Ever felt like you “checked out” at work?

By Freda Marver 11 years agoNo Comments

Ever felt like you “checked out” at work?

If you said yes, there are resources in this blog for you!

  • My interview on KSTP-TV, discussing a new survey that shows how many people are NOT engaged at work
  • A 3-part Coaching Exercise to help you figure out what YOU need to feel engaged in your work.

When you think about your work life – either your current job or previous ones – have you ever felt bored, burned out, or that you were just going through the motions?

If so, you’re not alone. A recent study by Modern Survey showed that only 10% of workers are fully engaged in their work.

This troubling statistic doesn’t surprise me. Many clients contact me because they do not feel connected to their work, or because they are seeking new work that feels meaningful and engaging to them.

I was interviewed on KSTP to talk about the results of this survey and the questions it raises for individuals who find that work “isn’t working” for them:

  • What do I do – change my attitude, change my job, or find a different career?
  • Can I afford to be picky? How risky is it for me to find another job when there are ten people waiting in line for the position I have now?
  • What can I do right now to get more engaged?

Following the interview, please read on for a 3-Part Coaching Exercise to help you figure out what YOU need to feel engaged in your work.


Part 1 – Dream!

Get out a pencil and paper, or sit down at a computer, or even grab some colored pencils! Read the following, and then be ready to write:

Imagine you just finished a day at work and it was a perfect day. It went better than expected, and you left feeling really great! This can be a job you’re in now, a previous job, or one that you make up out of the air.

Write down what happened on your “dream day.” Have fun with this. Make stuff up! Imagine the unimaginable. Free pizza delivered for lunch? Write it down. President of the company went straight up to you and shook your hand? Write it down. Weave in the playful and fun with the actual tasks of the job, the environment, and the people that work with you. Take 10 minutes or so and write down the details of your perfect day.


Part 2 – Two lists

Now, look back at what you’ve written, consider these two questions, and make two lists:

  • What elements of your perfect day are currently present in your job?
  • Which elements are missing?

When you do this, you may end up with some mixed feelings. You may see there are some aspects to your job that you enjoy just as they are. You may see there are elements you wish were different, and realize there may be ways to change them. And you may feel frustrated that a lot of the negative things seem beyond your control.


Part 3 – Getting to what YOU need to feel engaged

Don’t stop now! There are two more steps.

  1. Of the positive elements that are currently present in your job, assuming there were some (!), how can you get “more” of them on a regular basis? Now that you’re aware of them, how can you remember them and breathe them in when you’re having a bad day?
  2. Of the elements that aren’t there, what themes do you see emerge? These are going to be different depending on your individual situation, but some you might see are:
    • Environment – the tangible way the place looks, sounds, smells
    • Culture – the way the place feels. Is it stressful? Competitive? What’s the “weather” like?
    • Values fit – are the things that are important to you there (eg, recognition, opportunities to do the things you like to do, challenge, fairness in who gets recognized)
    • Professional fit  – how good are you at this job? Are you as good as you’d like to be? If not, why? Is this job a good match for the things you do well? Could you be better if you got more training? Or do you feel you’re already doing a great job but those around you / above you just don’t see it?
    • Coworkers / clients – how do you get along with others who are an integral part of your work community – including peers, your managers, and if applicable, people who report to you?


Make it all the way to the end?

Some people are able to make it all the way through this exercise. Others find they get stuck at some point and can’t continue. If you got stuck, it could be helpful to figure out where the sticking points were for you, or whether another exercise might be more suitable for where you are now.

If you made it all the way through the exercise, you might be ready to explore the feelings and issues that you captured, and feel primed to move from dissatisfaction to taking action.


Want to feel more engaged in your current – or future – job?

If so, please contact me for an introductory coaching session where we can:

  • Delve into any of the exercise in more detail
  • Figure out other ways to get at these issues for you
  • Brainstorm strategies to get more of what you want from your current – or future – job
  • Explore whether you’d be happier finding something completely different

Remember: it is possible to find – or to create – more engaging, meaningful work!

Best –



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