I have a good friend that has aspirations of becoming a musician. He always tells me, “If I don’t make it big, I’ll just have to be a worker drone.” He views a worker drone as anyone that has a day job.
I define the term “worker drone” a little differently than he does. I do not consider a worker drone as someone who has a career in a large corporation or anyone with a nine-to-five. I have the utmost respect for anyone who works hard every day to put food on the table. In my mind, worker drones are people who have lost their way. They may be disconnected from their organizations due to uninspiring work, terrible middle management, poor compensation or lack of acknowledgement. Worker drones make a living every day, but satisfaction and fulfillment are not always part of their daily lives.
In this economy, I personally know a lot of people who wouldn’t mind doing uninspiring work in exchange for a steady income. When faced with unemployment, being a worker drone can be a dream come true. I understand that the timing of this article may not be ideal for some. But I feel that life is short and we should do things that inspire, motivate, bring joy to ourselves and others; yes, even within the workplace. If we only depend on those influences outside of work (which are for me family time, HBO and grilled chicken and rice meals) we may not be reaching our full potential in the workplace.
Let’s think about what happens when someone becomes a worker drone. I have been a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, upwardly mobile corporate upstart and on the other end a down-and-out, when-is-work-over, I-don’t-want-the-overtime worker drone. If the latter sounds more like you, there is still hope. You can snap out of that funk. How? Transfer to a new department or find a new exciting way of doing your existing job. Go beyond your employer’s expectations and set your own goals at work. You don’t have to share your aspirations with anybody else; this can be your little secret. These options could not only be the cure for your work apathy but also allow you to continue working for the same organization. However, if you’ve lost all faith, maybe you could explore other opportunities that bring satisfaction or just change careers all together.
Though it’s an easy option, being a worker drone will take all the fun out of life and cause dread for work. The good news is that you always have a choice. Do some soul searching and figure out specifically what will make you happy. Snapping out of the worker drone blues will elevate your productivity and esteem in the office and improve your personal life too.
Charles W. (C.W.) Singleton
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