My friend and colleague, Dawn Bugni retweeted Mark Burginger’s tweet about the clipping above and it made me look… Wouldn’t you? Apparently, it is an urban legend. But since then I have thought about that clipping.
According to the clipping, George’s coworkers just assumed he was just working. Almost too weird for me. But the larger story is: obviously, he couldn’t have been someone who regularly interacted with the rest of the work team. If he had been, his not talking would have been noticed right away.
I have a vivid imagination so I can see this poor guy coming in day after day, sitting at his desk with no one talking to him. Perhaps he was a loner whose only happiness was in his job or perhaps he was someone who was depressed and worked only to escape the rest of his life.
What about his family? Not only did his coworkers not notice but obviously he had no friends or family outside of work that called to find out why he wasn’t coming home.
Sad, huh? To die and find out that you made no impression on the people around you. They didn’t even notice he was dead — for 5 days and he worked there for 30 years!
If you are one of those who has been going to work day after day, working long hours, with little appreciation for your hard work, let’s change that. Start trying to find ways to do your job even better and also make an effort to interact with your peers! You can’t live life in a vacuum. Interact at work. Just a little comment to notice what one of your coworkers is wearing or when they did a good job can open conversation.
Invest in the world outside of work.
Many non-profits would love to have you as a volunteer. George’s skills at the publisher probably made him highly accurate. Perhaps he could have helped enter data or complete registration input at events. Find a way to use the talents you have helping someone else. It often is enough to change your attitude. You might have to try more than one volunteer opportunity before you find a good fit. Building yourself a new network will also change your attitude. You will have something to look forward to when you are outside of work.
If all else fails, change jobs
Sometimes you reach a point when you are not happy at work. You feel unappreciated even though you are working longer and harder (at least it seems to you) than anyone else on the team. Perhaps you should start looking at new opportunities.
Don’t just jump ship without doing research. See what is out there. Use that network you were building and interact with them to see what opportunities are out there. Make sure you have a well-written, professional resume and get yourself going on LinkedIn so your network can grow. But then move on.
A little bit of being proactive will save you from ending up like George. Yikes!