I'm a volunteer working remotely from home (as my disability keeps me stuck in a bed or an armchair most of the time). I started volunteering with the company I'm currently involved with because I wanted to feel worthwhile, learn new skills, be part of a fun and creative team, and contribute to a project that I was genuinely passionate about.
At the time when I joined the company, I was Highly Engaged. I loved my job, meeting and interacting with people, and using my skills and creativity to help out wherever I could. I was proud to be a part of such an amazing team. The work was challenging (but not impossible), and I was impressed that I was able to learn so much in such a short time. I felt that the work I was doing was helpful to the team, and to the project that we were all working on together, and felt that my position within the company was valued, and that my job was secure and satisfying.
However, in recent months, I've come to feel very differently. In terms of my employee engagement level, right now, I would say that I usually float between the Almost Engaged, and Not Engaged sections of the pyramid. While I still know that I'm a part of something bigger, I often feel like I'm the part that does the monotonous tasks while everyone else gets on with the fun stuff.
For a while, I tried to analyze the possible reasons why I was excluded from creative parts of the work that our company does. When I was feeling depressed, I came to the conclusion that my exclusion must have been because I didn't have the skills, the talent or the potential to be useful, and that there were plenty of people who could do those fun things far better than I ever could - without having to learn. I would scold myself for being silly and for having childish hopes, and I'd try to be grateful for whatever task I was given - no matter how soul destroying they could be. When I was feeling less depressed, I knew that time zone differences and my disability could sometimes make it difficult for me to participate fully, but I felt that I had a lot to offer. I hoped things would get better.
However, several months have now passed. I no longer get to meet and talk to other people, and my emails and chat often go unanswered by other members of the staff - which makes me feel invisible. I find myself staying away more often than I should, in order to avoid the negative feelings that this causes in me. Where I used to take pleasure in trying my best, and in encouraging others to have confidence in themselves and in their abilities, recently I've felt my own self confidence diminish as my involvement in company-related activities has almost ground to a halt. I rarely have anything to do. There is no challenge, no opportunities to use my skills, to learn or to grow. I feel like this is the end of the road for me, and I will forever be doing tasks that neither excite nor motivate me - if I'm given anything to do at all.
I miss being Highly Engaged, and busy. I want to be able to give this project my all again. I want to be a part of the team, to be motivated, and to be excited and passionate about it, rather than sitting on the sidelines.
I've discovered that there are certain things I want and need in order to remain motivated:
- I want to help and inspire others to have the confidence to learn new things and to try their best, and to be able to do my best in every task that I undertake.
- I want to meet and interact with other people, using methods that are achievable given my disability (such as typing or writing), and to be a member of the team in both a professional and a social sense.
- I want to be kept busy doing work that is worthwhile, and that contributes to the project that the team is working on, and I want to have pride in my work, in the company that I work for, and in the work that we do as a team.
- I want opportunities to learn new skills, and to grow - both as a person, and as an employee. I also want to use and to share the skills that I've gained over the years to help the team to reach its goals.
- I want to enjoy the work that I do, and to be excited by it, and to feel that my position within the company is secure.
Yes, I know what I want. I just wish it were possible.