Have you ever felt excited to go to work? I have, but the minute I get there, a sudden feeling of resentment rushes over me. I get these thoughts of running away; disappearing to another state, country, continent; living off of crabs and coconuts on a beach, somewhere my bosses or my debt collectors can’t reach me. But you gather yourself, give yourself a half-assed pump up and you face your sorrows by responding to the casual work salutation, “Hey, how’s it going?” with a bitter “Oh, you know, just another day in paradise!”
The problem is, this rancid attitude is more common than the salutation. I admit, the response has been my default for a long while. (I stole it from another bitter employee I said hello to at work.) It’s quite versatile really. You can use it in the restaurant industry, landscaping business, or even in the office! However, through the years at several different jobs, I’ve noticed a common theme—nobody likes work, including the constantly criticized millennial. How can we as millennials improve our on-the-job enthusiasm and avoid getting this bad rap?
The secret is to get engaged—to your job. Whether you’re under-employed scrubbing toilets at the local community college or an overwhelmed Canadian fly-fishing major working as an analyst at the investment bank your dad’s buddy hooked you up with, you have got to get engaged. What does it mean to get “engaged to your job?” Well, it means just that, commit to it. Put a ring on it. Love it. Go to the bar for drinks and watch Youtube with it. Okay, that might be pushing it, but truly engage with your job. In essence, bring out your inner Spongebob.
The Truth is in the Data
Getting engaged in your role and with your organization is correlated with higher profits (for them and you), a healthier lifestyle, and, more importantly, a quicker work day. It also allows you to positively foster the relationships with your coworkers and management team that will inevitably serve to help you in the long-run. People with high levels of engagement, even in under-employed situations, almost always get first dibs at opportunities that can lead to a job or career that’s more your style.
According to a new Gallop statistic, employment engagement has been flat in May. 31.5% of surveyed employees have reported “being engaged”—down from 31.7% in January. Okay, so approximately 70% of workers hate their job. Got it.
Furthermore, 70% of those surveyed believe the responsibility of engaging employees should be management. However, only 10% of the population has a knack for leading and motivating people, and 18% of workers in management are in this group. This leaves 82% of organization and business leaders to royally suck at pumping employees up for their job. This means it’s time to take engagement into your own hands.
Rules of Engagement
First step to becoming more engaged is to explore different ways to make your tasks more exciting. Whether it’s waiting tables, making spreadsheets, or stuffing envelope after envelope after envelope, approach the task in with a competitive mindset. Act like you’re going to the “Tedius Olympics” to win the gold.
Ask questions, even ones you probably know the answers to, in order to show your leaders and coworkers that you truly are interested in the job. Seek out ways to help or add value to your role, team, and organization, by engaging your leaders. All it takes is just a simple, “Hey boss, how can I help?” If people think you’re brown-nosing, just correct the phrase with, “I’m just engaged, yo!” Speaking of brown-nosing, if you score a job as a “Flatus Odor Judge
,” try to see the glass half-full by thinking about how wonderful your own flatulence smells.
Another valuable tool would be to take a Clifton’s StrengthsFinder Test. Although you’ve got to truck through a 180-question test, it really does provide detailed insights into your strengths and how to make the most of them. Knowing your strengths is crucial in how you approach problems, your role, and the company you work for, as it allows you to use your comparative advantages. Using your strengths will make you 6 times more likely to become engaged at your job.
One complaint that I regularly hear from the old folks about our generation is how we have a sense of entitlement. I really want to disagree, but due to our high levels of underemployment, and low-levels of engagement, we might be giving off that unwanted vibe. Getting into your dream gig may take a little longer than you want. However, being engaged at your transitional jobs will undeniably open that door for you quicker than if you’re dis-engaged. Moreover, if we spend about 8.7 hours a day at work for around 40 years of our life, doesn’t it make sense to at least enjoy your time there? Hopefully these little tidbits will help take the bitterness out of our default response and really mean it when we say, “just another day in paradise.”