Have you heard of people not looking forward to going to work on Monday and dreading the week ahead?

It’s quite extraordinary really, especially when you consider that at one point these same people were happy to get the job, for I cannot think of one person who was disappointed to find employment. And yet, some time down the line, maybe weeks, months or even years, the joy of work seems to elude us.

So what happens? Making things simple, let’s look at three main scenarios:

1. You were excellent at what you did and you got promoted

One would think this is a good thing. However oftentimes, people are promoted either out of their core competence or into a role that eliminates an essential element that brought them great satisfaction. We often see this with sales people who are promoted to a managerial role for instance, and find themselves carrying out administrative duties as opposed to dealing with clients. In effect, the ingredient that brought them success is the one which gets greatly reduced, and in some cases even removed.

2. You aspired for a role and someone else is hired from the outside

There you are, working hard and delivering for the company. You love the company, believe in what you are doing, and want to grow and advance. You are aiming for a role, believing that with hard work, dedication and results, you will be promoted. The next thing you know, you find out someone was hired into the position, in effect wiping out the opportunity for you to grow to the next level. This is extremely demotivating, and you find yourself increasingly disillusioned and your job, which was once a source of inspiration, becomes a have-to.

3. Perception versus reality

We’ve heard it many times over – you thought you wanted to work with this company, in that industry, or to have that title. But when you get there you find yourself saying ‘is that it?’ feeling that sense of emptiness or disillusionment, breaking of the perception of what you wanted to the reality of experiencing it.

So how do we rectify this?

The truth is, there is a great difference between being employed and being engaged, and enhanced employee engagement is at the core of successful organisations. Remember, you spend at least a third of your waking life at work, so if you do not enjoy what you are doing, or are not happy about certain aspects, you had better start asking yourself some great questions on how to shift the situation.

What can you do to avoid the three scenarios above?

Employers – find out your employees’ innate talent, interests and aspirations, and hire people that are in-line with your corporate culture.

One of the factors that influences employee turnover is cultural mismatch. Regardless of how desperate you may be to fill a role, it is worth getting it right first time. Otherwise you have a great chance of having to rectify the issues that may arise from a mis-hire and you will have to go through the entire process again some months down the line.

To keep in touch with your employees’ aspirations, many companies these days have formal reviews. Unfortunately in some cases, these become part of the administrative process with much time passing between one formal review and the next. Just like with New Year’s resolutions and other goal setting exercises, the less time you review where you are heading, the less likely you are to reach it. A partnership between leader and employee should be fostered, creating an environment of openness and dialogue.

The safer you create the environment for people to open up, express themselves and be given opportunities to expand, the greater the level of trust and engagement.

Everyone – now is a good time to start exploring and understanding what your strengths are and to be honest about them. We sometimes act like Cinderella’s ugly sisters, trying to squeeze ourselves into a shoe that does not fit. We are all aware of financial pressures that tend to place even greater stress on our job search, but bear in mind that the probability of you having to go through the process again some months down the line will be greatly enhanced if you are not honest with yourself. So ask yourself what you enjoy in your work, what you are great at and share them. Take a genuine interest in the organisation and find out what aspects of the company draw you the most. This will help you carve your path. Yes, most organisations have systems in place to develop talent and look after their human resources, but they cannot help you if you do not know who and what you are, and what you would like to become.

So before you embark on your new week, take a moment to reflect on how you fit into the particular tapestry that formulates your unique work community and have a great week!


The creator of AMANI™, Deborah has profiled many of the world’s top talent, identifying the secrets to their success as both business people and human beings. She connects human and financial capital to create economic and social value across various strata of society.

Did this resonate and you’d like to know more? Please get in touch for your confidential one-to-one.

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