Them – “How’s it going today?“
Me – “I’m darn glad to be here.”
Them – “Are you ok? This is work.”
Them – “This is a paycheck. This is what I do to survive. Are you sure you heard the question?”
Them – Why would you be happy to be at work?
Two-thirds of American workers are disengaged at work, or worse, according to a new Gallup study on the American workplace.
Another 16 percent are “actively disengaged” — they resent their jobs, tend to gripe to co-workers and drag down office morale as a result.
Now I know what you are thinking, that I retired for 14 months and then re-entered the workforce.
Yes that is certainly true. And that may color the way I see work. But if you look at my work career, which has spanned decades, I have pretty much always enjoyed my jobs. Very early in my life, I understood that having jobs and trading my time for a paycheck was going to be a part of my life.
Now I have also owned six businesses. I took one company from $90K in gross sales to ¼ of a million dollars in sales in 20 months, and then sold it. My latest venture has been producing a side income for over ten years. And did I mention one of the ways I put myself through college was as a professional chimney sweep?
So, I know the difference between and the risks of running your own business and working for someone else. There are things I can control about how I make a living and things I cannot.
The reason I am happy, even excited to go to work, is because of my attitude.
How I choose to think about going to work is all I can control. And how I think about work is that I get to do so many things each day. Every day is different, and every day presents new challenges and new rewards. I often learn something new at work, and I always teach others something new.
Many people are resigned to the fact that they must work to pay the bills.
This shapes their attitude about their day long before they open the door and enter. This permeates their interactions with fellow employees, managers, and the public. It creates a tension and pulls down the morale of those who work with or around them.
When depression rears it’s ugly head, I still get to work.
When depression was taking control, I welcomed my day jobs. The structure and constant energy required would wake up my real self for the 8 or 9 hours I would be at work. It was a distraction from the unhelpful thinking depression would be sending my way. I had built up compartments for work and compartments for my depression.
I came across the term High-Functioning Depression recently.
This is me. This term includes the fact that I was hiding, concealing the depression. It was my “other job” to keep anyone from discovering I have depression. It was my “other job” to be seen as evergreen, as the person who was always in control, always calm and able to make decisions, always someone who could counted on.
Going to work has many benefits for me right now.
The day to day interaction with people recharges my batteries. And solving customer and employee problems within company policy gives me a great sense of pride and makes me feel valuable and needed.
Work is filling a need for me.
It is helping me validate my life. Now I know that I still need to feel that I am worthy and valuable just being me. And in some ways, I am just being me when I am at work. So even though I am trading my time for a paycheck, I feel I get so much more out of it.
I am not ashamed or embarrassed that I love going to work.
Depression got me to change my 30-year plan and retire early. I ended up isolated from one of the very things that was giving me strength and purpose. Work. And depression pushed, shoved, and cajoled me into leaving that support so it could isolate me, disconnect me from what I enjoyed, and slowly separate me from my support people.
Yes, I went back to work to feel needed. So what?
If work is an addiction, then I can think of far worse things to be addicted to. So many people benefit from my years of experience and I make a difference every day in people’s lives. Am I supposed to resent going to work? Am I really expected to say, “I wish I wasn’t here?”
I can control how I think about the things I must, can and want to do each day. And I choose to make the most out of each. To find the positive and not waste energy on the things I cannot control.
If you are part of the 16% who are “actively disengaged” at work, we should talk.
Your thoughts on how you think about your job are appreciated.