Steve Jobs famously said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” But sadly most of us aren't engaged with our work, forget about “being in love”.
A survey by Gallup, an analytics firm, has revealed that about eight in 10 UAE workers – a whopping 85% of the working population - are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in their work. Gallup's State of the Global Workplace report, which covers 155 countries, revealed that only 16% of employees across the UAE are connected to their work.
This essentially means that an overpowering majority of the workforce is not psychologically committed to their jobs and is less likely to become more productive. The massive employee engagement issue in the UAE costs the economy highly, resulting in a monetary and productivity loss.
And let's face it: wouldn’t you rather do what you love and love what you do? Jesse Sostrin, author of Beyond the Job Description, notes that, “The reality is you don’t have to love it. You have to fall in love with the idea of working at it.”
Unsure of how can you return to the honeymoon phase of your job? Try these easy tips to re-ignite the fire.
Sign up for new thingsIf you treat your job just as a nine-to-five thing, you’re sure to wait for five in the pm. Consider becoming a joiner for anything that sounds interesting – after-hours events/training, internal mentorship programs, weekly workshops, philanthropic drives or happy hours over the weekend. You end up learning new things, and building camaraderie and engagement
Take a class to learn a new skillMost of us get stuck a rut as we only end up doing what we have been asked to, day after day. Todd Berger, president, and CEO of Chicago-based Redwood Logistics, says: “Consider attending a coding class if you’re in sales, or an Excel course if you’re in public relations…Then find a way to apply what you’ve learned to your current role.” This is sure to open your eyes to new ways of doing things and can also help you expand your current role.
Shadow someone in a different job/departmentCertified career coach Hallie Crawford says: "Job shadowing is a great way to get a sense of what it's truly like working at a specific job." While job shadowing is extremely common for interns or new recruits, seasoned team members can use this time to learn more about other job profiles and departments. Spending time in another employee's “shadow” strikes conversations and ideas, gives you a better perspective on the company at large and on your own job, Berger says.
Ask for more responsibilityMany times, doing the same thing routinely can lead to a sense of complacency. How can you push yourself out of the comfort zone? Asking for more responsibility can help; the new challenges and excitement it can also lead to personal and professional growth. Be proactive, upgrade your skill set and talk to your boss.
Create a passionate cliqueWork relationships have a much greater effect on how we perceive our jobs than we can imagine. Passion is contagious, and surrounding yourself with energetic people is sure to rejuvenate an interest in work. Be it at the office, at a Friday lunch or during professional networking mixers, interacting with people committed to their careers can help renew your sense of mission.
Celebrate your accomplishmentsIn any workplace, it's common to plan ahead and set goals for the next year or more. But it's equally important to take time to look back at past successes and celebrate your accomplishments - no matter how small they are. A “did” list gives you a renewed appreciation for the things you’ve done during the week/month, leading to an emotional boost. Apart from celebrating your own accomplishments, consider small celebrations for team wins. Focusing on the positive can over time create a cycle.
Be the change Phil Cooke, a Los Angeles-based media producer, and the author of One Big Thing, a book about figuring out your passion, recommends changing your attitude. Be nice to people. Smile. Say thanks. Appreciate your good days. Congratulate others. “Very often, we let the day-to-day frustrations cloud the bigger purpose of why we took the job to begin with,” he says, adding that it's important to “look at the big picture” of what your firm does and the part you play.
Daniel Gulati, a tech entrepreneur and author of Passion & Purpose: Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders, says: “One of the toughest things about a rut is acknowledging that you are in one.” Once you know you are unhappy and in a state of tedium, work to get out of the grind.
Gretchen Spreitzer, professor of business administration at University of Michigan, writes: “You have to look for the things in your everyday work life that give you joy, and find ways to bring more of those into your job.”