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Making progress toward meaningful work

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in Career Management,Centerpiece,Workplace Communication

In the current economic climate, you would think just having a job would be enough to make most people happy, but that’s not the case.

According to the recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, many Americans are unsatisfied with their work and their lives.

Gallup has been surveying Americans about health and well-being every day since January 2008.

Findings from the most recent survey:

  •  The Work Environment Index re­­­­ceived a score of 47.4 out of 100.
  •  The Life Evaluation Index, which is a self-evaluation of whether Ameri­­cans are “thriving,” “struggling” or “suffering,” hit a 23-month low of 48.1 out of 100.

In other words, life and work currently receive a “below-average” grade for many people after one of the worst economic downturns in U.S. history and its aftershocks.

People of all ages, and across income levels, are unhappy with their supervisors and not engaged with what they do. When people don’t care about their jobs or their employers, the work itself suffers.

What, if anything, can you do about this dismal state of affairs?

According to The New York Times, researchers at Harvard Business School have discovered the single most important way people stay en­­gaged with their work: simply making progress in meaningful work. Progress is followed by excitement, which makes people want to make even more progress.

If your boss isn’t supporting progress, it’s time to manage up.

One idea: Suggest a weekly email update that includes three headings—Successes, Challenges, and What I Need Help With. Include a bulleted list under each one.

The last heading is where you let your boss know what sort of support you need in order to make progress. Is there an obstacle you need removed? Would an additional resource help you to move forward?

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