When I speak with people who have experienced disengagement, I always ask this one question, which is, “What one word would you use to describe how you felt when going through it?” I hear words like “isolated,” “frustrated,” “invisible” and “marginalized.” All words that immediately paint a picture for me of someone that is a victim, and not in control of their own feelings and actions.
If you think others are marginalizing you, it’s probably because you are allowing them to do so.
There’s a famous line in one of my favorite movies, Dirty Dancing, where Patrick Swayze’s character says of Jennifer Grey’s character, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” There would be a lot more happiness in work and life if all of us who have experienced disengagement simply stood up and refused to be placed in the proverbial corner. Hating your job is the cornerstone of a miserable life, so why would you ever want to live like that?
Let’s touch on some important don’ts that are sure to keep you in the quicksand of disengagement if you continue these destructive behaviors.
- Don’t hang out and talk with others who are constantly putting down the organization you work for. Misery loves company. But in this case all it will do is cause you even more unhappiness and dissatisfaction with the workplace. Disengagement is contagious and spreads uncontrollably like an undetected virus.
- Don’t fail to take responsibility for your own career. It’s much easier to sit back and complain that you are stuck in a rut.No one will ever care about your professional and personal development in the same way that you do. You are the only one to gain from continual growth.
- Don’t stay in a job proven to be unchallenging and unrewarding. If you do this for too long you will become numb to the pain that comes with being stuck in place.
- Don’t continue to work for a bad or toxic manager. They will not magically wake up one day and turn in to a kind and supportive boss. If you are a target of bullying or other abusive behavior at work, you will not come out a winner in this game. In fact, there are only losers.
- Don’t continue to work for a company whose business practices you can’t support. Integrity, ethical practices and trustworthiness are the foundation of a good corporate culture that fosters high engagement. Not having these is a breeding ground for disengagement.
We all need to get rid of the victim mentality. We might be a target of someone or something, but that doesn’t mean we brought it on ourselves or deserved the pain. Giving in to the pain and taking on the role of victim has led to many a person to shut down and swim in a sea of disengagement, rather than fight back. It’s time to stop the inertia and take steps to reengage and reignite the fire within.
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