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    A Staggering Statistic: First in a four-part series

    John A. Wojtecki
    John A. Wojtecki
    Doctor John A. Wojtecki has 45 years of experience in Human Resources, Safety, and Training serving the toy, food, plastics, steel, and office furniture industries. John operates his own consulting business and is a Certified Facilitator in Real Colors. He is a volunteer with the Quad Cities Mediation Service. He posts monthly on his LinkedIn account.

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    When thinking about my next topic, I thought about what might be new or innovative that has been published in 2020. Several works have been published in 2020 with one of them being “Designing Your Work Life” by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans.

    The title also includes the thought “How To Thrive And Change And Find Happiness At Work.” Quite the title, eh? I again found a second in a series by the two authors with: “Designing Your Life” being their first published work–seems like I am pretty good at finding serial works.

    On page 7, they share the: “statistic of 69% of American workers are disengaged from their work. Those are the plain disengaged plus the angry and resentful disengaged.” To me, a staggering statistic. This is based on a number of polls by the Gallup organization. Even more disturbing is the statistic that, “globally the number of workers unhappy at the place where they spend most of their lives is an astonishing 85 percent. A whopping 93% are disengaged in Japan.”

    The reasons for the disengagement are many and varied, I would add even personal. The human resource heart I have looks to positively impact just one person, or better yet, more than one person. In resolving the issue, the authors’ philosophy is, “that YOU are the designer of your life and your job, and that with design thinking, you can make it much better.” Makes sense to me.

    My doctorate is in instructional design. I identify with the design thinking. The authors develop six points for addressing this most important business issue with the underlying challenge to be thinking like a designer. I like the mention as this emphasizes the individual control issue. Yes, if you or someone you know is impacted, they are to look internally for resolution.

    The issues include: be curious, try stuff, reframe problems, know it’s a process, ask for help, and tell your story. Each makes sense to me. For our discussion, we’ll focus on a pearl of wisdom that arrives on page 21: “Research has made it abundantly clear, that one of the secrets to a happy life is to learn how to enjoy what you have.” There is an exception that the authors miss. Those who are homeless, without food, without the basic necessities, to me, would not fall into this category.

    In resolving the disengagement issue, several suggestions are quite impactful. One suggestion I will follow is to have a work journal. I plan to adopt this with all my clients when reviewing a consulting project. Well done Burnett and Evans.

    One nugget of solid advice is, “not to resign but to re-design.” Keeping with the design theme, evaluate the situation and take action to better the current situation. In one of my positions, I should have followed that sound advice. Taking action becomes the sound suggestion to escape the staggering statistic. The book is a worthwhile time investment.


    Watch for additional discussion of “Designing Your Work Life” and ways to improve your work satisfaction over the next several weeks.

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