Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Reconnecting and re-engaging with work IS reconnecting to life
I hear from a lot of people who are disconnected and unengaged with their work. If you're one of them, you have a whole lot of company! According to a 2016 survey of 2500 employers and employees reported in the Canadian HR Reporter, almost half of professionals are unhappy in their jobs.
The study points to "right fit" as a reason for this. Unfortunately, at least in the study, most employers and employees did not really seem able to define "right fit". To me, what is interesting is that the reason people are unhappy, or even leave an organization, seem to have to do with things beyond salary and benefits.
Interestingly, when I speak with people around me who are not engaged in, or downright unhappy about work, they typically have a good number of reasons about why it is so. These reasons are often reasonable and compelling. There are stories about nasty bosses and poorly outlined work expectations, about lack of flexibility in working hours and locations, there are stories about constantly changing deadlines and micromanaging supervisors, there are even stories about truly horrible, mean senior management and work objectives that don’t seem to be rooted in any kind of overall vision.
So yes, I get it. Work can suck and sometimes it seems like the easiest and best solution to keep collecting that pay and keep going into the office (or more likely the cubicle) while doing the bare minimum and certainly emotionally disengaging because otherwise it just would not be sustainable or survivable.
I get it.
I’ve been there.
And all of those reasons just do not matter.
They don’t matter unless you can change them and chances are you would have already changed them if you could have, right?
The problem is that by disengaging with your work, by no longer caring, you are actually throwing away large chunks of your life. Your life. Not your boss’s, your co-workers, your executive team’s. And to me, that’s a problem.
When I have been in there, I ended up realizing that I no longer wanted to give the situations and/or people who were making me unhappy the power to continue to do so. Was changing the situation easy? NO! Did I find a solution I could make work quickly? NO!
What I did do, and what a number of clients and friends have done is to recognize, at the very least, that I first needed to take back my power. This led to thinking about how I might do it. First though, came the decision to at least consider doing something. THAT was the major piece. The DECISION to do something about the situation that wasn’t going my way.
What did I do? A number of things. I decided to reconnect with the pieces of work that made sense to me and the overall reason that I had wanted to be in the job in the first place. I also furthered my learning and considered my potential exit strategies. Looking critically at my situation helped me immediately, even though in my case, I ended up deciding to leave.
There is nothing quite like updating a resume to begin feeling like you are taking back some power – even if you never send it out, and if you do, well before you get an offer. I also lined up support – family and friends I could trust with the challenges I was facing and the decisions I was making, acquaintances in other parts of the larger organization and beyond who might have a different view than mine and so provided a solid sounding board without any bias, a fantastic coach who worked with me as I worked through all the things I could do to re-engage with work, whether it be in the current job or future work.
Work won’t always be fun. It should be something you can engage in wholeheartedly at least most of the time. It should align with our most important values. It should allow us to feel that we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves, be it in the management of a team, the resolution of a problem, the completion of a project, the service to a client. If that isn’t currently the case, I would invite you consider that you can still engage with at least parts of your work, thereby being engaged in more of your life. Even if you end up leaving your current job for a new challenge.
The question I will leave you with is … what can you start doing today to re-engage in a major part of your life, namely your work, and feel more fulfilled and alive?