Are We Still Having Fun?

Posted on April 10, 2023

Dark image with a lit arch doorway, and a person in black silhouette. Over the arch it says, "are we still having fun?"

Today’s Morning Buzz is by Greg LeBlanc – Assistant Town Manager, Town of Snowmass Village, Colo. Connect with me on LinkedIn

  • What I’m watching: Shrinking on Apple TV+
  • A hobby I enjoy: Dad jokes
  • What I’m working on: Childcare, IT Security & Community Engagement


We have all been there – one of those days. These days are so phenomenally, horrifically, catastrophically bad, that you are left questioning if your chosen profession is right for you. You might be upset that a project you have worked on for months was shut down by a committee. You might be reeling from the resignation of a key staff member. You may even have been assigned one too many projects by your boss and now your cup is now overflowing. 

These days are simply bad days.

For local government leaders, these bad days may have you thinking that public service is not for you. You may have asked yourself – Perhaps the grass is greener in the private sector? Maybe working for a different organization will make things better? Am I still having fun?

When you ask yourself the tongue-in-cheek query, “am I still having fun?” you are attempting to address the stress associated with a circumstance that is temporary in nature and will likely pass soon. The sarcastic remark indicates that you are not having much, if any, fun at all. While the intent is to lighten the mood and solicit sympathy from others experiencing the same, leaders should recognize that challenging moments are opportunities to change one’s outlook.

One way that leaders can make the best out of a bad situation is to put things into perspective. This could be as simple as expanding one’s timeline. It may be helpful to recognize that whatever is facing you, it is likely not for forever. Times of challenge eventually fade. Remind yourself this too shall pass, and you will soon be looking at this moment from the rear-view mirror. Remember, any challenge can be rebranded as an opportunity!

A second strategy is to accept the situation, focus on your capabilities, and ask yourself what is within your control. In many situations, we have more power than we realize. This can be supplemented by applying knowledge from past crises. Leveraging past experiences with current skillsets can help individuals take immediate action to influence the outcome of a challenging situation. 

Finally, leaders should embrace change. Change is a natural and constant part of life, and while not all change feels good in the moment, it can lead to growth. Accepting and embracing change allows leaders to better adapt to challenges and become more flexible. It also allows leaders to recognize that change is necessary for improvement, growth, and for development to take place. Simply put, change allows progress to happen.

Recognizing that challenging circumstances can be seen as an opportunity to learn and grow, it is important to note that work can still be fun, especially for those in the public sector. Few members of the workforce get to experience the joy of making their communities better places as a direct result of their actions. Like other sectors, the public sector is not immune to challenges. There will always be certain aspects of one’s job that are outside of their control, but local government leaders can help influence workplace culture to think of challenges as opportunities.

For example, large and daunting challenges can be broken down into smaller, attainable tasks. This could be an opportunity for local government leaders to gamify their staff’s workflow by introducing small changes.

One small change could be to create a physical task list from sticky notes.

The simple act of crumpling a small piece of paper to celebrate a completed task elicits a more meaningful response than an electronic to-do list. Another small change is to occasionally vary your location. Going off-site to work or to think something through can help reframe an issue and allow an employee to view the problem in a different light. Leaders can encourage this act as a solution for those who are stuck while tackling a challenge. Whatever you choose as a leader, know that small tweaks over time can positively affect change.

For many of us in local government, a large portion of our day is spent at work. Over the course of a career, public employees will spend tens of thousands of hours doing their jobs. Some days will be better than others, and hopefully the rewarding days outweigh the bad. But whenever we find ourselves asking, “am I still having fun?” we can take the opportunity to reframe our thinking, critically assess the situation, and know that we can overcome any challenge. Work should be fun after all, right?

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