Stay Engaged and Leaned In (By Garnet Santicruz)


Do you wake up in the middle night? Or only getting a few hours of sleep? Now this is normal if you have a young one. If your work is creating stress in your body that it's now even influencing your nervous system then it is time to reflect and maybe look for a new job.  

See, a job is something like a toy.  When you first started working it was new, interesting, uncomfortable even.  But then, like a toy that's been played for a few times, you get bored. You now know most of what is going to happen when you press this button, or that button.  The common discomforts and dissatisfaction in a workplace is not the bonus or perks of a job but how your contribution is actually making an impact.

A friend of mine who was a very high ranking in his organization wanted to switch jobs with me. I asked, "What do you mean? You are responsible for thousands of jobs, I am just responsible for the person that I am seeing." It took me a few years after to realise that what he was saying was that my job was something that was something that can be felt, touched, instantly see the reaction from the treatment. His job was being done through paper and mathematical equations.  There were no faces. No interaction. Just paper and screen. You see a job, through my observations should always bring an enthusiasm.  Like your favourite toy, the job should be cherished, a place of comfort, has endless possibilities. We humans thrive on curiosity and creativity.  We love games and changing things up. We became adjusted to sitting and staring at a screen without really taking time to step back to see if this  job, this source, this time commitment that most of us spend most of our lives in is our truest expression.  We get caught in the title, the prestige, the respect and then one day we become like everyone else when we retire. Who we really are cannot be described by the careers that we chose.   What makes us skip, laugh, deeply think, frustrated and still continue to move ahead is what makes us better. 

To stay engaged and 'leaned in' towards a job, this can be applied through many contexts, we need to find new things to look into. If you have children, watch him play with a toy that shifts, has many buttons, complex. We are problem solvers and that is why technology, inventions and discoveries has happened.  We want to know 'what is that under that?' or 'Why is that?' Some of the greatest were created through seeking.  A job worth keeping must have qualities of change, challenge, and growth.  We are who we are and for most of us we want a different experience.  It's like that trip that you were on at an all inclusive. First, you are grateful for the sun and heat and let's face not thinking about work for the next few days. Second day, you still have the same sun and heat but now a beer would be even better for this occasion. Then the third day, the same sun, heat, beer but now 'a cigar' would make this moment better.  So as you can see, we tend  to add more experience to 'the experience'.  The job that we tend to get are ones like this experience. It's the same place but we add more to gain different senses but it's the same thing. Without transformation, essentially an employment that invokes small and big shifts is what gives us the motivation to 'leaned in'.

Having worked on people that stress for a living the common comment is that 'It's just too much work!' or 'This is not what I signed for'. All the bonus in the world could not keep these individuals in those environments. Instead, they would rather take a smaller pay but with more satisfying work that makes sense to their lifestyle. It's not complicated.  So "How do you stay engaged and leaned in?" Do the work that has the right amount of change and lined with your values. And the next time somebody ask, 'What do you do?' I hope that you talk their ears off.