A recent Gallup poll found that 70 percent of American workers are disengaged from their work. All that not-caring has high costs for both the economy and for individual businesses.
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How high a cost? One ADP study puts the price tag at over $2,000 per employee for companies, but as James O’Brien at Open Forum points out, the larger cost is to the economy, which can reflect a kind of chain reaction in which one disengaged employee affects both his coworkers and clients, leading to lost productivity and business.
Still, from an employee perspective, the most important impact is the one disengagement has on the employee’s own personal and professional life. After all, no one wants to spend the bulk of their waking life doing something they don’t care about.
If you’re feeling burned out and want to be more excited about what you’re doing, a few simple steps can help:
1. Avoid negative people.
“It can be cathartic to vent your job-related frustrations with co-workers, but that also reinforces those frustrations — and may further fuel the fire,” writes Bill Reagan at Volt Workforce Solutions.
Steer clear of folks who’ll encourage you to dwell on your less-positive feelings about work, and seek out co-workers who have a better attitude.
2. Set short-term goals.
Don’t get bogged down thinking about everything you need to accomplish by the end of the day, month, or year, or allow time to slip away without building toward something larger. By taking control of smaller units of time, you’ll get more done and feel a greater sense of accomplishment.
3. Build your network.
Use LinkedIn and real-life connections to show you different ways to work. Talk to people who love their jobs, or people whose jobs you think you’d love. Ask questions about how they got to where they are. In addition to laying the foundation for a career change that might make you happier in the long run, connecting with other people will make you feel less trapped today. And that’s a great way to feel more engaged even while you’re working at your less-than-dream job.
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