Are You Like 70% of American Workers?

by Vincent King · 3 comments

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.

Educate Yourself

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? 

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  • Xander says:

    First, I just found this site and I love it. This article is very potent and personal to me. I am part of the 30%, but I notice the people who get promoted in my agency are always from the 70%!

    I recognize I am more of an introvert, so I throw myself into my work and get into a “zone”. Unfortunately, introversion is very misunderstood, and most people are extroverts and tend to promote and hire people they see like them. I have been advised to actually partake in the “wasted work”ethic, to be fake and phony, and I would move up. This is troubling to me. I am finding contentment where I am though. I will continue to give 100%, but I refuse to waste my time at the proverbial water cooler, wasting taxpayer money, just to move up. It would cheapen who I am, and why I decided to go into public service.

  • Arminius Aurelius says:

    What was written here is 100 % correct . I started out as a cook in the Navy for 4 years . But Navy cooking leaves a lot to be desired . I therefore went to the Culinary Institute in New Haven , Conn to learn the proper way to cook. From there I spent 3 months in Europe and worked in one of the finest restaurants to learn European style cooking. [ I worked for nothing , it was an education ] I then worked in only the finest private clubs and restaurants such as the Plaza Hotel on Central Park South in New York City , the Bath and Tennis Club in Palm Beach , Florida and the Everglades Club in Palm Beach . I strove for perfection . Eventually I opened my own businesses . All I could afford were bankrupt businesses at the start . It was all too obvious why they failed . Eventually I had 5 restaurants for 34 years . I personally worked 12 hours a day, 6 days a week. Had managers in every business but even the well paid managers seemed to put in minimal effort . Had about 25 employees in each restaurant . Again most of them put in minimal effort . And then they wonder why they never succeed in life . My top manager was with me for 11 years , earned a good salary and got 25 % of the bottom line profit but once I started spending 6 months a year in Florida in my semi retirement years he slacked off . Finally sold the businesses and now collect the rent. I gave up in disgust .

  • Simon @ Modest Money says:

    A whooping 70%!! That is worrying, the disconnect between employees and the work is just humongous. Well, I used to be there too till I fell onto hard times and had to freelance where you are paid by the hour! Made me realize, in the office, I had it way too easy and now that am back thats what keeps me motivated to be even better. That, and always asking for more challenges 🙂

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