professionally competent people might eventually lead into the company having only similar employees and, for example, no employees who have made their way up the organizational steps of hierarchy from a professionally non-competent employee to a manager. Any organization needs stories of these 'real life heroes' who are able to show that not everything has to rely on professional competence.

The values of a person generally define the whole human being. Your values need to be 'right' for you to succeed at what you're doing. The quotation marks are there because I don't believe it's possible to tell the difference between a right value and a wrong value, unless you're using a general consensus. Sure, we can say that a person who values killing animals does not have right values for a certain job but they might be suited for another one just fine. From the third floor, we can enter the balcony from which we have a view on the surroundings of the house: family, close social network and society. These three set a vast majority of a person's values whether they like it or not. And I suppose no one can stay on the third floor without ever going out to the balcony for some fresh air.

A close friend of mine once asked me what I value in a friend and in a possible girlfriend. I told my friend that the answer is too broad to answer while cooking a dinner. I value in others what I find to be my own values. I hold quite a few things in high regard and I don't think it's my place to say them here. All I can do is go into myself and tell myself the values I'm thinking of. (I should do this more often.) I can't say which of the three outer influences to my values have been the strongest but I'm quite certain that my family values are the ones that I'm the closest knit to. That's something I hope to cling on to because family means a lot to me.

My house of work ability has been built on so many small bricks that the pyramid of Giza seems like a small pile of blocks. I think everyone should view their own physical health, competencies and values every once in a while just to keep themselves up-to-date. Your house is made of what you want it to be made of - it's the architecture of your life.

.it's my tail and i'll chase it if i want to.

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