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Not Loving What You Do
According to Gallup, 71% of American workers are either not engaged, or actively disengaged, at their work. What does "engaged" mean? You know what it means. Gallup defines it as "emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and are less likely to be productive". 19% of workers are actively disengaged. This means they hate their jobs and are terrible at them. That's one out of five workers...and that's just in the US where worker productivity tends to be the highest in the Western world. I have always said that most people don't hate their jobs, instead most people tolerate their jobs. They don't like it, but they don't hate it...they simply consider it a crappy but necessary evil. I realize I'm not the typical person, but I find it astounding to live a life where I spent 40 hours a week (or more) working 45 years of my life (or more) at something I didn't like. You only get one life, one shot. Wasting most of it on something you don't like (or worse, actually hate like those 19%) probably isn't a good idea. I am not one of those people who say you must "do what you love". Often what you love may have something with zero market demand. I would love for my work to be sitting at home writing fantasy novels and reading history all day, but I would never make lots of money doing that, no matter how much I loved doing it.' It's also impossible to love 100% of what you do. I run three businesses and I really enjoy my work. But I admit, there's about 20% of each of those businesses I really don't like doing. Even if you really love what you do, I think it would be pretty tough, if not impossible, to literally love 100% of your work 100% of the time. I think 80% is pretty good though...especially if 71% of Americans are at 0%. I think that's an achievable goal every working person should shoot for. Get to the point where you really enjoy at least 70%-80% of your work. If you're in those 71% of disengaged people, you're literally wasting the gift of life. At the same time, there's no reason to pursue this "You must love your work!!!" panacea often touted by self-improvement gurus. There's a middle ground you must reach.
This article was originally published on June 8, 2014