I recently came across a headline that read “Americans Hate Their Jobs.” And at one time, I was one of them. And because of that, every time I give a talk on the importance of purpose in our life and work, I always talk about engagement, or better yet, the lack of engagement in the workplace today.
Did you know that approximately 70% of employees are disengaged in their jobs? Nearly 20% poison the workplace. And this results in $550 billion annually in lost productivity. In other words, employers would be better off paying these people to stay home. The sad thing is most organizations don’t and won’t do anything about it. We love to avoid confrontation, and as a result, we have allowed disengagement to become acceptable in our workplace cultures. And it all boils down to a few things prevalent in many organizations today:
1. Lack of purpose
2. “Leaders” who are really “Managers,” and
3. Employees who are unwilling to ante-up and leave
This is why I admire companies like Zappos. Not only does Zappos know its organizational purpose, which is “Delivering Happiness,” but they are also willing to get rid of high-performing employees who don’t inspire others. Poison the workplace, and you won’t work at Zappos for long. In other words, “Good Riddance! We would rather have an average employee who really desires to be here.”
And here’s another problem: many people are consumed with fear; so much in fact they are willing to be unhappy, make others unhappy, and be miserable in their jobs. It’s better to be miserable and have a steady paycheck than it is to find purpose, meaning and fulfillment in our life and work, do what we love, and serve others.
Obviously, I disagree!
In the United States, we focus entirely too much on economic status. It is so engrained in our culture we are willing to be unhappy for something we think brings happiness. And as a result, the majority of us “go through the motions” on the “hamster wheel of life,” and dread Monday by end of day Friday.
A friend of mine once told me “life isn’t a dress rehearsal.” I didn’t really understand what that meant until I made the decision to walk away from a job I did and hated for nearly 12 years.
One day I finally woke up and realized we only get one shot at this crazy thing we call life, and that I’d rather fail miserably on my own than succeed at something I despised. Not only am I much happier, but I’m sure some people are much happier now that I’m gone.
Harry S. Truman once said “In periods when there is no leadership, society stands still. Real progress occurs when skillful, courageous leaders, seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”
For your sake, and for the sake of others, I hope that you’re one of them! So, make a name for yourself; better yet, make a difference; even better yet, make history.
The world needs you!