– Understanding the difference between “jobs” and “careers.”

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Last month, the Gallup organization produced a report entitled, “State of the Global Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for Business Leaders Worldwide,” a rather lengthy name making a simple point: People are lazy. It goes on to admonish corporate management to change tactics in order to engage workers thereby improving productivity (and the GDP overall). The report studies the work habits of 142 countries and is produced every other year, the last one being in 2010.

According to the report, only 13% of the world’s workforce is “engaged” in their work, meaning they are happy, find their work meaningful, and are productive. 24% are “actively disengaged,” meaning they are employed but are negative about their work. Finally, 63% are “not engaged” in any form of organized work. This means approximately one out of eight people are ultimately supporting the rest, a rather dismal figure, and equates into 180 million people in the countries studied.

The report paints a rather bleak picture and hints as to why the world economy is not growing as it should be. In a nutshell, workers are psychologically depressed causing them to give up and are no longer actively looking for work. This means they are content to become wards of the state which implies we are all becoming third world countries dependent on others for handouts.

Interestingly, Canada and the United States are the most “engaged” at 29% which is somewhat surprising when you consider how we have struggled economically over the last five years. Western Europe was only 14% “engaged” which is surprising as you consider Germany, Austria, and Switzerland are powerhouses today. However, they are mixed in with Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and France who are struggling, thereby bringing the number down. Surprisingly, the least “engaged” area was East Asia at a measly 6%. This includes China, South Korea, and Japan who are typically viewed as workhorses. The number though hints of the economic decline in the area.

I have always been a big believer of the dignity of work, whatever form it takes. Ideally, we all want a “career” where we can make a difference and do something meaningful and worthwhile, but we do not always have such a luxury. Most of us have to settle for a “job” which may pay the bills, but we treat as mundane as we consider it beneath us. This difference between a “job” and a “career” is considerable. One offers mobility and allows us to apply our skills anywhere, the other does not. We are proud to be one, but not necessarily the other. And finally, one means workers are “engaged,” and the other we are “actively disengaged.” As an aside, you do not get “stuck” in a career.

Regardless of whether you have a job or a career, I admonish you to take on a professional attitude at work. It is always a pleasure to watch a secretary, custodian, clerk, waiter/waitress, customer services rep, mechanic, carpenter, bricklayer, barber, cook, salesman, or whatever do their job with precision and professionalism. It means they possess personal confidence and pride in workmanship.

As I said, I believe in the dignity of work. It is what distinguishes ants from grasshoppers.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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