Most people don’t like their jobs—by a wide margin. According to recent data from Gallup, only 13% of employees worldwide are “engaged” in their jobs—meaning they’re emotionally invested in their work and focused on helping their organizations improve.
The picture is a little rosier in the U.S., with 29% reporting that they’re engaged. But that still leaves most people not committed to the work they’re doing. What happens then?
Productivity decreases. Career advancement—and the salary and benefits and personal growth that come with it—stalls. Stress levels climb.
These statistics don’t even include people who are still looking for work, or more work, as a result of the Great Recession.
For this we’re supposed to be grateful?
Because an “attitude of gratitude” can go a long way toward helping you land your next opportunity, or improving your standing in the one you have.
Hiring for attitude
If you are looking for a new opportunity, you should know that organizations are hiring for attitude. They want positive people who can infect their teams, clients, customers, and projects with their can-do energy. Attitude, and the emotional intelligence it reflects, rates higher than skills as a predictor for success on the job, and organizations know it.
If you haven’t got that positive demeanor—if you’re walking around with an ungrateful “the world owes me” chip on your shoulder—employers will spot it coming through the door. You won’t get much further.
Thriving in place
If the time is not right for a career move, cultivating a more positive outlook can help you feel and do better in the job you have. One way to increase your engagement at work is to get a better sense of the fundamental things you know must be present in order for you to feel fulfilled. What are your must-have needs and values? Needs such as creativity, challenge, influence, collaboration, fun… Endeavor to consistently make them a part of your work, and you’ll feel more grateful for the work you have.
How else can I be thankful when I’m really not feeling it?
I won’t pretend I can solve this age-old issue in a few paragraphs, where thousands of books, seminars, and hours of therapy have gone before. But I can offer these simple tips which may make a significant difference in how you feel—and how you are perceived—in the professional world and beyond.
1. Make a list of what you are truly grateful for. Friends, family, health, that beautiful view, music… Review it before you begin work, make a networking call or walk into an interview.
2. Express your gratitude. Say “thanks” more often. To your partner, your god, your team, whomever. It makes you feel less isolated and more alive, and builds a habit along with a persona that people will be drawn to.
3. Seek out your positive role models. You know those people who just seem to exude confidence, kindness, and gratitude? Emulate them. Ask them to share their secrets.
Gratitude is not just a feeling, it’s a choice—and a practice you can cultivate. The more prevalent it becomes in your life, the more successful and satisfying your professional life is likely to be.
Larry Braman is president of Global Career Consulting & Placement (http://globalcareercp.com), a Los Angeles based firm that helps people nationwide find and create more fulfilling, productive careers.