Looking forward to the evening on the way to work in the morning can be an indication that you are in love – or have already left your job behind inwardly (ArbeitsABC).

Having already written an article about boredom in the job and it had really found a broad readership within a short time, I thought about what the consequence of boredom in the job can be. One approach could be as follows: employees have quit after some time of boredom. But what exactly does this mean and what are the signs of it?

What does it mean to have quit inwardly?

“Internal dismissal as a concept of the world of work is a more recent form of words, which attempts to conceptualise the phenomena of lack of work motivation and minimisation of the labour input to an extent that is still justifiable. It is not the formal employment contract that is terminated, but the “psychological contract”. Internal termination is also understood as a form of covert industrial conflict, which bears similarities with the protest form service according to regulations” (source Wikipedia). This definition is quite accurate in the first view. Employees are therefore primarily only bound to the company in writing and reduce their work to a minimum. In colloquial language, some of my subjects, whom I interviewed in the course of the article, often and gladly told me: After 8 a.m. I drop the “pen” and leave the building of the company in a curse.

It takes a while for the “internal termination” to be completed

Internal termination is a creeping process that is often not noticed until it is already too late. Sometimes executive mistakes also influence the development of internal dismissal. Excessive control or repeated overpassing of the employee, distinctly authoritarian company structures, rigid hierarchies or a hermetic attitude of the executive floor can be the reasons for the hidden withdrawal. What other motives can be behind such an internal dismissal? There are many reasons for this, such as:

  • Payment
  • Reward and recognition are missing
  • Goals are unclear
  • Employees are ignored
  • Lack of integration into the company
  • Leadership is “never there”
  • No further development

But how can I tell myself if I have already resigned internally? The magazine Karrierebibel has put forward a number of theses. If you find yourself in these, then you seem to have resigned inwardly. There are quite a few theses and I only give a selection of them, which in my opinion meet the key points.

  1. They are already dragging themselves into the office on Mondays and can’t wait for the weekend.
  2. With every task you have to take on, you groan inwardly.
  3. It is no longer so important to you how well you do your work. They have taken an “actual-me-no-egal attitude”.
  4. They do not take on any additional tasks and no longer volunteer.
  5. Interaction with your colleagues is limited to professional experience.
  6. If your colleagues go for a drink after work, don’t go along.
  7. You think your boss is an idiot.
  8. You don’t see any development opportunities with your current employer.
  9. When you talk about your
    work,
    you talk about “the”, not “we”.
  10. They don’t feel like they’re doing meaningful work.

Answer a short question!

Haben Sie bereits innerlich gekündigt?
abstimmen!

“Please give up your mind at the reception”

“Do you also have to leave your mind at the reception? Large organizations seem to be made to wean their people’s minds and make them sad fatalists. Many draw the conclusion and leave. Budget planning has similar frustration potential. Executives and budget managers are meticulously counting, planning, presenting, changing, thinking. But when the work comes back from controlling, 30 percent of the budget is dryly deleted – without explanation, without internal logic, without mind, mostly in the lawnmower principle. What will the so deceived manager do next year?” (Manager Magazine). Surely he would resign inwardly sooner or later.

Furthermore, the magazine says: “In theory, this is also intentional: employees who are co-thinking and self-responsible, who are willing to take decisions and sometimes take a risk, who act as if they belong to the company itself and as if they were not just a work slave, a recipient of orders, a front soldier. The word Intrapreneur is on everyone’s mouth”. So it seems that no one is acting in this way on purpose. Nor do I think that fundamentally large companies are bad or that management should be abolished. However, we should identify certain causes of this internal dismissal and fix them in a targeted manner. I see this as the task of managers in modern times. It is noticeable that one finds fewer reports about burnouts, but really predominantly about Boreout.

Internal redundancies cause enormous economic damage

The decision of an employee to withdraw his willingness to perform and his work effort consciously but tacitly. This process is as unobtrusive as possible, as he wants to keep his job (Ralf Brinkmann).

So what can we do if you have resigned internally? The opinions in the magazines are quite the same: you should take action, seek conversations and analyse the situation. However, if one reads the comments under the articles, those affected have often tried it for a very long time and then quit internally out of “frustration”. If you’re constantly running against a wall, you seem to give up at some point. At least I was able to read that out between the lines.

So in the end it seems to be somehow a problem of the organization, which moves employees to quit internally. I do not think that the current research or the articles that can be found on the Internet are even partially able to fully map the problem. We are still at the beginning of a long period of research. One approach, however, seems to be the structural change of organizations. The question here is whether such boredom is still so common in forms of organization such as democracy, holacracy or sociocracy, or whether it is a phenomenon of classical hierarchy. What do you think? Write it in the comments. What do you think about concepts like NewWork or Futurework as a solution to such boredom?

Genderhinweis: Ich habe zur leichteren Lesbarkeit die männliche Form verwendet. Sofern keine explizite Unterscheidung getroffen wird, sind daher stets sowohl Frauen, Diverse als auch Männer sowie Menschen jeder Herkunft und Nation gemeint. Lesen Sie mehr dazu.

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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