I was waiting in line for coffee the other morning when I started chatting with a young man clearly in a rush with multiple orders. I asked him what he did and he told me he was an intern for a company in our area.
I asked him if he liked the work and he rolled his eyes. We ended up chatting for a few minutes and he told me that he was really excited about the opportunity, but a week into the internship he realized that he was a glorified errand boy. In his words, “At that point I mentally checked out.”
It’s sad, but I see it all the time. It happens all over the board, but the lower you tend to be on the organizational totem pole – the easier it seems to be to check out.
I want to say this right now – that no matter what your job is, it is your responsibility to show up and put forth the best effort you can. I have been an intern and an entry level worker. I have cleaned toilets, made cold calls, and mopped floors. This is work, and good people do it.
So, here is my point. No matter what someone is hired to do, whether intern or not – they should feel engaged and valued. I don’t care how small the task, there is a way to manage and treat people that encourages their full authenticity to their work. And if you don’t – they will check out!
Collecting a paycheck.
That is what happens when we check out. And how good is our work when we are checked out?
We are people, and when people feel dehumanized and not valued – they take their attention elsewhere even if their butt is collecting a paycheck. Ever been there?
There are wonderful companies who have figured out how to value and engage their employees – no matter their job, title, or status. We help train companies so that the environment and culture they cultivate invites this level of value and engagement.
So look around at your team and staff. Are they performing at the highest level? If not, are you blaming it on them and wishing they were more engaged and cared more?
If you were sitting in their shoes – would you care…or would you check out?