Have you recently gone from no job to a bad job?
A lot of people have emerged from their parents’ basement. They are dressed for work that they loathe. You know why. The crazy boss. Lazy coworkers. Angry customers. Too many meetings. Not enough freedom. The air conditioning is too cold. Someone steals your lunch from the fridge.
Even if the compensation is good enough, there’s no “there” there. Nothing that personally means anything to you.
Why? The job is about productivity not people.
Maybe your keystrokes are counted to ensure you meet quota. Maybe your job is to get on and off the phone as quickly as possible.
Or maybe the product or service is deficient. It does less than it could. Less than the competitors do. It’s not the latest in technology, fashion, approach or media.
Or maybe you don’t like the customers. You can’t relate to their problems. You never use your company’s product or service, because you like something else better.
Or maybe, as we used to say in advertising, your job is to “put lipstick on that pig.” The product or service is truly awful. You are embarrassed to tell people what you do.
There’s at least one theory that gets to the root of the reason you actually want to go back into the basement.
That theory is:
You feel like you don’t matter.
You feel like you are not making a difference.
You have been cut off from a part of yourself that is dying to be expressed.
Before you quit or start looking elsewhere: consider what would boost your personal involvement. What would ignite your feel good emotions? What could you do that is OUTSIDE of your job description that would make you happy or proud?
An enlightened CEO or department head knows how important it is to develop your personal investment in the job. And, we know it has nothing to do with the tasks or skills.
When we can create meaning, we retain employees. And that meaning needs to be genuine, and personally gratifying. In other words, meaning is worth more than money to employees. All the studies have shown that.
A janitor who interacts with employees working after hours might find joy in the jokes he tells to his audience of over-timers. A customer service rep who actually meets a tech-frazzled customer, sees that solving her problem really saves that customer’s business.
Whatever you do, see if you can see yourself as a hero.
So your task is to think beyond the tasks you must do. Think about the results you help accomplish, and how it changes lives. Don’t wait for an enlightened boss to do it for you. In fact, if you do this for yourself, you are likely to become the boss.