Can Workplace Complacency Hurt You?

OK, so I’m going to start out this article pretty stereotypically by defining complacency in the workplace, stick with it though I promise it will get much more informative and entertaining. So workplace complacency is when an employee feels comfortable with the status quo and does not want to make things better. It’s occupational oblivion or professional purgatory if you prefer…ehm…

O.K. I’m out of alliterations, so let’s move on. It’s not all negative, though because an employee that is complacent feels secure in their job, confident in their duties and can also mean they are relatively satisfied with their profession. This article wouldn’t be interesting though if it was just good right? So let’s take a look why being lulled into a feeling of security at work can hurt you.

See Also: How to Work for an Idiot

Why is it an observable pattern?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, the world has been going through a decade long recession, effects of which are still influencing the global economy and job market today. If you actually lived under a rock, first off kudos as that can’t be easy and secondly, you might want to crawl back into your crevasse because gone are the days where a person could get a job out of college or high school and retire decades later from that exact same job. Also, gone are the days of healthy economic growth which meant profession growth and vertical movement in most jobs. Back in our grand-pappys’ days someone could get a job in manufacturing (per se) and by the time they retired become supervisors, managers or senior-somethings.

Our generation along with the one right before us and the one immediately succeeding us have been baptized in a job market on fire, jumping from entry level position, to entry level position just to stay out of the unemployment office. I’m not whining, bitching or complaining; even statistics show that the unemployment rate just five years ago had surpassed the average of the Post World War 2 recessions (and the workforce was actually much smaller due to casualties of war and people unable to work due to injuries accrued during the conflict).

That’s just one part of it though. When a company or employer has a very deep pool of applicants to choose from (due to high unemployment rates) this creates a feeling of dispensability amongst the labor force. Granted, someone that doesn’t feel secure in their position will work hard to keep their job…for a finite amount of time, but eventually will get burnt out or because they have not received the appropriate rewards for their labor. Once smitten they will usually just do the minimum to skate by, unsure if their labors, extra work or talents will be rewarded as they would have in a healthy market. So now let’s see why complacency is dangerous.

It can literally hurt you

This is especially true of manufacturing or work that involves physical labor. Even though you might strap on your hard-hat and protective gear every day before you commence your workday, once you start feeling comfortable with a process you might start laxing with the safety protocols. The thing is though, when most of the objects around you have the potential to maim, dismember or mecha-murder you, becoming complacent when it comes to the safety standards could result in: maiming, dismemberment or being mecha-murdered; all of which are highly unpleasant. So, now that we’ve covered the most painfully (pun not intended) obvious scenario of how workplace complacency can hurt you, let’s delve into the less overt hazards.

Weak Link

Companies are like a living breathing super-organism, like the polyps of a coral reef if you will (sorry I’m in a bit of aquatic analogy mood). Although they are small and seemingly insignificant, each one plays a role in keeping the reef healthy. Once one individual starts working slower the other members of the super organism have to start taking up the slack left by the lazy polyp. Eventually though the over-productive polyps will either become burnt out or disgruntled (because they are doing the work of two polyps) and this will bring a chain effect of complacency that has the potential to decimate the entire coral colony…also oceanic pollution can do it, but if someone starts dumping industrial waste in your office space, immediately evacuate and contact the police, the rules of dry land are much more strict on dumping industrial sludge.

On the point of toxic sludge, a complacent or disgruntled member of a team can cause every members’ satisfaction levels to drop because sadly, a toxic attitude is contagious. You know, in retrospect maybe my marine metaphor might’ve been a bit convoluted…keep moving, nothing more to see here.

It will lengthen your day

Not having a goal or aspirations for advancement will inevitably create a perpetual unchanging soul-crushing routine. If you think going to the office and working for four hours and f**king around for the rest is making your life easy you’d be wrong. OK, so maybe this is a reverse correlation, but studies have found that happy employees are productive employees and although complacency isn’t necessarily the opposite of happiness, a correlation has been drawn between complacent employees, dissatisfaction and demotivation. So this is one of those vicious cycle relationships, though, employee satisfaction and happiness lies in both the employers and employees hands.

On the employers’ side of things let’s look at the mega-corporation and adult playground workplace establisher Google. It has been voted time and time again by the most highly regarded financial and market publications as one of best 100 places to work in the world. If an employer thinks that employee happiness is a frivolous thing to invest in, think of this: in just seven and a half years Google’s stock has gained 650% of its original value. Put your finger down I know what you’re going to say: “But Google offers services never before seen!” I hate to break it to you, but that’s untrue, they offer services that were offered in the past just in a more innovative way…because of their happy employees.

Google maps? We had GPS years before Maps. Search Engine/Suite of Online Programs? Yahoo and AOL jumped on that train before Google was even founded. Even Android was released eight years after Windows Mobile and a whopping eleven years after Nokia’s Symbian OS. Anyhow without the parallels, correlation and examples let me ask you this: do you think your day would go by quicker working on something you enjoy that is creative or innovative or doing the same sh*t you did yesterday and the day before that and the year before last?

Time To Move On

Much like a romantic entanglement sometimes a relationship will run its course, and there is nothing more either parties involved will get out of it. At this crucial moment, it’s time to move on, because staying in such a relationship is both mentally and emotionally damaging. Don’t you want to fall in love with your job again? Don’t you want to wake up in the morning and instead of groaning like a sexagenarian to pop out of bed and whistle an upbeat ditty like a Disney Princess while joyfully sipping your hazelnut vanilla coffee? I know you do…just admit it, you want to be just like a pretty, pretty Disney Princess so stop being complacent and try to find your happy occupational ending!

See Also: Just Act Smarter, You’ll Be Fine

Are you complacent? Let us know in the comment section below why you feel the way you do!




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