By Heidi Sawyer
Labor reports are indicating that employee disengagement is at a staggering 67 percent, causing a significant disruption to productivity and morale. As an employee I have often found ways to justify my disengagement by looking outward when, ultimately, personal satisfaction is more often something only I can control.
I, too, have experienced ebbs and flows of personal disengagement and invariably would place blame. After self‑reflection, I would learn that I was responsible for my own happiness at work. Here are ways that I have personally found to be helpful in re‑igniting my own enthusiasm and professional satisfaction.
Learn Something New
When you stop learning, you stop growing. Feeling stagnant is undeniably defeating. One of the easiest solutions I've found is to take on a new project, dive right in and immerse myself in the possibilities. This type of activity has spurred my creative juices and has gotten me jazzed about work. When I didn't feel like I had enough time to take on a new project, there was always someone I could learn and draw inspiration from that lead me to do great things. Like many other professionals, I use Coursera to help in my quest for lifelong learning.
Hang Around with Positive People
Misery loves company and whenever I have been wrapped up in my own unhappiness, I tended to spread it around, compounding the situation. I justified my own lack of engagement in those circumstances because, "Heck, everyone else was unhappy too." I have found that surrounding myself with happy people and avoiding water cooler gossip and commiseration are wise choices.
In my experience, many of my past work frustrations were things that I had little to no control over. Ultimately, the only thing I can control is myself. So, I focus on always doing my best work, keeping a positive attitude and thinking before acting. Positive actions beget positive results and focusing on the positives have made me quickly realize that things often aren't as bad as I had originally thought.
Take a look around the office, who is keeping their head down and staying focused on their work? Who is rising above all of the challenges and making great things happen? Ask that person out to lunch, watch them and emulate their behavior. The key to this new relationship is to make sure you are leaving your issues at the door and looking to rise to their level - not bring them down to yours.
If you believe you have done all that you can to improve your personal engagement but you still feel disconnected, remaining in your job doesn't do you or the organization any favors. It is completely okay to accept when it is no longer working or the fit isn't right. In that instance it is important to both you and your organization to recognize that and prepare for an amicable transition out.