We all sometimes feel a lack of interest or motivation in our daily work. I also lack that sometimes, for example this week was characterized by all those feelings, but one thing to understand is that, it is fine to occasionally feel that way. However, when this lack of energy, interest or motivation to work becomes persistent, it could be sign of a more serious issue, something more of apathy? According to different articles online, apathy is an emotional state that lacks feeling, interest, or concern, resulting in a lack of motivation to do basic daily tasks. It presents rather like boredom but is actually different in a few vital ways. According to an article published by Career contessa, research has found that short-term boredom prompted by a temporary lack of stimulation can result in an increase in creativity and motivation, while apathy results in indifference and even behaviour that goes against your own best interests and the wellbeing of those around you. Marlene Umwiza who works in a software company as an accountant, says that she became apathetic for quite some time and observed how it partly affected her work and wellbeing. “I agree we can have our days, but apathy can affect someone’s life. It can be caused by a lot of things in the workplace, may be the work environment is negative, or even you, how you think of yourself in the role you are in. It is always great to find help when feeling like that,” she says. According to Edgar Musabe, a business consultant, although the feeling is common, if a person allows it to keep on going, they can get stuck in a negative cycle and an unproductive career or unfulfilling one. “If you are being apathetic, it is best to identify it first, even your colleagues can notice that. So, when they tell you about it, it is best to listen to them and try finding help, may be someone to help you pass the phase, a manager, HR or workmate,” he says. He adds that this requires you to look inside of you, ask yourself if the job you are doing is what you want to do, if you have enough skills for the job, or if you are even passionate about your career. And if you find out that you push yourself and yet it’s not what you want to do, then consider looking out for other careers to venture in. The article by Career contessa continues that empathy is a powerful way to deal with apathy, noting that workplace apathy can sometimes be a sign that it’s time to change roles, or even pivot your career in a dramatically different direction. It can also be a warning sign of health issues, burnout, or even unmet emotional needs. How is empathy a powerful way to deal with apathy? The article shows that increasing our empathy for our colleagues and clients or customers can also deepen our connection with them and make us feel more motivated to help, which breaks the cycle of apathy for ourselves, as well as for those around us. An empathetic team celebrates wins regularly and recognises the efforts and hard work of team members with regular positive feedback. Diane Uwimbabazi a digital artist says that people in workplaces should also exercise empathy for themselves, being positive about themselves and celebrating every single milestone they achieve, this will help them not be apathetic. Five phases of apathy According to Dr. Milton Mattox an American solutions-focused senior executive and technologist, these are identified phases of apathy: Felicity: This is the phase near the beginning of your career when you’re full of excitement for the future. You tend to be highly engaged, innovative, and motivated, but also inexperienced during this phase. Sanguinity: You’re now somewhat settled in your career and have taken the rose-tinted glasses off, but are still highly motivated to progress, seeking promotions, new opportunities, and salary raises. Disillusionment: Having been through a lot in your career, you’re now feeling disappointed and frustrated with your work. You might be experiencing high levels of burnout as you try working harder or spreading yourself thinner to counter your negative feelings and change your circumstances. Melancholic: Your disillusionment has evolved into persistent negativity about your work, and you feel as though nothing you do makes a difference, which can result in a lack of desire to set high goals or try anything new. Apathetic: After a sustained period of melancholy (phase four) in your work, you have become used to “going through the motions” and can even appear relatively cheerful about it.