David Bolchover pulls not punches when we unveils the truth behind the corporate myth.  In his book The Living Dead he speaks about the harsh reality of under work.  The gross under-utilization of talent.  The criminal waste of human potential.  The slow strangling of drive, creativity, and ambition in today’s corporate world. Any leader and manager would do well to take a slow walk around their office floor to connect with their people, understand who amongst them are part of the Living Dead and begin an immediate campaign to awaken these poor souls back to creative contribution.

The book is loaded with numerous statistics to prove his case;

“Gallup conducts regular research into worker motivation through its Employee Engagement Index Q12 surveys.  The Q12 comprises twelve questions given to individual employees such as: ‘At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?’ ‘At work, do my opinions seem to count?’ and ‘Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?”

In its analysis of the results of its survey, Gallup divides employees into three types;

  1. The ‘engaged’ (loyal, productive, find their work satisfying),
  2. The ‘not engaged’ (not psychologically committed to their roles and may leave if an opportunity presents itself) and
  3. The ‘actively disengaged’  (disenchanted with their workplaces).

The ‘actively disengaged’ is possibly the nearest technical term we have to ‘The Living Dead’; that is, people who are totally emotionally disconnected from their work.  According to Gallup, the ‘actively disengaged’ are ’significantly less productive’ and are absent from work 3.5 days a year more on average than other workers.  Psychologically, Gallup says, they have already left their jobs.

In thousands of surveys conducted in many countries, a significant majority was uninspired at work and a significant minority just didn’t want to be there at all.  People feel bored and lifeless in their jobs but its too easy to stay put for too long, psychologically trapped by apparent financial security.

Tellingly, in the past decade the number of young people who fear ’dying without achieving anything’ has doubled to 65%.  Thousands are suffering from a condition known to psychologists as ’under load syndrome’, a lack of stimulation at work.  Even intelligent individuals who have oppressively heightened awareness of the absurdity and mediocrity of their working life can lack the gumption to get out of this rut.

This is no way to spend your working life!  If you are part of the living dead – wake up!  It may be time to make some changes.  If you are a leader to some who may be part of the living dead – wake up!  It may be time to be the catalyst.


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