This morning, our Director of Employee Morale, Klaus the border collie, had the zoomies. If you have a high energy dog of your own, you may know what I’m talking about. If not, then just imagine an animal running indoors with every ounce of commitment and energy it possesses, except in equal proportion to its energy is the obvious meaninglessness and aimlessness of the task itself.
When he is lost to such a mood, Klaus runs to one corner of the building, turns against the far wall, sprints in place while his paws work to build up friction on the wooden floors, and fires off toward the opposite end of the building to do the same over, and over, and over again. His mouth is agape with focus and desire as he pours his soul into the worthless yet extraordinarily physically demanding task.
I can’t help but watch, bemused by what could be over-exuberance, or the playfulness of youth, or a desire to feel free, or perhaps just plain stupidity. But what at first seems puzzling about Klaus often gives insight into my own human circumstances in the workplace. Sometimes, I feel like I’m pouring a lot of energy into something that doesn’t mean much. Sometimes I feel stupid. Like I’d imagine Klaus feels all too often, sometimes I want to break down the walls that constrain me to do things I wouldn't otherwise choose if I was absolutely free. And while sprinting in circles wouldn’t be my first choice of exercising that freedom, I have to imagine that for Klaus, it’s a pretty good way of dealing with the circumstances at hand. In those moments when we feel constrained, we too must find the best ways to deal with our circumstances.
So now there’s a bit of context around how Klaus ascended the ladder, slogging through the brutal corporate ranks at Advantage Research, promotion after promotion, all the way up to Director of Employee Morale. He remains enthusiastic, optimistic, and true no matter how stressful or long the day gets. He loves everybody he works with, and is concerned and empathetic when someone is feeling less than great. He works hard when he’s asked to, and finds (mostly) responsible ways of mitigating his boredom when he’s not doing something that he wants to be doing. Klaus is a devoted, loyal, and trusting friend, but doesn’t hand it out easily or to just anybody. Klaus cares about this place and these people, and he wants the good to remain intact and the bad to be left at the door.
No matter how strange or puzzling his behavior sometimes appears, nothing can set you on course better than a smile and a good laugh. On that note, Klaus’s absurdity isn’t the only thing that deserves such an attitude - so many other absurdities in life, and especially in the workplace, don’t deserve stress or malice, but a smile and a chuckle. When we approach our jobs with a light heart, our hard work will only be expended on the things that matter, and so if you're like Klaus and you've got some energy to burn, then by all means, go ahead and zoom.