Think back to the first day of the job you’re in right now. Ignore the sweaty palms &/or pits and think about the version of yourself you brought to your cubicle. It was the best version of yourself, wasn’t it? Not many people bring their B-game to day one on the job. You were all smiles and eye contact, ever the eager beaver. You’d give yourself an A+ for effort and so would your boss.
Fast forward to today. The new employee honeymoon period has long since passed, and if you’re like a vast majority of the bozos around you in your office, you’ve found yourself in the haze of some sort of disengagement. Are you still bringing your A+ game to every call and meeting and report you churn out? Could you even give yourself a measly A, minus the plus?
For one out of every three people at your workplace, the stars and moon somehow aligned for them to like their job past their first day (or week, if we’re being optimistic). Those people are like rare animals in the wild – you know they’re out there, but they’re definitely on the endangered species list. Many of the people who are seemingly still engaged at work really aren’t giving it the old college try, though. They might look like A players — wearing the logoed company shirts, attending the optional training sessions, completing their tasks on time with impressively minimal typos — but they might really be B’s in disguise. Disengaged A-players are the saddest sort of all, all full of potential with nowhere to grow.
And then there are the aforementioned bozos that makeup two-thirds of your coworkers, on the downhill slip ‘n slide of effort and engagement. 53% of people say they don’t expect to stay at their company past the five-year mark, so many of those worker bees are just buying time, doing the minimal amount to remain employed for 60 months. Disengaged B- or C-players are the worst because everyone else has to look at their glum, snide faces while picking up their slack.
Anyways, who cares about everyone else. This is about you, and how you compare to the young tadpole you were on your first day. Whether you’re barely scraping by, delivering consistent results that “meet expectations” every year on your review, or you’re the A+ player who sets the benchmark in your office for “exceeds expectations,” how does your attitude and drive compare to fresh-faced you on your first day? What would it look like if you charted your attitude progression? Is it fair to say that you sucked a little bit more every day?
There are sixty hundred reasons that disenchantment and disengagement occur. I want to keep this article short (cold rosé is calling), so let’s skip that part and focus on where you might be culpable. Because you are. It takes two to tango at a horrible job – and even at a mediocre one – so if you’re brave, you’ll look in the mirror and admit where you let things slip and where you might be able to get yourself back in gear. What if you went in tomorrow with a First Day frame of mind? Are you willing to look beyond the sewage that’s strewn about in your impression of work, and re-apply yourself?
Imagine literally applying for your job again. Would you get hired if they had a chance to observe you as long as you’ve worked there? And then, let’s assume you did get hired. How could you approach your First Day, Part II with fresh eyes and a renewed commitment to be amazing? Give it a go.
Jodi is a co-founder of Happy Work Spectacular Life, loves red Skittles (maybe too much) and finally got a Happy Spectacular logo tattoo.