With 51 percent of employees disengaged and 17.5 percent actively disengaged, it is now quite normal for people to hate their jobs.
You have to go back to the year 2000 – when Gallup first started measuring disengagement levels – to find a point at which employees were unhappier than they are now.
So, what are the options for this disaffected generation of workers?
Some of you will just plod on, becoming bitter and twisted in the process. This doesn’t sound fun, does it? Others will look for greener pastures, but the grass is not always greener on the other side.
How about taking a less fashionable, less radical route? How about learning to love your job again? As it turns out, it is actually very possible to do.
Don’t know where to start? Here are a few tips to kick things off:
1. Take a Sabbatical
Research from the Society for Human Resource Management shows that workers who take sabbaticals come back more engaged and more productive. Even the most burnt out employees are reinvigorated by sabbaticals.
Taking a sabbatical, then, is an excellent way to help you fall in love with your job again.
Check your employee handbook; you may find that paid or unpaid sabbaticals are open to you. Even if your company does not offer a formal sabbatical program, you may be able to negotiate some time off.
Remember, however, that sabbaticals are not just about putting your feet up. Actually, the most rejuvenating sabbaticals involve community or charity work that allows workers to operate in totally new environments.
2. Get Some Work/Life Balance
Research shows that Americans are too afraid and too stressed out to take vacation time. They are also working longer hours, and this combination is taking its toll: According to a survey from Staples Advantage, 53 percent of Americans are feeling burnt out and overworked.
The lack of work/life balance is likely a major factor behind much of the employee disengagement we see in America and elsewhere. It’s not that we all hate our jobs – it’s that we don’t want to spend every waking hour at our jobs.
If you work/life balance needs some readjusting, then start taking your holidays. Cut the longer hours, too, as research shows that consistently working more than 40 hours a week will actually make you less productive, less effective, and less engaged.
Tuning up your work/life balance may require an honest conversation with your boss, but if you can prove it will help you fall in love with your job again, then it’s very likely that your manager will be eager to help.
3. Reduce Your Working Hours
If your boss isn’t being very helpful with respect to your work/life balance, you might want to try a more official route by negotiating a formal reduction of your hours. Perhaps it’s time for you to go part-time for a little bit in order to revitalize yourself?
4. Ask for a New Challenge
Research tells us that many workers become disengaged when their jobs lake meaning, a sense of competence, and/or a sense of progress. One way to fall back in love with your job again is to restore those three intrinsic motivators.
Arrange a meeting with your boss and ask for a new challenge or some new responsibilities – anything that will help your work feel more meaningful and challenging, really.
5. Improve Your Social Relationships
Gallup found that employees who report having a best friend at work score much more highly on engagement assessments. If you’re feeling disengaged, then, it may be time to start socializing with your coworkers more. Go out for happy hours, join an intramural, arrange after-work activities – anything that can help you find a friend who will walk through the trials and tribulations of work life with you.
If you feel that you’ve reached the end of the road in your current job, don’t just soldier on – that’s not healthy, and it won’t fix anything. You don’t have to necessarily search for greener pastures outside the company, either.
What you may want to do is make the best of what you have. That may just be exactly what you need to fall back in love with your job again!