“Work” has always been important to me. I love putting my mind to a task, creating something new, problem-solving, and improving efficiency.
Like other young children, I play-acted being different professionals such as a news reporter, a doctor, and a lawyer. One defining moment in my awareness about work actually happened when I was 9 years old.
I remember watching various sitcoms during the 1980s and noticed that a running joke in most of these television shows was about how everyone “hated” their work. I remember saying to myself that I never wanted to hate my work. Hating what you did everyday did not make any sense to my 9 year old self.
Unfortunately, I did find myself hating aspects of my professional work after my undergraduate studies. The experience of hating my work impacted me deeply because a part of me felt as though I had failed and reneged on my promise to my 9 year old self! How did I let that happen?
Did you know that according to a Gallup poll, 70% of employees are not engaged or are actively disengaged in the workplace? SEVENTY PERCENT.
[Read more about Gallup’s Study]
Gallup defines “Not-Engaged” as employees that “are essentially “checked out.” They’re sleepwalking through their workday, putting time – but not energy or passion – into their work,” while “Actively-Disengaged” workers are described as employees who “aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what their engaged co-workers accomplish.”
The overwhelming odds in favor of not being engaged in the workplace, along with my under-developed professional understanding and narrow vision for my work life, probably helped guarantee an experience of aversion related to work.
As professionals, supervisors, and business owners, we have the power and the ability to change this long-term trend of felt workplace disengagement.
A key factor in transforming this epidemic of unhappiness that many live with for 8 or more hours a day, involves each of us putting attention and effort toward intentionally developing our professional sense of self and our ability to envision a more engaged work life while taking responsibility for our own education and career management.
- Are you willing to devote time (now and at different intervals in the future) to think about and explore what you love?
- What moments helped define your awareness of work/education/career?
- What work will honor and integrate who you are and have been as a unique person in this world?
- What subjects do you study and what activities do you engage in effortlessly and joyfully?
- What social causes/movements call or move you to action (e.g., environmental sustainability, the state of education, healthcare, politics, business)?