I’m fascinated by the varying attitudes people bring to the workplace. Some I can easily empathise with – others, not so much…
I have worked for companies that transgress every rule in the book with regard to fostering employee engagement. Conversely, I have interacted with employees who trashed these rules themselves and were amazed when their dream jobs collapsed around them
An example of this type of self-destructive behaviour stands out clearly in my mind even though it’s now many years
down the line.
A group of us were in a workshop which focussed on applying lateral thinking to our high unemployment rate. One of the women whom we had interviewed had left us scratching our heads
; I still get this reaction from delegates when I recount this example during a workshop. It went something like this:
Ethel had asked to speak with the group - she was on a 6 month contract with the organisation. This was scheduled to end at the close of the following month and she had heard nothing from HR about its possible extension - she was therefore justifiably anxious
I asked her to detail her duties and how busy they kept her. She answered with a dismissive wave of her hand saying that she spent a large portion of each day watching DVD’s as there was a paucity of work. This obviously had to be explored, so I asked her if she felt demotivated as a result…. She said the only thing that caused her anxiety was the possibility that the lack of productive output
would render her function null and void. She thought this might be why they hadn’t yet offered her an extension – even though logic dictated her position be filled – she was the receptionist in this department.
I could understand her insecurity and asked if she had done anything to expand her position
- perhaps by speaking to people in her division, or contacting other departments and offering to assist with their overflow typing.
Her reply was immediate and very telling: “I’m not going to offer to do their work – they’ve never offered to do any of mine!”
Is your chin hitting the ground right now?? Everyone around the table was flabbergasted – for a time we simply didn’t know what to say. More importantly, we couldn’t offer any advice. How does one address such a frightening lack of insight, especially with someone who has pretty much painted herself as expendable? Not expendable by virtue of the lack of work assigned her. Nope – not that. It was her attitude that did it for her!
I count eagerness to learn as one of the qualities most essential to success
in any field. Conversely, apathy is an extremely unattractive quality and one of the most self-destructive – especially when you’re not calling the shots.
Needless to say, we did not recommend her contract be renewed
Don’t fall into this trap – look for courses with which to better yourself. At Staff Training
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