Contributed by Ashlee Hartger, Marketing Consultant
Disclaimer: If your favorite TV scientist is Neil deGrasse Tyson or Bill Nye the Science Guy, reading on may disappoint you…
Did anyone else spend their time in quarantine binge-watching nerdy TV shows? No, just me? Where are my Trekkies?! It’s safe to say that the year 2020 saw the highest rate of TV/movie streaming in the history of forever, and all our brains are mush now. If only we would have heeded our parents’ warning! Still, there are some benefits; like the fact that my newly mushed brain automatically translates the mishaps of lovable leading characters into real-life lessons. So, you know, normal stuff. I’m told it’s reprogrammable, but until then I plan to capitalize on this very weird superpower. Let’s learn some things!
At first glance, Dr. Sheldon Cooper, theoretical physicist, and The Big Bang Theory’s most simultaneously loveable and hate-able character, might not be the first person that comes to mind when one pictures the facilitator of a happy and cohesive work environment. He might not even be the 100th. Arrogant, abrasive, and socially clumsy, Sheldon often finds himself at the center of his group’s many conflicts. And when it comes to navigating out of said conflict . . . let’s just say it’s a hard-fought battle, typically consisting of meticulous graphs and comic book references. Still, beyond the quirky exterior there’s a lot to be gleaned from this persnickety science geek, and it’s more than just physics and snark. Sheldon’s misadventures highlight the importance of dedication, connection, and friendship; things we all could use a little bit more of!
At this point you may be asking yourself, “But this is a professional blog? What do these personal qualities have to do with the workplace?” Well, read on my little geniuses, because the answers will surprise you! Okay, they probably won’t surprise you, but they’ll hopefully inspire and educate you. Plus, there are memes that I made myself, from scratch, from the internet! They are for learning.
1. Commit to your craft
Exercise: take a quick moment and think about what you think it means to be truly committed to your work. Like, Sheldon Cooper–level committed.
If your answer landed somewhere in the realm of long hours, or never taking a day off, it might be time to reevaluate some things. Committing to a craft doesn’t mean working yourself to the bone. It’s about truly valuing and connecting to what you do or the people you work with, but ideally both! Few things in the world compare to the feeling of adding value to something you love and work hard to create. That’s what it means to be committed to your work—to connect with it on the deepest level.
At JB Ashtin, we drop the word “connection” a lot, and it’s not by accident. Connecting is a lifestyle here. It means building strong relationships with coworkers and clients, growing with one another, valuing people and their unique contributions, and striving to be the very best at what we do. To us, that’s what it means to be Sheldon Cooper–level committed.
When you connect with the work you do, the coworkers you spend your time with, and the clients you serve, your work isn’t really “work” anymore. It becomes so much more. And in the spirt of loving your work, I’d be remiss if I didn’t throw in a shameless Medcomms plug! Working in medical communications means creating healthcare provider education that helps pharma companies inform and connect with HCPs. Basically, we get to play a role in evolving healthcare to better meet the needs of patients. Science and helping people. Does it get any cooler than that?
2. Make time for fun!
It’s 2021, people. Do we really need to point out that a workplace should be fun? This should be common sense by now, but alas, it is not. A quick jump onto the angry side of TikTok will show you that stuffy, unnecessarily rigid, and oftentimes toxic workplaces are very much alive and well. And to that we say, just no.
If Dr. Sheldon Cooper, serious scientist, and hater/fearer of, well, just about everything, can understand the importance of letting loose now and again, so can the rest of us. Sheldon was so fun in fact, that he created his own shenanigans catchphrase. If you ever hear someone yell the word, “BAZINGA!”, tomfoolery is sure to follow. If you can’t have fun with your coworkers, who can you have fun with? Okay, there are a lot of other people, but that’s not the point! Fun is one of life’s necessities. You should have lots of it.
Mosey yourself on over to a workplace that has March Madness bracket competitions, happy hours (both in-person and virtual), chili cookoffs, cookouts, virtual escape rooms, lunch walks, and themed staff meetings like, The Oscars, Summer Camp, and my personal favorite, the “Let’s-group-kayak-after-this-meeting” theme. Fun times = happy employees, and that’s the best kind of math.
Fun fact: We like fun so much we made it one of our core values. That’s like, extra fun.
3. Find your people.
We should never stop screaming this from mountaintops, rooftops, megaphones, microphones, all the tops and phones—find your people. They’re out there, and they’re waiting for you.
Like all of us in the real world, Sheldon has unique needs and abilities that thrive, depending on who he surrounds himself with. What does this teach us? If your workplace doesn’t help you shine, there may not be much opportunity for growth. And without the right environment, you will likely eventually burnout and leave. Culture fit is a must. A positive and healthy environment provides you the unique ability to live authentically with people who value your professional and personal contributions. Please don’t buy into the notion that the right company doesn’t exist. It absolutely does.
When I found JB Ashtin, I found people who shared my love for creativity, corny jokes, sass, and randomly bursting into Disney ballads in the middle of a hallway. Would I call these corporate must-haves? I absolutely would, and I have gleefully dueted “A Whole New World” with an equally enthusiastic coworker on a random Thursday. My point is you don’t have to settle! Keep looking until you find your Amy Farrah Fowler of workplaces. You deserve it.
There’s a lot we can learn from Dr. Sheldon Cooper, like how to elegantly land the perfect sarcastic zing, how to coin cool catchphrases, fun flag facts, and, of course, all things science. But my favorite lessons didn’t involve scientific conundrums or a textbook. It was in the unspoken lessons that we truly saw Sheldon shine. Commit to something you love, have fun, and most importantly, find where you belong. Hopefully, like Sheldon, you’ll end up surrounded by a group of humans that you trust, learn from, grow from, and who ultimately become your #WorkFam.