According to Gallup Institute, 87% of employees worldwide are disengaged and unfulfilled. Unfortunately, this number remained the same for the past years without changing.
When you see this number for the first time, it seems scary. But after taking your time and thinking a little bit, and analyzing your career journey as well the opinions that you hear from your friends who are working in other companies and industries, you will start accepting this number as it will seem logical. And honestly, it has a specific very old cause.
However, from my point of view, the problem is not only that the employees are disengaged. The bigger problem is that they either recognize that they are disengaged, and they do not try to do anything, or that they do not feel that they are disengaged and that there is a problem at all and that they can perform far better and hence live a better, more fulfilling professional life. And this happens a lot.
During my career journey, I have lived in different countries and worked in 3 of the leading multinational companies in the world, in different departments such as Engineering, Procurement, and Project Management, and in 4 different industries including but not limited to Telecommunications and Automotive. And I have led global teams in projects with a sales revenue of more than 100 million USD over the project’s lifetime. I have done business and run projects with customers such as Daimler, BMW, Audi, VW, Bosch, Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo, and others. And from all of this, I learned a lot.
”Mohamed is an independently thinking, inspiring and always a reliable person. He is characterized by optimism, kindness, teamwork and shows the ability to build a relationship network. His openness and constructive suggestions for solving problems in different areas are very useful to have success. I would definitely recommend him to anyone who would like to learn how to become a true effective Leader.”- Jens Keller, Product Development Engineer.
I also met a lot of people with diverse backgrounds and cultures. We worked together, succeeded together and sometimes also failed together. Some of these stories I already shared in my Bestselling Career book ‘’What’s Next?’’.
And even though I met and worked with a lot of people from different countries and with different backgrounds, but there was always one thing in common: A lot of people that I met never really recognized their true potential and what they can achieve in their lives. Some of these people were brilliant but still struggled to believe in themselves or have confidence in their abilities, or in other words, struggled to ”feel” their true self-worth.
I know how it feels because I was also one day moving in the same direction until I discovered that if I continued this way, the amount of unused potential that I will leave behind me would be huge, to the extent that I will not be able to handle the regret 30-40 years later in my life. And I was truly lucky to discover this before it’s too late.
When I started changing my perspective, everything started to change with it. And my perspective changed because of what I learned through my career journey and what I will share with you later in this article. These concepts or fundamentals that we will discuss here in this article did not only work with me, but they also worked with a lot of other people around the world that I was honored to coach, or to work with as their consultant, or to be their mentor and hence had the chance to accompany them on their journeys to help them thrive in their professional as well as their private lives.
”Mohamed is not only one of the best coaches I know, he also became a good friend and adviser in every life situation. Since I am working with him I know that I can achieve everything I want and more. I became a believer, thanks for that!
Coaching, giving speeches and helping people is his element. Every single time after meeting him you get inspired and motivated. He has also an extremely strong aura and the talent to analyze a situation fast, honest and clear. He really cares about the individual persons and the value that he is delivering. That´s how he leads you to success.” -Nelli Schwabauer, Project Manager.
In one of my previous articles, I wrote that there is a gap between the student life and the professional life and that most of the people graduate and start their professional lives unaware of this gap. This gap makes people lose their direction and feel unhappy and unfulfilled. And this gap is in the form of 4 points:
1-In life, there is no script to follow and no predicted sequence as in school or university.
2-As students, we rarely made decisions. This changes directly as soon as we graduate and start working because we find ourselves obliged to make a lot of decisions through our day (and we are not prepared for that).
3-What we learned about success and how to succeed at school or university is totally different than how success is achieved in our professional lives. And if you used the same success concepts in your professional life, you will fail, or at least you will not move forward.
4-As students, we had a clear and decisive goal (which is to graduate and to start working to feel stable & independent). And after graduating and finding a job we rarely set meaningful goals that make us stretch & challenge ourselves to achieve them.
The people who recognize this gap (represented in the 4 points mentioned above) AND work on closing this gap faster are the people that enjoy better life and fulfillment and feel happier.
So now, let me ask you:
- Are you one of the engaged 13% or the disengaged 87%?
- Did you create your script and know where you are heading in life? Or there is no script at all, and you are moving with the flow and accepting each day as it comes?
- Do you go back home fulfilled and eager to start your next working day or you go back home exhausted after a busy day lacking energy and unfulfilled while saying to yourself ‘’There must be something better. I am sure I was not born or spent those years on studying for that.’’
