It’s the end of 2014, and I’ve been traveling for the last week. There’s one trend I’ve picked up on.
A lot of people in my life are generally negative about work. A little mad, a little disenchanted about where they find themselves in life—and work is always a part of it.
Is that you? Are you having a Christmas break pity party for yourself?
Welcome to what I like to call CAMP SUCK-IT-UP.
The answer is always more about you than it is about other people or your company. There’s a line from The Usual Suspects that goes like this from Verbal Kent:
“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
I’ll modify that line to get into the engagement-at-work industry a bit:
“The greatest trick the employee engagement industry ever played was convincing the world that ALL unengaged employees could be converted to engaged.”
Because they can’t. There’s a big portion of unengaged employees that have to work on “them” (heart/chest pound motion) before Gallup can help. Here’s what I have to say to those people:
1. No ones cares about you and your career except you. We like to pretend otherwise, but let’s face it—no one cares about your happiness at work except you. Sure, you can have a great manager and work for a great company, but the reality is there are only so many resources and so much time.
You don’t get a personal career caddy. If you want to be excited about your job/career, you need to look inward and figure it out.
2. The answer to getting excited about work is often more about you than it is about your job/company. I’ve got a theory that everyone has between 2-5 years of shelf life at any job, then they start mailing it in. It’s not a critisism, it’s just generally a fact based on the human condition.
Once your shelf life is up, you either have to change jobs to get excited about something for awhile, or attempt to reinvent yourself in the job you’re currently in.
It’s easier to leave and get a change of scenery than it is to reinvent yourself in your current job. But that’s often fool’s gold—the issue is often your attitude towards work, not the work itself. Those that choose to change jobs instead of figuring out a way to get excited about work again often find themselves needing to change jobs again in short order.
3. Your motivation to really recharge your work batteries may exist outside of work—not inside. Here’s an idea: maybe the answer isn’t even in your current job. Maybe the answer to getting excited about what you do for a living is to start building a business outside of your job, volunteering time towards a non-profit, etc.
The key in doing this is to find another outlet for your professional identity—not to change professions altogether. The new challenge inside your profession (but outside of your job) can make you more positive about the day-to-day grind. Broaden your view of who you are professionally.
4. Sometimes you’ve just given up. It’s easier to blame the man than to dig out of your pity party. The hardest thing I’ve seen is when it’s you, and you have no interest in trying to fight your way out of the lull in your career. I get it—you’ve got kids, need to make money, etc. but you think your job sucks. Unfortunately, you don’t want to do anything I’ve described, or even try to find another job—because that change is just too hard. So you’re disgruntled and don’t want to try anything that requires more work.
Continue to work just hard enough not to get fired. Sucks to be you.
5. There’s more at stake than your state of mind at work. At the end of the day, you’ve got to figure this out, mainly because being generally shitty about what you do for a living not only impacts you—it also impacts everyone around you—family, friends, even the people that serve your coffee or whatever harder stuff you’ve taken to drinking way too early in the day.
Good luck back at work this week or next. No one’s going to pull you out of your big a$$ personal slump except you.