You wake up early in the morning, drag yourself out of bed, rush to get ready, have a quick breakfast or not, battle it out in morning traffic, and get to work. Each morning you ask yourself, “Until when would I have to do this?”
It is the same scenario at work every day. You attend a meeting where your boss grabs the credit for a project you’ve worked in for weeks. You get assigned a crappy part in the next project because you don’t play golf with the other guys and don’t smoke with them during breaks. You like working alone and you’re very effective doing so but your boss thinks you’re uncooperative and doesn’t give you much recognition. Your work gets diluted by the grandstanding of the rest of the people in your team.
The person you work with does average work but it seemed otherwise because he speaks and expresses ideas better than anyone. He does not deliver most of the time but nobody notices. He gets recognized and praised more often, and thereby got promoted sooner than everyone else. This kind of scenario is repeated everywhere else and you thought, “Maybe I should just ham it up and talk about great ideas during the meeting and then drag my feet in the implementation and let everyone else work harder. Before long, you’re playing the same game.
A problem comes up and everyone was expected to participate but you learned your lesson and knew that you can talk smart and need not work hard. Before long you are already afflicted with same disease that everyone else was suffering from: AIDS – As If Doing Something. Management says the organization has to achieve the company goals and the targets set but you know that nobody cares and neither do you.
Apathy has set in like a dark cloud that covers the sun. You sometimes ask yourself, “Where was that person you knew who was eager to render outstanding work, motivated to deliver excellent results, and keen on helping achieve company goals?” That person was there in the first one to two years you were on the job, but he is nowhere to be found now.
I call this the death of the working spirit. As how Cappon & Christensen in Six Legs Jazz Club puts it: “Those barnacles will bury our spirit, rob us of our personal thoughts where we lose sight of who we really are and how we should action a future that’s in our best interests. In reality we become orphanated from our latent strengths and talents. That’s the dangerous piece working against us today. We no longer feel our own existence.”
People in the stage of apathy are like zombies who go to work and do “acceptable” job without getting fired but do not make a difference. They finish their work alright like automatons that masters their task by repetition, but work results have no resemblance to the work that you would otherwise deliver had it been done with love.
This plague is widespread but barely recognized. Everyone at all levels is trying to understand and cure this but could not grapple the dynamics of such behavior. People misunderstand this to be conflict between business and labour. It is most often misconstrued as problem in management. These may be true but only in part as a result of lack in inspired leadership – the inability to work with people in uncovering the real person and the spirit that moves this person.
But the onus of bringing to fore the authentic self is on you because nobody knows you as well as you do. Again, as Cappon & Christensen said in Six Legs Jazz Club : “We can’t manage anything we don’t understand. The greater clarity we have in understanding our self the happier and more confident we’ll be in making the choices in life that are right for us. It’s all about becoming centered again on who you are and what you have the right to do in life. At the core of your true self lies your spirit. It’s the centre of your potential self. Only through knowing and living as ourselves can we create the real success in the reality of our life.”