I use this a lot in my presentations, because it so clearly illustrates what Engagement isn't, and the cynical view that many employees have when execs. try and promote it. And oh, it's durned funny...
I think it represents a reality, but many companies and –more often– groups within companies balk this cynicism, so there is hope.
I think one of the biggest challenges we are fighting in the workplace is actually based in our culture. People are taking jobs that they 'should' because of money, status, a false sense of self-worth, and then helping contribute to a miserable environment because they are feeling unfulfilled.
One of the best books I have read on this topic is 'The Element' by Sir Ken Robinson. Note that he doesn't argue that we should all be doing a job we love, but we need to find what puts us in our 'element' and decide if that is a career or a pastime. You may love what you do so much that money would just taint it... a highly recommended read to offset the Dilbert cynicism. :)
Adrian this is very timely, as I sit here writing a blog about the ego at work! I found that a recent blog on why the ego was one of the most destructive things for morale and engagement at work was the most popular for me in the last year.....
So I certainly identify with your thoughts about why we do things. In this financial climate however, doing something which expands our ego is a bit of a luxury and takes a back seat to just surviving for many people.
As for the Robinson book, it sounds familiar, a variation on the theme we have here which is "do what you love and the money will follow"; not sure about that since I love to go to Happy Hour but no one ever paid me for it... :-)
Fortunately I was a bit tongue in cheek with the comment last night; I don't only feel like a dreamer and think what we do in our work on the EE theme really does make a difference. Meanwhile Dilbert keeps me face to face with the situations I have seen so many times in clients, which is not surprising since Scott Adams solicits such things from his readers by publishing his e-mail on every strip!
Adrian this is a favo(u)rite of mine from Doonesbury, not Dilbert. Its about engagement all right, and touches on that cynical theme you have talked about, but so true for some of our "leaders", don't you think?