- Did you adjust your perspective and learned how success is achieved in your professional life compared to student life?
- Do you have a clear goal that you are aiming to achieve? Something that challenges you and makes you grow?
After answering these questions, let us now zoom more on the ‘’normal’’ employee life cycle and what happens after graduation to understand in detail why most of the people are not happy and are feeling unfulfilled.
To find a reputable job with a good salary, then most probably you need a university degree. After years and years of studying, you graduate holding a degree and get directly into this loop:
A- You graduate not knowing who you truly are, what you want, or where to start, and with little or no knowledge about different industries, departments and job roles.
B- So, most probably you will start your career working in the wrong job which is not optimum for your skills, talents, and preferences just because it was the first job offered to you with good money. (And, because most probably you do not know what your skills, talents, and preferences are in the first place).
C- Then you start learning about the job that you are doing. And after 2-3 years your learning curve freezes. And logically, you are learning the essential information from your co-workers who are longer than you already in the organization. But what you are not aware of is that with this essential information that you are learning, you are also unconsciously learning some wrong habits, behaviors, and attitudes. You are also learning some average skills and wrong techniques, but of course, you will still follow these co-workers because they are the experts. They are older than you, and they have worked longer than you inside the company. So, they must be better than you and know how to make things right. Right?
If that’s what you think, then ask yourself why do we have leaders who are not qualified to lead, presentations that suck, and meetings that are boring like hell and only a waste of time.
They were all the outcome of people who ‘’thought’’ that they are skilled enough (because they created one or two presentations that were approved by the management, or because they used their Microsoft Outlook to schedule meetings and sat there with other co-workers in a closed room and named it a ”meeting” without reaching anything in these meetings as an outcome.) and unfortunately transferred their knowledge and expertise to the new generations and newly hired employees.
D- So after your learning curve freezes, you start feeling bored because you feel that you are barely learning anything new. Same things but different days. And then one of two Scenarios usually happen:
- Scenario 1: either you stick to your job anyway and feel more unfulfilled and bored because you do not want the headache of starting over and learning something new in a new job or another department of the company. Plus, you already improved your standard of living. You now earn good money. You bought a new car and moved to a bigger apartment, and you are traveling abroad each year and want to buy your apartment or house soon. So why should you risk trying something new and losing all of that? In the end, what you know is far better than what you do not know or expect. And ‘’What if you moved and you did not like it, or they did not like you?’’. It’s better to keep where you are.
- Scenario 2: or (if you are lucky) a higher position in your department suddenly becomes empty, so they move you up to the next level to fill this position because you are good at your job, even though you do not have the right skills to lead and nobody taught you. But why should you worry? In the end, it’s just Leadership. You rarely hear that someone struggled because he was not able to lead people effectively. And on top of that, the company around you is full of other leaders, and most probably you will never be worse than them. In the end, and after months of this supervisory role, you feel overwhelmed and unhappy. And this is because of the feelings deep inside of you. You know that you are not able to lead effectively and that you are unable to unleash your team’s true potential and skills. But because you have a lot of things to do and a lot of pressure from the management to deliver, you are not able to focus on learning & improving your leadership style and on the problems of your team.
e-And either scenario1 or 2 happened, you feel unfulfilled and de-motivated. And not only this, if you were destined for scenario number 2 above, then most probably you go back home late, feeling exhausted from the list of problems on your table and the number of issues, and hoping that tomorrow never comes so that you do not need to go to work again.
F- Finally, you either continue in scenario 1 and freeze, get scared to take another challenge and feel worried and keep doing what you do until you retire. Or you continue on the path of scenario number 2 and end your career life later after 30-40 years with a big badge written on it ‘’ The most hated Boss in the world’’. And in both scenarios, the outcome is the same ”You wasted the best time of your life doing something that is not meaningful to you or made you feel fulfilled, and this of course reflected on your private life.”
This is the same employee life cycle for the past 30 years (or even longer) and until now. And besides this life cycle, Universities rarely tried to empower future employees by teaching them the true skills that can help them thrive in the workplace.
Yes, of course, learning Engineering is fantastic or going to law school is great. But let me ask you, do you think your progress in your career journey will depend only on your Engineering skills or the things that you learned while earning your business degree? Definitely not. You need far more skills to thrive in your career. Some of these skills are Leadership, Communication & Presentation skills, Entrepreneurship skills and more. And here came the need for a new model of thinking. A model that allows each person to design his career.
