I often see in interviews young people who have quite a history of skipping from one job to another. The rational explanations are often that the previous employer was not able to provide any development, that the job was seen as repetitive, and that they wanted to try something new.
If we put it bluntly, we can say that some of these moves are motivated by boredom. I myself as a sales manager have on occasions lost people for these same reasons and I try to understand the mechanism of this problematic attitude for the employee and the employer. After a couple of years, many think they have nothing more to gain, while, they have simply finished the first chapter of a book that will remain only partially read.
Skipping from one job to another is not gaining experience: experience comes from fully assimilating the required skills to be successful at it. Experience does not come from being a beginner countless times.
But I do believe that those leaving an employer (including my own organization) are very sincere. From what comes this feeling of boredom at work? The manager has also a responsibility in solving these problems.
Play the game to win
Think of a job as a game we would play. There are two types of games that can generate a feeling of boredom and turn us away: the ones that we win too easily, and those that we lose most of the time. There is however a strong difference in these two types of boredom: the games we lose generate no satisfaction. In fact, they make us feel bad about ourselves. For that reason, when we lose some games often, we tend to put the blame in the game itself and not how we play it.
The game we always lose becomes a pointless, stupid game that no one should invest any time in. And we stop playing such a game.
On the other hand, success generates the will to continue, to improve, and more importantly make the job fun.
There is no easy recipe to be successful, but there is an ingredient that is always there: commitment to the mission: doing it in the best way we know and to improve always.
Being committed means doing the job with a positive attitude
To illustrate this, think about someone working behind a counter at the post office with customers lining up. One can do everything very mechanically or change what is a very repetitive job into an experience where one makes the most of the opportunity to see many different people and to engage with them with a greeting and a smile. There is no gain in pay, or rank, or working conditions, only the social gain. That gain however can make all the difference when one comes home after the work day with the recognition given in return by some of the customers.
Commitment means self-improvement and leaving one’s comfort zone.
Team members should be trained, but most successful people also train themselves. When not reaching a goal, they focus on what they can change to make that goal reachable next time. You can complain on the organization, the price too high…or too low…or the season, or anything. But commitment means also taking in account what you could you do differently. The problem is not doing something wrong but always attributing a failure to external factors you have no control over. And if you convince yourself hard enough, you can spin yourself into your own little depression by feeling so powerless over your future. And you quit your job…because it is pointless…because you are missing some wins…although you never really gave your full potential.
Commitment means being focused on the mission
Managers need to encourage that while at work, team members do the job fully, be productive, communicative, eager to learn or to ask. Not to mention fight against poor workmanship by being distracted by the demons of today: social networks and smartphones.
It is amazing to me as the smartphones have introduced a new type of social behavior: People are distracted by their smartphones and do everything at 50%: their job, and their personal life. By giving such a huge place to electronic communication, day or night, during work hours or not, people mix their private life with their professional life and risk being unsuccessful at both. The smartphone is a „plus “, but if by using it we lose the ability to concentrate a couple of hours on the events we are presently and physically engaged in, whether that be at work or with others, that advantage becomes a disability.
Commitment should be inspired by exemplarity
Commitment cannot be ordered, but can be inspired. To help team members get committed in their jobs, it is not only to tell team members that their job is important, it is also to act as such.
Managers should not disengage from pointing out attitude issues and workmanship. On the contrary. Let us all be reminded that the manager’s job is not to be popular. If popularity is achieved at the price of people failing in their jobs because not committed, stuck in a comfort zone and losing faith in their abilities, the manager has failed.
Motivation is not given but found
But the manager can only do so much. The team member must also understand that motivation is not given but found. If one wants to be successful, much of the effort comes from oneself. People tend to expect that their employers take completely care of them in all their needs for the future: training, food, leisure, health, and even motivation. A good management can make the environment better for being motivated, but motivation is not a company benefit. One finds motivation internally…Anything else is artificial.
As an individual, you need to take care of the development of your own skills: learn English, improve IT skills, put an extra hour because needed…take care of your body and health. If you do not know how to do a task, you ask, or you learn alone…because you are doing it for yourself, not to please your management.
Make career moves, do not job hop
Does all the above mean you should be doing the same job for 40 years? Of course not. Comes a time to move on after reaching ambitious objectives, and having learned the skills you could acquire in the present position. By moving on, I mean doing a job that will bring you complementary skills or that will take you towards the position you wish to have in a couple of years.
It is a life lived fully that in the end brings happiness
Perhaps to conclude, I would say that instead of just getting by, one should cherish, commit, and try to outperform oneself in anything one does. I believe that happiness is not found in life when doing things not fully. On the contrary it is winning that makes us satisfied, it is doing something useful to others that provide comfort, it is the feeling of being part of a community that gives meaning to what we do. This attitude applies to all the aspects of our lives we are engaged in: at home, with family, with friends, and at work.
I wish all of you a very happy New Year.