Disengaged employees-this is what it feels like

Hi, I’m Ben, and I’m a disengaged employee.

When we talk about disengaged employees, we look at it as a problem to be solved. In some cases (like mine), there might not be an easy solution. In case you’re wondering, I am not talking about my day job. I’m talking about a second gig I have on the side for the weekends. Read on…

The signs are there

I’m talking about my refereeing side job. On the weekends during the winter season I referee high school wrestling matches. And I don’t enjoy it at all.

I’m not putting forth extra effort. I’m not invested in the long term mission. Frankly, I spend a lot of time questioning myself why I do it at all.

In case you’re wondering, that is a prime example of employee disengagement in action.

So why sign up in the first place?

Honestly, I thought it would be an easy way to get a little extra money to help with Christmas purchases. The workload doesn’t conflict with my day job, which I love, and it is fairly simple (though repetitive and time-consuming) work.

I failed to realize a few things:

  1. When I used to referee, I was comparing it with a crappy day job. By comparison the refereeing was a blast.
  2. I didn’t have kids, and it’s tough enough to spend time with them as it is due to crazy work and travel schedules.
  3. There was a reason I quit in the first place. Annoying, pointless rules, shouting parents and coaches, and sore knees from jumping around all day isn’t my idea of a good time.

The lesson

Sometimes people can’t be coaxed into enjoying their work. Sometimes people won’t love your company like you do. Sometimes “getting the job done” is the best you can hope for with some employees. And you either have to be okay with that, or you have to be prepared to replace them with someone who will be on fire about working with your company.

Some companies settle for a larger percentage of these types of “casual” employees, while others demand a higher commitment. Your job is to know which side your company settles on and help to recruit and select people who will align with that staffing arrangement.

Interested in what impact disengaged employees may have on your workplace? Click the link to read more on the high cost of disengaged employees.

5 thoughts on “Disengaged employees-this is what it feels like

  1. Pingback: The cost of disengaged employees | upstartHR

  2. Niklas Hägg

    I am a highly engaged worker that has been disengaged. While I have a lot to say on the subject, there is one other little detail I would like to comment on. Going to work for the purpose of making money so that you can buy a lot of stuff for your children is not a path to happiness. I commit to my work at work, but in terms of time I am down to 80%. The other 20% has been added to my free time with my four month son. Why work only 80%? Because I can.

    Being able to get a lot of time with my family leaves me more energized to handle my extremely dull job. That means that while I work 80%, my performance is not down as much. All in all this extra time for me with my family is a win-win situation, even though I get a little less money than I would otherwise. All my time is therefore now valued against my time spent with my family, and I ain’t paid accordingly which means that family take precedence.

    I urge any and all to think long and hard of the value of your time. Make the best you can of the time at work of course, but that does not mean that all your time should go into work. That just means that work is also your hobby and then you are either very lucky or just stupid.

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