I am sure you have all experienced it as often as I have -- the worker
who has decided that their job is not meant to offer customer service
-- or any service at all. Their job is only to fill a particular space
for a particular amount of time and receive their paycheck at the end
of the week. This attitude doesn't just effect retail and other customer
service operations, though. Nearly any company can fall victim to employees
who have just stopped trying.
I am writing about this phenomenon not to blame you or shame you.
In most cases, if you are taking the time to read or listen to
Opportunities, you have already shown the initiative to improve your
career. There are times, though, when those around you can start
to exhibit this behavior or, even worse, when problems with your
can lead you down the path to disengagement and despair. I want you
to clearly understand the warning signs so you can avert disaster.
Are you disengaged?
There are several causes for disengagement in your job, nearly all
of which have a solution. Sometimes in the depths of a career problem,
though, we can fail to see the way out. Perhaps your job isn't challenging.
This happens to many people. They start in an entry-level position
which they outgrow before the company has a new position to offer them – or
before upper management notices. They are disengaged simply because
there is not enough to do. As common as this might be, this is no excuse.
If your job is not challenging you, then it is up to you to find new
challenges within your job or expand it of your own accord.
One of the easiest solutions is to find additional tasks that you can
do when your own work is done. Anyone who has worked in food service
has surely heard the phrase, "If you've got time to lean, you've
got time to clean." It is a manager's way of, unsubtly, telling
you to do something other than stand around. You can use this cliche
to your advantage, though. Offering your hands to other workers or
your manager shows a sense of initiative. It also allows you to investigate
the other jobs that surround yours. You might find that another position
interests you more than your current one. If you hadn't taken the time
-- made the offer -- to help, you might never have known.
You can't use this as an excuse for not doing your assigned work, however.
If you want to move to a different position, you have to work your
way up or over and not simply abandon you current job. Doing so will
undo all the good you have tried to accomplish and leave people wondering
if they can trust you with higher responsibilities.
Is your management disengaged?
Management problems can also cause disengagement among employees. If
you are trying your best, but still having difficulties in your job,
you may need to examine this possibility further. Too often, management
can make work more difficult and discourage workers from doing their
job well. It seems ludicrous, but when management fails to reward good
service and good work, employees will disengage from their work and
simply "do their time." Does management fail to listen to
you? Do they seem to not care about your work? Are your managers disengaged
themselves? This is probably the worst situation, as any initiative
on your part will probably be seen as a threat by your manager. This
quickly leads to friction and even more disengagement.
Unfortunately, in this situation, there may be little that you can
do. You could attempt to be promoted to replace your manager. You could
take your concerns to the next level of management or you could simply
leave and find a better job where you won’t have to face such
roadblocks. All of these options have their own issues, but if you
truly like your job and the company where you work, you might want
to consider fighting to make it better.
Being disengaged from your work is a warning sign we all need to
heed. Whether this disengagement comes from an unchallenging job,
co-workers or unchallenged management, it is up to you to find a
way out. Failing to do so could leave you disgruntled, depressed
from your work and will surely damage your overall career.
- END -