The Configurations: Energetic Disengagement

It is one thing to have energy; it is another thing to devote that energy to your work.

In contrast to the chronic exhaustion and cynicism of burnout, some people maintain their cynicism despite feeling fairly energetic. Maybe the work is not all that exciting or perhaps they have more important things going on in other parts of their lives.

This psychological connection with work may work for employees, at least for a while. It has the limitation that they are devoting a significant amount of their waking hours to activities that are not very important to them. The work may pay the bills and provide some structure to their days, but it has little potential to fulfill their hopes and aspirations.

A positive energy level is a sign that some aspect of worklife is working well. The workplace can contribute by offering a healthy working environment. Good ergonomic design and activity schedules help to maintain employees’ energy regardless of their enthusiasm for what they do. There may be active workplace health programs including exercise opportunities or other programs that promote a healthy lifestyle.

Employees may be maintaining their energy through active involvement outside of work. A lively participation in the community, recreational activities, and family life contribute to an energetic life at work. A pace that permits regular sleep and sound nutrition contributes as well.

Some research evidence suggests that this connection with work does is likely to change. Energy and involvement tend to become aligned. Although some people are happy with a superficial connection with their jobs, that feeling may change over time. Resolutions that work at one phase of one’s career may miss the mark at another phase of life. A positive outcome is for the involvement to become consistent with the energy level: with practice and experience work activities become increasingly meaningful. The downside is for the energy to follow the lack of involvement. Feeling bored can sap energy.

What is your perspective? How sustainable is Energetic Disengagement?

Does it usually change for better or for worse?

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