A recent Gallup poll found that only 30% of working Americans are actively engaged in their jobs. Not only is it troubling that this many people hate their jobs, but this disengagement costs the US economy billions of dollars.
If you’re disengaged at work, you’re probably one of those people that goes in, has their morning coffee, chats up the cubicle worker next door, then sits and runs his cubicle on autopilot. You stand for lunch and bathroom breaks only, while not accomplishing all that much in between.
It’s not your fault. You have no reason to be motivated toward more, no reason to put in extra effort. You don’t get raises or bonuses. What’s the point in working hard, right?
You have to earn those bonuses and that $100/month raise. If you think your company doesn’t offer those things, you’re wrong. They may not advertise them, but they’re certainly there. You just might have to surpass expectations to prove your value.
Thus far, you haven’t had any reason to go above and beyond. But you won’t earn more if you don’t. So dig in and draw more from your job.
Here are three quick ways to become engaged at work:
Rejuvenate Your Outlook
When you first started your job, you were probably excited to be there. Then time marched forward and trampled that excitement. Now’s your chance to bring back that feeling of drive and ownership.
Return to your company’s manifesto, website, or mission statement. Re-read it. Let their energy renew yours. Do this often to remind yourself that you’re there as part of the greater good — and that your goal is to grow this business as much as possible.
Also take the time to re-read your job description. It’s likely they’ve described you in an energizing light, which will hopefully light that fire again.
What new developments or techniques can you leverage to help you stand out in a sea of sameness? Continuously educate yourself in your field, so you can take advantage of opportunities to shine with your particular knowledge.
Set your sights on a higher position in your office, and learn how to perform it. Pay careful attention to what’s being said and done, so when needs surface, you won’t be caught stuttering or wishing you had better answers. You can make their jaws drop instead.
Knowledge is remarkably powerful — the best tool in the box — and constant learning keeps you sharp and engaged.
Go Above and Beyond
Once you have an idea about how these upper positions work, start edging toward them. Deliver reports they don’t expect to see from you. Explain numbers they don’t know you can grasp. Secure new clients, even if it isn’t your “job” to do so. The more you do, the more they’ll see, and the more valuable you’ll become.
As a human, you have a desire and a need to contribute to your organization. It’s how you’re wired. When you satisfy that need to contribute, you satisfy your own needs. That, in itself, makes you want to engage. That engagement is what will differentiate you most from the 70% of Americans who are lost — and who probably hate showing up to work each day.
How do you stay engaged in your job?