It seems that recently many people, perhaps most, have struggled to be inspired by their work. With such an uncertain economy, 24/7 accessibility, fear of job loss, and lack of pay increases, we’ve created work environments where many focus more on keeping up with work than on making a great contribution.
There’s some really practical reasons why you should look to be engaged in your work:
- You become more productive, thereby more valuable to your employer.
- It helps you to be more creative and bring more energy to what you do.
- It affects the attitudes of those you work with, helping you to have some fun.
- It makes you happier and more satisfied with the work you do.
It would be wonderful if this enthusiasm could just be turned on with a switch. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Your attitude is built on a lot of continuous work going on in your head, and in your interactions with others.
When I have contact with people in stores, over the phone, or even in e-mail, I can quickly tell whether they have any enthusiasm about the work they’re doing. I’m sure you’ve had this experience too: Within the first 15 seconds of calling a customer service representative, you can tell that they couldn’t care less about you as a customer, and don’t really care if you are happy with the company.
And that’s just with casual contact. When you’re working with someone more closely, there’s no way you’re going to be able to hide your attitude towards your employer and the work. So to start rebuilding, here’s some practical things you can do to change your enthusiasm and engagement:
- Create a list of why your work has value to your employer. Make it as specific as possible, and review it at least once a week.
- Also list out why your job has value to you and your family. Sure, there’s the paycheck and other benefits, but what else?
- What is it that you are learning, or could potentially be learning, so that you’ll be able to do better and more interesting work next year?
- What do you appreciate about the people you work with? Please try to focus more on the positives than the negatives; all of us have flaws, that’s just part of being human.
- Work on articulating your long term career and life goals, then create connections between what you’re doing now and how it helps you meet those goals.
- Change the language you use with others to be more optimistic and upbeat. It’s not really about “putting a happy face on everything,” it really does change your internal disposition as well. But don’t push this to such an extreme that you can’t believe it yourself and lose credibility with others.
When you shift your attitude and interactions with others, you’ll find that they’re likely to respond in kind. This makes for a much healthier work environment, one where you’re helping each other to have fun and do your best.
by Carl Dierschow