Show Your Dedication
When I first entered the workforce at age sixteen, I was paid hourly. I did my work, and at the end of my shift, I left. I never gave a second thought to staying late. I figured if I did my job and did it well, I was showing my loyalty, abilities and eagerness to remain a part of the company. These were primarily summer jobs, and I wasn’t looking to move up in the company. Over the years, I learned to balance my workload and the company’s expectations with the hours I worked. At times, I worked late, occasionally getting overtime, while other times I just worked late to finish the job. I took pride in what I did and enjoyed working.
After college, all that balance went out the window. With my first big corporate job, I immediately fell prey to the advice of friends, families and others who foretold that since I was in a salary position that the company now owned me. I would have to work and show my loyalty through long hours, possibly working into the weekends. Gullibly, I accepted this knowledge as fact.
While working long hours, I found myself part of a new subculture, the corporate family. My evenings were filled with pounding away on reports and presentations while my fellow co-workers held office chair races, had inner-office romances and played online games using the corporation’s high-speed network. I had convinced myself that I enjoyed this new family, although it was quite dysfunctional, and that this was reality of working in a corporate environment.
I did find it odd that while companies did a lot to make you feel like part of the family, there was always a catch. You’ll do everything for them, but they might not give you everything you need – like training, recognition, the ability to grow within your position and apply for opportunities for promotion. That’s when I discovered the following three guiding principles.
1. Believe in Yourself and What You Do
In my job search, I looked for companies where I could believe in the product as well as what role I played in the creation of it. If you’re interested in the product, this will feed your creativity. This creativity can help keep your job fresh and interesting – rather than just drudging from home to work and back again.
2. Growth and Professional Development
There were times when I needed additional training either to do my job or to move to the next level. I’ve worked for companies that didn’t provide or support professional development. Many of its highly talented and motivated workers left. Others have reported that even after they got the necessary training, the only thing they got was extra work and longer hours in the office (no financial compensation or other recognition).
Many companies post the kinds of benefits they offer on their Web sites, from health care to professional development. Before you apply for a job, check out all the benefits provided. A company with a professional development plan can be a place that values its employees and works hard to retain them. Most companies know that it is more expensive to search, hire and train a new employee than find ways to keep or retain them. Remember this if you’re thinking of moving on to another company. Perhaps your employers will pay for training, rather than risk losing you.
3. An Accurate Job Description
Before you start a new job, get it in writing what you will be doing in as much detail as possible. Once you’re hired, create goals that are measurable against your responsibilities. This can help you in focusing what you need to do on a daily basis, but it can also align your expectations with that of your company’s. With quantifiable, measurable goals you can show how you accomplished and/or surpassed the goal. This will come in handy if there are cutbacks.