An Honest Day Of Work

More than two-thirds of US employees today are either not engaged or “actively disengaged” according to Gallup. This number has hovered around the same since the year 2000. On the flip side, entrepreneurs that found companies often find themselves in the opposite position.

Many founders become so engaged in day to day tasks, jumping from one fire to the next, that they forget to delegate.

Both of these scenarios suck, and neither allow a person to pursue their goals in a productive way.

On the employee side, there are a few prevalent scenarios and realizations.

A lot of jobs just plain suck. In this case, you are most likely “actively disengaged.” This applies to almost 20% of employees, and there is a strong chance that many of the people reading this article are in this position. If this is the case, being unemployed can be better for your mental health than staying at your job. Regardless, you need to get out. Now.

As a manager, it is incredibly important that you seek and get rid of people that are actively disengaged in your workforce. Employees that are actively disengaged actually find solace in doing things that hurt the company. They find others that are dissatisfied with their work, and talk to each other about it. They conspire to do as little work as possible to retain their position. They call in sick more often, or contribute to office “shrinkage” (pens, notebooks, other office supplies, etc.)

50% of our workforce is not engaged. These are people that don’t dislike their job, but don’t go above and beyond to get anything done either. Not engaged people will never sabotage the company, but will simply show up, do what they’re told, and leave when allowed. These people will most likely get promoted not on merit, but on tenure (a dying occurrence.) This situation represents the slight majority of the workforce, and this article is meant to speak to you.

A little less than one-third of employees are engaged at work. Chances are, you can spot them. The perk in their step, voices and disposition can make an actively disengaged person sick to their stomach, and these two groups of people tend to talk a lot of crap about each other, usually to the detriment of the disengaged worker (as it should be.) This is a toxic relationship, and the goal is to have this happen as seldom as possible.

So how do we change this?

The best way to start to feel better about what you do is to have an honest day at work. You may not be able to do this every single day, but you need to start.

What does this entail? What does an honest day even mean?

An honest day means you spent every minute of your work day doing something that equals progress.

This could (and should) include reasonable breaks. Our minds can only stay focused for so long, and sometimes we will need to take a step back to recalibrate, and jump back in again. But every action you take must lead to progress.

What does that mean for you?

As an employee, it’s sort of hard. If you get all kinds of stuff done in a day, your boss may wonder why this doesn’t always happen? If you have a situation like that, you most likely don’t work in a great environment, and it may be best to do what you can to transfer laterally, up or out.

The only inexcusable thing you can do in the workplace is remain stagnant when you are unsatisfied with your situation.

As an entrepreneur, your situation may not be as difficult. You have already taken a step that many people won’t, presumably in an effort to follow your passion. That’s commendable.

Unfortunately, a lot of people take the first step, start a business, get it to where they “replaced their salary” or “got the bills paid” but end up trading one job for another. Worse yet, there are many that invest up to tens of thousands of dollars just to invest in what is effectively a job. For instance, you’ll see a lot of convenience store owners working 72 hours a week for 40k a year. As such, there are many entrepreneurs who aren’t very engaged in their businesses. They show up, put out fires and go home.

One thing many of us learn is that time is an increasingly valuable asset, and working for yourself doesn’t mean your time is your own.

With that said, what does an honest day mean for an entrepreneur?

That will depend on your situation, but the best approach is to find the things that progress your overall goal, work on those things, and delegate the rest. If your goal is to keep doing what you’re doing, you’re already working in an honest way.

But simply put, if you’re not working towards what you want, whether indirectly or directly, your work won’t have passion, and you need to make a change.

Improve your situation.

Work towards something, be proud of what you’re doing, and let your honest work contribute to an honest life. You’ll be all the better for it!

PS: If you like what you read, feel free to check out my blog, where I just talk about random things that might help you, mostly business-related. I went from a career that consisted of over 20+ jobs, most of which I was actively disengaged at, to founding 4 profitable companies and counting. Follow the journey…