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Are You Disengaged at Work?

Are You Disengaged at Work?

An article in this months issue of HR Magazine reports that only 33% of the workforce is engaged at work. 49% are not engaged and 18% are actively disengaged.  Those are some scary numbers! 67% of employees who are working right now are disengaged.

Are you one of them?  

There are so many reasons why employees become disengaged. Some of the reasons are very specific to the company. Many people work with difficult bosses or coworkers. Others do not feel they are being treated fairly or simply don’t feel recognized, appreciated, and/or challenged.

This article states “progress” is the #1 reason why people feel engaged – people feeling like they are positively moving forward in their job and are making a difference.

I agree with that, but there are many other factors that need to be considered as well.

I think there are a whole lot of people out there that are working in jobs that just simply are not a good fit for them and never will be for a whole variety of reasons.

One of the top reasons people quit jobs is not typically because of the company, but because of their boss or other key people they work for or work with.  The saying “people quit people, not companies” is very true.  In my experience, complaints about people far outweighed complaints about their actual work.

Who is Responsible for Me Being Engaged at Work?

I think the debate on “who is responsible for employee engagement?” is interesting. There are factors within the workforce that I believe are absolutely the employer’s responsibility. The employer needs to assure they have strong managers and leaders in place who can actively motivate, empower, and develop their employees to their fullest potential. They need to create a strong, positive, and motivational work environment and assure that all employees are being treated fairly.

Beyond that, it’s up to you! Many employees are disengaged for their own personal reasons.  I recently wrote a very similar post about how to know when it’s time to quit your job. Many people already have but still go to work every day.  They are the “quit and stay” population of the workforce which quite clearly is an alarming number of people!

What Do I Do If I Am Disengaged?

I would advise anyone who is disengaged to sit down and write down all the reasons why. Look at your list and see what things are directly related to work (difficult manager, long hours, little pay, unappreciated, etc.).  Talk to your manager about these issues.

Work related issues can and should be raised in a professional manner. If you do this, and nothing changes, then it is time for you to move on. I have seen disengaged employees become engaged after resolving their issues on many occasions. If you are a stellar employee, the company will work with you. Don’t sit and stir with it.  Bring your issues forward.

If you can’t do this for whatever reason then it is time for you to go. The facts are, you have to try to fix it or you have to actively plan to move on. Quitting and staying is not an option. It is not fair to the company and it is not fair to you!

There are also many personal reasons as to why you are disengaged.  Maybe you just don’t like your job or the work you do.  Maybe you really want to do something else; something entirely different. Maybe you just don’t believe in what your company does and you want to work somewhere that has a deeper meaning for you.

If that is your story, you need to put a plan in place to move on.

The time is now. Don’t be a part of that 67% statistic! A large majority of these people will continue working at their job day in and day out feeling disengaged and unhappy. Many will go on in that job for years!

You owe it to yourself to be happy!  You may have to stay at your job for now but there simply is no excuse out there as to why you can’t start looking for something else.

Many people who read this will think “I know.. but I can’t…”  Why not??


  1. Jessica,
    Great job on your post. I think your point about people being disengaged because they are not a good fit for the job/never will be is one that should not be glossed over. After working with hundreds of people as a recruiter & now a coach, I think this is where the rubber meets the road. Yes, there are some dreadful bosses & some even more dreadful colleagues. It's the easy way out in some cases (not all).

    I think when people are truly honest with themselves, they'll stop blaming everyone (including themselves) and get on with the work that needs to be done which is determining the place where happiness & work meet – a delicious place and well within our reach.

    I'm excited to see like-minded people out there like you challenging the status quo of hating going to work everyday. To me, that's not living – it's existing.

    • Exactly! Many times it IS just a bad fit. And not for any one big reason but for a whole lot of small reasons that simply adds up to the bad fit. Sometimes it's just a personality clash with the work culture. I think it's important that people realize it and do something about it. Like I said, not only because it's bad for the company to have a disengaged employee but it's simply not a way to live your life!

      Thanks for your comment!

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