The New Thinking Model
In the new era that we are living in now, you should see your career progress as a journey and to ‘’design’’ as much as you can from this journey. So, how can your career journey look like?
To make the best out of your career journey, you should think about four main fundamentals or ‘’checkpoints’’ which are:
- Clarity & Setting the direction. Which means gaining more clarity to make the right decisions. To reach an appropriate level of clarity, you should reach an appropriate level of self-awareness, and also reach a good level of knowledge about the job market.
- Landing the Perfect Job. After you gain clarity and know more about different departments as well as your personal preferences, now it’s time for you to master the art of creating an attractive C.V as well as to know exactly how to prepare for an interview, what to ask, what to expect to be asked and how to answer.
- Growth. What’s your plan for growth? How to accelerate your career progress? How to earn more money? How to make the maximum out of your career journey? Which skills do you need to master? How to brand yourself? These are some of the things that you should consider in your career journey.
- Your Exit. When and why you should change your job, department or Company.
These fundamentals are what you need to learn and to plan, during your career journey. Unfortunately, a lot of people around the world just move with the flow accepting whatever life brings them and whatever comes their way. And that’s why 87% of the employees worldwide are disengaged. Because either they did not have a plan, or they had a plan, but it was a short-term plan that was focusing only on the next step in their careers. And as Jim Rohn once said ‘’ If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.’’
If you change your perspective, use this career model to prepare in advance and be pro-active, you will have a fantastic career journey. So, let us start now directly by speaking about the sub-points or sub-fundamentals under fundamental 1.
Fundamental 1: Clarity & Direction:
The first thing to do before starting anything in life is ‘’coming back’’ to yourself and to see if what you are planning to do is synchronized and in harmony with who you are or not. As I mentioned before, this usually should happen ‘’Before’’ you start.
However, even if you started already, it’s never too late to stop, reflect and make necessary corrections if needed. Learning, reflecting and doing corrections -even if late- is far better than not doing anything at all.
Unfortunately, a lot of people do not stop for some moments of their lives to reflect and to know more about themselves. Knowing yourself is the first step towards making educated choices that have a better probability to help you reach what you want.
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2-Knowing your Purpose.
You cannot begin your journey without knowing what the reason for your existence is and before beginning with the end in mind. As an example, do you want to be a kind employee and have good relations with everyone so that they remember you in a good way when you leave or retire? Or do you want to develop your career as fast as possible and you do not care about relationships with other colleagues and how they perceive you?
Every decision that you will make and every target that you will aim to achieve will influence your behavior and the actions that you will take. The most important thing is to make sure that these actions will take you where you want to be 40 years from now (not only what you want now or the next three years).
Knowing your purpose before you start your journey will hugely impact your decisions and the actions that you will take daily.
Knowing what you want to achieve in your life is very crucial for your success and for helping you reach what you want. Moving in life without a vision is like moving in the desert without a compass.
Knowing your vision will take time and will require a lot of trial and error. But when you know exactly what your vision is, you will be able to identify the actions needed to reach this vision. And this will save you the effort of taking a lot of actions that are not meaningful and does not bring you forward in your life. Not only this, the more your vision will get clearer, the more you will feel motivated to reach this vision.
After knowing who you are, and what you want to achieve, as well as your purpose -And these are all internal aspects- it’s time to go to the external factors and to start thinking about the ideal company size that you would like to work for based on your knowledge about yourself and your vision.
Working for a large company, for example, is having its advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages can be the big name of this company on your C.V., But on the other hand, one of the disadvantages can be the pressure that you will have to handle because big company means a lot of business. Not only this, the big company means Matrix environment, and handling the politics and bureaucracy of a matrix environment is not easy. So, you always should choose the company size based on your vision and based on your knowledge about yourself and what you want to achieve.
Last point to consider under the ‘’Clarity and direction’’ fundamental is which department to choose. Each department requires a specific skillset. So which department can you work for that can unleash your true potential based on your skills and strengths? Which department can move you closer towards your end vision? Based on your self-awareness, which department can be good for you?
Now, imagine that you spent enough time learning about the market and knowing more about yourself and what you want to achieve. What is the next step? That’s exactly what we will discuss together soon in part 2 of this article. So check the blog page again soon or register using the link below to get notified when part 2 of this Article is released (P.s: There is no need to register if you are already subscribed to my blog & website updates).