It’s tempting to grouse when we see our jobs as:
- Boring and repetitive
- Uncreative and confining
- Unchallenging and limiting
If we’re not complaining that the work isn’t exciting enough, we’re dissing on the boss who isn’t doing something about it.
It’s our work.
It would be wonderful to have a boss with the time, energy, and ability to tailor our jobs to fit what we most want to do. Truth is, no one’s doing that for our bosses either.
Businesses run on the processes and tasks required to make their products and deliver services. They need us to produce results that create the revenue and profit needed to keep it going and us employed.
This may not be a very sexy scenario but it’s the way it is.
We are essential to the success of the business and the business is essential to ours. We’re in this together.
Baby-sitter or owner?
Baby-sitting for someone else’s kids is a big responsibility, but it’s not the same as being the parent. A baby-sitter spends a specific amount of time with the children, performs basic care duties, gets paid, and goes home.
When we approach our jobs as just a string of tasks completed over a set period for which we get paid and then go home, we are a bit like a baby-sitter. Our perceived commitment to the lifetime success of the business would appear minimal at best.
We differentiate ourselves at work in ways that get us noticed when it’s evident that we truly own our work, whether glamorous or mundane, out front or behind the scenes, challenging or simple.
So, I’ll repeat: “It’s your job, so own it.”
When you work your job with zeal like it’s your own business, you demonstrate its value, bring attention to it challenges, showcase your capabilities, win the regard of colleagues, and set a positive example. It gets you noticed.
Your job—your business
If you haven’t looked at your job from an entrepreneur’s perspective before, here are several business aspects that you own:
Products and services: Your output (i.e., data, ideas, reports, transactions) is what you’re selling to your boss, coworkers, and perhaps customers. So the quality of your work product is a measure of your contribution to your main customer—your employer. The better is it, the more value you’re adding.
Customer relationships: Your internal customers (boss, coworkers, peers, other departments) make or break your ability to succeed. They either applaud your work or criticize it, contributing to either a positive or negative brand. You need positive relationships that become your loyal support foundation.
Marketing: Your work reflects on the company and you. Everything you do needs to reinforce the standards, quality, integrity, and principles that underpin the business and your personal brand. A good reputation is currency for your future growth.
Fiscal Responsibility: You have an impact on the company’s bottom line by the way you use resources, apply your time productively, adhere to rules, and protect company property. You don’t need to be spending budgeted dollars directly to affect the bottom line.
Administration: Every business has back office work (reports, filing, records, accounting) that ensures its efficiency and effectiveness. In your job you need to be known as someone who meets deadlines, is accurate, and careful about your paperwork.
When we own our jobs, we end up freeing ourselves from the idea that we are somehow under the thumb of the company. We recognize that the work we do is in our control, a reflection of our ability to get results though our own energies.
When we own our jobs, the leadership sees a difference in us, in our ability to understand the business, and our part in it. It showcases our skills and abilities in unique ways. That can be the perfect formula for your next move—up!
Photo from twodolla via Flickr