A recent MSN.com poll asked the question, “Would you choose the same career if you could do it over again?” A staggering 70 percent of respondents said, “No.” As someone who lives, eats, and breathes employee engagement, I can’t help but wonder what impact this has on the level that these employees are engaged. Is it merely a coincidence that 70 percent of people would not choose the same career and 70 percent of U.S. workers are disengaged?
I think not. In addition to the fact that I don’t believe in coincidences – I think everything happens exactly the way it is supposed to for a reason – it makes sense that if you don’t like your job, you probably are not going to give 110 percent discretionary effort, go above-and-beyond the call of duty, trust leaders, and feel an emotional connection to the organization. Liking what you do every day is the necessary foundation for employee engagement to flourish.
Does this mean that if more people liked their job employee engagement would magically improve in an organization? Not necessarily. Liking one’s job is a good start, but I’ve worked in several organizations where I loved my job but was disengaged thanks to things like untrustworthy senior leaders, a witchy supervisor, lack of honest communication, and seeing incompetent people get promoted because they knew how to ‘play the game.’
If you supervise others, be proactive and initiate a conversation with each of your direct reports. Find out if they like their career and if not, partner with them to create a plan to learn new skills and potentially change paths. If you are an individual contributor, ask yourself the MSN.com poll question. If you are not happy with your career choice, initiate a conversation with your supervisor and ask them to help you learn new skills and potentially change paths. It’s never too late to re-invent yourself.