Which one currently describes you?
a) Burned out
b) Wiped out
c) Browned out
d) None of the above
e) All of the above
If you are like most American and global workers you are “c” – you are browned out. Most workers are not engaged with their work. They simply show up, do what is asked, go home, and get a paycheck.
Stories of “burned out” workers abound. You live with the traditional values of the dream. Work hard, do the right things, and achieve a traditional level of success. A level of success that others around you seem to appreciate. While the job or career gives you money and prestige, you know something isn’t right. You reach a crisis, usually an emotional, physical, or spiritual crisis. Hopefully you, at some point, discover your true self and prosper.
Stories of “wiped out” workers are also easy to come by and these workers are easy to spot. You work hard, do the right things, and suddenly your firm is purchased and your position is eliminated. It’s not as personal as being fired, but it still stings. If you are older and near retirement, it can be devastating.
“Browned out” stories are not as easy to come by and even more difficult to spot (try Googling it). If this is you, you are employed because you need a paycheck, you work like you are in retirement. I don’t mean you’re old, but you have checked out and are not committed. In fact, many Millennials fit this category. They are not lost. They know exactly where they are and where they are going – nowhere. They do not have any hope.
On point, after the Great Recession, it is the Millennials that have benefited the least from economic recovery. Average income for this generation has fallen at twice the rate as the general population. The Millennial Generation is likely to experience lower incomes for at least another decade.
A Gallup Survey reports that only 13% of the global workforce is engaged, meaning a staggering 87% are not engaged or actively disengaged. Most business leaders rate employee retention and engagement as important. They are trying to build teams of passionate, engaged employees.
They are failing miserably.
So despite all the talk of building motivated teams, creating rewarding and fulfilling careers, we seem to have lost something that most of us spend the majority of our adult time doing.
We are browned out.