The Playground Provides An Interesting Parallel to The Workplace

Jennifer Prosek  Follow

When was the last time you saw monkey bars, seesaws or tall slides at the playground?  According to The New York Times, anything that is remotely risky at the playground is disappearing.  But professors and researchers are saying that risky play is important to our development as children.  Many are arguing that the thrills and learning associated with taking risks and mastering challenges at an early age is an essential part of human development.  By gradually exposing children to more dangers at the playground, children learn how to tackle challenges and issues.  Risky play is potentially essential.

  Picture: Bruce Magilton, Herald Sun

I personally believe that this concept of risk runs parallel in the workplace.  If work is too easy and doesn’t include enough risk we get bored and stop learning.  Like on the playground, safety is important (we can’t take risks at our clients expense for example), but too much safety limits creative thinking and professional development.  At CJP, we try and offer entrepreneurial opportunities to our employees partially because these kinds of experiences provide a level of risk that is exciting, fresh and new.  Entrepreneurs get to take risk everyday in their work and they reap the rewards and exhilaration of that risk.  Recently, for example, one of our CJP entrepreneurs lobbied me with the idea of hosting a major media party for 200 journalists.  We had never done this before.  Because of his enthusiasm and confidence, we supported the idea despite the risks; which included a fairly hefty investment, RSVP-risk etc.

Well, the idea turned out to be a huge success with 215 journalists attending our first ever CJP Journalist Party.  The individual who proposed the high risk, high reward idea ultimately got to experience the rewards of success which included high praise from his clients, the media and his peers.

Earlier this week we held our annual summer offsite and one of the main messages I tried to express to our team is that at CJP you are encouraged to take risks, to follow your passions and career dreams.  The New York Times article this week made me think, what I am really trying to do at CJP is to provide a playground of sorts to our “kids”; A place that is safe enough to avoid a near death experience, but not safe enough to prevent a broken arm here or there.  A place where you can challenge yourself every day by reaching for a higher rung on a jungle gym where the highest up opportunities provide the most learning.  And if you haven’t lost that kid-like sensibility, like the playground, it also should be a place where you have fun and make friends along the way! CJP

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