Hypothetical Jane who goes to work is asked “How are you doing today?” Hypothetical Jane may respond by saying that she is doing fine. Unfortunately, she goes about her day complaining to herself about how much she cannot stand her job. She begins to look at the clock throughout the day to see how many hours remain. Once the clock strikes five, she is so happy she made it through another day. Now we may say hypothetical Jane is at fault for having an outward presence of contentment, when she is struggling inwardly to make it through the day.
Jane is a representative of many Americans who face challenges of dissatisfaction at work. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), many professionals are finding it difficult to maintain a rich desire to carry out work functions. Professionals who may initially be enthusiastic about their role within a company may begin to disengage due to the lack of interpersonal relationships, negative work conditions and poor support of management on the job.
Why are we surprised when we watch the television and see that a man who worked at a company for twenty years returns with violence and aggression once he is laid off? Why are we numb to the rebuttal of this action when the administrator says, “Everything was fine. He was a quiet person.”
Authenticity is the ability for an individual to project his or her “True Self.” This can be a difficult task when individuals are struggling to maintain their place in a staggering economy. The best anyone can do is to begin to be authentic on an individual basis. We may not always be in positions where we do exactly what we “Want” to do in a given job, but we can have our personal objectives in mind as we monitor our professional lives.
In many of the Introduction to Communication courses I have taught, there is the mention of Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This motivation theory crafted by Abraham Maslow, mentions that the five core needs of an individual are self actualization, love and belonging, self-esteem, safety and physiological well being.
For the most part, each category highlights the need for an individual to feel a level of safety, interconnectedness, and confidence. The overarching goal of self-actualization is the ability for an individual to positively contribute in personal and professional arenas of life. Although work is not a place where we will always hold hands and sing proverbial tunes, the sense of belonging cannot be understated. Employers can build morale by using inclusive communication policies and procedures to ensure the productivity of their employees. Self-Actualization, which is the utmost aspect of an individual arriving to high levels of fulfillment, can be addressed by consistent self-monitoring of work productivity.