Last week, a beloved man of God passed from this life to the next at the age of 104: George Beverly Shea, the long-time associate of Billy Graham who always sang an inspiring song just before Billy preached.
Mr. Shea’s obituary in the New York Times caught my attention. The first line declared that George Beverly Shea had “escaped a life of toil in an insurance office to become a Grammy-winning gospel singer.”
What’s this? He escaped a life of toil in an insurance office? If you happen to work in the insurance industry, I hope you’re not saying to yourself, “Congratulations to Mr. Shea. I’d like to find my escape before I turn 104!”
The fact is, many people feel trapped at work. Many don’t want to be doing what they’re supposed to be doing at work, and endure the situation until the weekend. Many are not engaged. How many? Research by The Gallup Organization suggests 55% of the US workforce is “not engaged,” and another 16% are “actively disengaged.”
If Gallup’s findings are correct, then 71% of US workers are not engaged in their work! The “not engaged” folk are described as those who “hang back and don’t commit themselves [to their job],” while the “actively disengaged” employee is described as one who is “not just unhappy at work…[but] acts out that unhappiness.”
The big question is, “Why?”
In response to last week’s post, one reader, Alex Brubaker, sent a link to an article in the Huffington Post, from April 15, titled: “Why Are We So Frustrated at Work and at Home?” written by Behnamn Tabriai and Michael Terrell, who are affiliated with the Stanford Business School. Here is their answer to the “why” question:
"Though our society-wide struggle to find greater meaning is certainly attributable to a variety of nuanced factors, we have found that one of the biggest reasons is that, simply, people aren't aligned. By that we mean that people don't build an external reality that is in line with their internal selves and values. When your inside world and your outside world are misaligned, it's easy to feel frustrated, unhappy, and adrift. However, when they move into alignment, our lives are pervaded with a sense of satisfaction and happiness -- feelings that researchers have shown contribute significantly to how well we perform and our sense of meaning."
Could "alignment" be a key to meaning?