Listed as the Oxford Word of the Year in 2022, the phrase ‘Goblin Mode‘ pretty much captures how employees have been feeling about getting back to offices, or work in general. Returning with a full swing to these modern workplaces isn’t all as easy as it appears and the fear of failure emerging from this hyper dynamism often encourages workers to take a ‘Goblin’ approach. What does it mean? Goblin mode is defined as a slang term for “a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.” Imagine your teenage self refusing to go back to school because of one tiny setback or simply rejecting to face the harsh realities of the real world after high school. Terrifying, right? Do you remember your first job? How many times did you want to quit in the first few months of joining?
Likewise, the world of work has witnessed phenomenal shifts in recent years, introducing a wave of changes that we never saw coming and employees did have a hard time adjusting to them. While some emerged stronger, others took a more complacent approach in a hope that it will soon subside. But it is time to finally note that what we’re witnessing today is only the beginning of everything that is going to drive the future of work which is going to be faster, more agile, and very dynamic in nature. While switching straight to the goblin mode may often be misconstrued as a self-care approach to many, it is safe to always get to the bottom of it. If you too are suffering from this phase at work, here are the five actionable approaches or questions that you can try asking for a safe escape!
1. What are your ‘Trigger’ points?
In order to phase yourself out of goblin mode, you have to do some internal work to pinpoint what’s causing it in the first place. After all, we all deserve to be leading healthy and progressive careers. You may say that goblin mode is a natural reaction to the new norms of working but the root causes can be several such as burnout, conflict at work, toxic work culture, poor compensation, failure to engage, competition in the workplace, or a career slump. Employees can often overlook the trigger points and go straight into denial mode or sometimes even the ‘Quiet Quit’ but the idea is to identify, assess and find solutions to the pertinent challenges.
2. Is Quitting the right solution?
Well, the idea of making a fresh start always seems appealing but what if that new change brings you to a halt again? How will you deal with the same problems at your new workplace? Maybe, leaping into a new job is not the right solution but making considerable efforts to resolve the problems definitely is. Make efforts to find your balance, and talk to your manager or peers about how you can make your job more meaningful. Find a way to look for the right skills and reach out to the right leaders so you feel supported. However, it is also important to note that not every problem is salvageable, so if all the challenges continue to persist in the long run, it may be the right time to reconsider staying.
3. What is the one thing that empowers you at work?
The power of empowerment in today’s world of business will go a long way and several surveys over the years have proven this fact. The 2022 PwC survey states that when workers have power and choice, they are happier, more committed to the organisation, and less stressed. They are also better at their jobs and get more innovative with time. Therefore, one of the key ways to get yourself off that couch might start with that one thing that is truly important to you at work. Whether it is a seamless hybrid culture or unbiased remote work or projects that add real meaning to your job and profile, elevating your overall confidence and experience, it is important to understand that empowered work is happy work. So, if something gives you a sense of autonomy and a higher purpose, seek it, lock it and nurture it.
4. How often do you upskill yourself?
Organisations today run a huge risk of attrition if they fail to offer the right career choices or upskilling opportunities. Having the ability to contribute more to the shifting work order greatly impacts the employees’ choice to stay and to regain the confidence to perform. Perhaps, the reason you’ve switched modes is the stagnant skillset, and here’s how upskilling plays a critical role in lifting you up again. Doing the same monotonous tasks day in and out with no progression at all can often fill you up with a number of questions, some of which can make you seriously doubt your competencies. Hence, keeping a regular check on them can reignite the lost spirit at work. Not to mention how reskilling and career growth have outnumbered compensation and so many other factors when it comes to making a career choice in recent years.
In one of our exclusive sessions at #ETHRNexTechSEA, Khim Tan, Group CHRO at Alliance Bank Malaysia Berhad accurately pointed out how critical it has become for employees to assess if their work is interesting enough or preparing them for the next stages of their lives. The pandemic has blurred everything for the world so it is time to wake up and speak for yourself, she added.
5. Do you trust your leadership?
Well, trust does not necessarily need to be established in a professional capacity. It is important to feel trusted and safe during all phases of your life which, undoubtedly has a direct impact on your work life and career choices. Employees should be able to talk to their managers and bosses about everything, even if it doesn’t concern work, and developing this kind of relationship can help you weather the storms of uncertainty or doubt, if in case you are facing any.
As much of a growing hesitation as it can be to communicate freely with yourself, it often becomes our biggest rescuer in times like these when everything around us seems to make little to no sense. As we step into this new year, take the time to reflect again on your boundaries and choices and get out of that fluffy little blanket to make time for those choices. Ask yourself these questions and you will soon see everything at work from a different perspective. Let us know what helps you bid goodbye to that ‘Goblin’ in you 🙂