Are you surviving or thriving at work? It’s time to take a look in the mirror!

Publication 14, Issue 1

Most of us have spent our careers on a hamster wheel – chasing that next title or more importantly, chasing the bucks!   It has taken me a lot of years and amazing work experiences to finally figure out that it’s much more than title and money.  Yes, they are both important – but it’s important to be happy and productive at work – not just productive!

We want to be doing work that interests and challenges us, but whatever the job, there’s a trajectory to a career.  Where are you in your career arc?  The beginning? – where every move counts; in the middle? – where you are constantly feeling the need to prove yourself over and over; or at a place (notice I didn’t say the “end”) where your leadership, communication skills and work speak to your competence – where you’ve arrived and have earned the right to be “joyful” and happy at work?  You can survive your work life with “one foot in and one foot out,” but at what cost?  This strategy will not lead to you thriving at work, that’s for sure!

I know if I had read this blog 20 years ago I would have thought the author was a nut – but hear me out.  There’s a message here for all of us!  Most of us who have been in the game for a while know the signs when things at work aren’t matching our personal or professional values:  Do you have to defend your position and the competence of your staff every day?  Do you think working harder and longer days will make you less vulnerable to being fired?  Are you waiting for a “shoe” to drop?   Is everything an intellectual battle?  My advice is to not miss the signs. Reflect and spring into action!

So, in 2015, do two things:

  1. Take a simple, quick professional inventory:
  • Do you like the people you work with?
  • Do you like the work?
  • Are you having fun?
  • Are you inspired?

While you don’t have to have answered all of these questions with a “yes” – it’s good to know what motivates you.  Notice I didn’t say anything about job title or money. I’ve always been a firm believer that title and money will come if you are the best person you can be, work hard, enjoy what you do, and feel like you are making a contribution to the greater good.

  1. Know what makes you thrive:

For the Peacemaker – it’s a need to feel respected, appreciated and to know that the people who work for you also are appreciated and acknowledged.

For the Organizer – it’s a need to know that your work is respected, tasks are clearly identified and people meet deadlines.

For the Revolutionary – it’s a need to know that the people who work with you know that you are the “go to” person in times of “mission impossible” activities.

For the Steamroller – it’s a need to know that you are seen as the “expert” in your field and that you believe you are making contributions to the company’s goals.

Be direct and fearless in 2015!  If you know you should make a change – have the courage and commitment to do it!  One way or another things work themselves out, so why don’t you take the reins and create your own destiny rather than waiting for the organization to do it!

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