You Do You: Get Selfish About Your Engagement At Work [Part 1 of 4]

You Do You - Engagement at work
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When I started this blog my definition of “engagement” was pretty specific. I have always been one of those people who actually likes to work. I never really minded homework and I actually enjoyed writing research papers in college. When I first started working at a communications agency, I took a lot of pride in doing the grunt work – it was mind numbing, but with a little focus I could get it done correctly, earning a lot of praise and new projects from my managers. If you watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine, yes, I have some qualities in common with Amy.

But as time went on, I would find myself getting frustrated at work. I would get bogged down in day-to-day tactics and negative feedback, and I would lose sight of the big picture. I struggled to feel that same level of satisfaction with my work. I became disengaged. This blog is the tool I wish I had during those times. Tips, tricks, and hopefully inspiration, to help you lift your eyes from your computer screen from time to time – re-engaging with the work that, deep down, you still enjoy.

This definition of engagement is a little different from “employee engagement” in the HR world. EngageforSuccess.org defines employee engagement as:

… a workplace approach designed to ensure that employees are committed to their organization’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organizational success, and are able at the same time to enhance their own sense of well-being.

The goal of an employee engagement program is to increase employee productivity, innovation, and loyalty. At the organization level, that means a stronger bottom line. As an individual, that means more satisfaction and achievement.

Many of us don’t work in organizations with HR programs designed to keep us happy and motivated. We are responsible for our own engagement, our own productivity, and ultimately our own enjoyment of the work that we do.

What does it mean to take responsibility for your own engagement?

It means that you need to understand your organization’s goals and what a “good employee” looks like. At your organization, that is the standard to work towards and each will be a little different. It is important to take the time to think through what it will take to be successful at your workplace.

It also means that you need to define your own standard and your own goals for your career. You can’t rely on others (or a nonexistent employee engagement program) to get you out of bed and performing at a high level each day. So understand what a “good employee” looks like, and then ask: what kind of professional do I want to be? You have to do you.

This post is the first of a four part series where we’ll look at some common “engagement goals” you may want to work towards. Each organization and each career is different, but there is a good chance your organization values one of these three goals more highly than the others:

  1. Playing well with others
  2. Performing at a high level
  3. Being a leader

Be selfish. No one is going to think about this for you. And too few of us have rock star managers who can motivate and coach us to do our best work.

Semi-related: The NYTimes just did an interesting article about the phrase “you do you.” Check it out here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/05/magazine/how-you-do-you-perfectly-captures-our-narcissistic-culture.html

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