A recent online Gallup poll shows that 70% of American workers feel "emotionally disconnected" from their jobs. In equally surprising news, water is wet, Leonardo DiCaprio wants an Oscar, this kangaroo is relaxed and the sun sets in the west. You've sent us reeling, gallup.com! Reeeeeeeeling!
Calm yourself, worker bees! The distress and shock you're suddenly feeling is too unfamiliar of an emotion for you. Feel it too fast and your brain could literally explode. Know that the process of un-numbing is a slow and complicated one — we first have to undo the years of conditioning by the American workplace that made you stop caring to begin with and then we have to rebuild you emotionally from the inside.
Are you relaxed? Have you returned to your comfort zone of complacency? Good, let's proceed.
According to Gallup’s ongoing “State of the American Workforce” survey, 70% of American workers report that they are ‘not engaged' and are emotionally disconnected from their work, 52% said they aren't engaged at all and 18% report that they are actively disengaged in their work. Men were more likely than women to be disengaged (probably because women are more conditioned to grin and bear it), people with college educations are more dissatisfied than those with less education and “Millennials are most likely of all generations to say they will leave their jobs in the next 12 months if the job market improves.” (#yolo)
Gallop blames the current state of the American workforce on management styles that downplay workers' contributions and make them feel undervalued. That's definitely true, but what's also true is that work can suck no matter what and "checking out" is a fairly weathered coping mechanism that most of us have been using since grade school. If employers want their employees to feel more engaged, they should — as Gallup suggests — make the work itself more engaging through encouragement, participation and by rewarding innovation. Or they could do what my elementary school teachers did to keep us engaged and take us to Six Flags once a year. Manager's choice!
Image via Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.