Career Advice

Rachel Asks: “How Do You Know You’re an Employee Zombie?”

One of the best things about writing on the Glassdoor blog is getting comments from readers. All writers live for readers and I am no exception. Last week, in response to the article “Are You a Zombie Employee & Job Seeker” a reader named Rachel asked “How Do You Know You’re a Zombie?”

One great question deserves another, so let me ask Rachel a few questions in return.

Time – Have you ever completely lost track of time while you were working?

When I am writing I lose all sense of time. I become completely absorbed in the subject and in the act of writing. This is a pretty good indication that writing is a passion for me.

In fact, a loss of a sense of time is the single best indicator I know of that you are doing something you really enjoy. Total absorption. When was the last time you were at work and you stopped thinking about the clock? It is pretty hard to be a zombie when the clock disappears.

Pride – Have you ever done some work that you thought made people’s lives better? Improved the company?

A healthy sense of pride comes from a belief that you produced or accomplished something of value. So when was the last time that you did something at work that you thought added value? Were you proud of that accomplishment?

Last week I gave a presentation to a steering committee. I felt that if my recommendations were adopted, my company would be a better place for employees and get better returns for shareholders (two of my personal passions). Later that day someone came up to me and said that my presentation had made a big difference to them. I have to be honest: I was pretty damn proud of that work. And it made me realize: it is hard to be a zombie with a smile on your face.

Energy – When was the last time that you had more energy coming home from work than you had when you woke up?

For me it was last week. I had a meeting with my boss about a proposal to make things better at work. Driving home later than night I actually thought I had swallowed too much coffee. I was buzzing, even though I had started the day tired and cranky. I love that feeling of being on fire, of giving every last drop of myself for something bigger than me. Zombies have a lot of problems, but an inability to contain their enthusiasm isn’t one of them.

Now if you think about all these examples, you realize that people who aren’t watching the clock, feel good about the value they provide for their paycheck and get energized by their work aren’t really “working”. They are having fun. And there is the ultimate secret of figuring out whether you are a zombie or not: Are you having fun? Even a little bit? If not, I am sorry to report that you are a zombie.

Next week we will take a look at Rachel’s second question: How do you find your true purpose or passion? Hint: we have already started answering that question.

Thanks Rachel! Keep reading!