“Do what you love.”
I see this piece of advice surfacing on the internet every day. There are millions of people reading about how important it is that they enjoy their jobs. Which makes me wonder: how many of us really like our jobs?
A recent Gallup study revealed that only 13% of employees are “engaged” at work, 62% are “not engaged” and 27% are “actively disengaged.” That means only one of every eight workers is engaged.
But why does being engaged at work matter? It’s a job. It pays the bills. You get your tasks done. Who says you have to love it?
Turns out, enjoying your job is critical to your productivity. A study from the University of Warwick discovered when employees are happier, they are 12% more productive. Conversely, a 2010 study from James K. Harter revealed lower job satisfaction correlated to lower bottom-line performance, and Gallup estimates that disengaged employees cost $300 billion in lost productivity every year.
“Our research shows that inner work life has a profound impact on workers’ creativity, productivity, commitment and collegiality,” Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer write for the New York Times. “Conventional wisdom suggests that pressure enhances performance; our real-time data, however, shows that workers perform better when they are happily engaged in what they do.”
The takeaway is clear: doing what you love improves your happiness and when you’re happy, you’re more likely to put in extra effort. While this doesn’t mean you have to start a project you’re so passionate about that you forget to eat or sleep, it does imply that if you truly dislike what you’re doing, it might be time to pursue a different path.
Unsure of your level of engagement? Look out for these signs of disengagement and use them as red flags signifying a career change is in order:
- Deliberately unhelpful to team goals
- Making little to no improvement in your work over time
- Eager to start debates with coworkers
- Consistently distracted
- Constantly complaining
Being productive starts with enjoying what you do. Instead of doing something just for the paycheck, try doing something you’re passionate about. You’ll probably get a whole lot more done.