how to use your job for personal growth

“Joan, this has got to change.  You’re a grown woman, representing a business.”

My boss and I were outside, and once again, I was hearing about one of my (many) bad habits.

“Please – speak with professionalism,” he was saying, “you do not make our company seem professional when you say, ‘um’ and ‘yeah’ and ‘hey’!”

I fidgeted with my bracelets and tried to come up with a professional response.

“Yeah, I know.  I mean um – sorry!  I’ll ah – I’ll work on it.”

He sighed.  “You answer our phones, Joan.  You talk to our clients.  This has to improve.”

“Yes.  Uh – yes it will.”

He pinched his lips together and looked at me, nodding his head thoughtfully.

Then he turned and walked back inside, and I trailed miserably behind. 

He headed straight to our employer’s office, and I slunk back to my desk. 


I’ve learned most things from um – being terrible at them for a long time.

And I’ve learned countless things from my years of employment.


We’ve been on the topic of learning for the past week now.

Last week I talked about developing yourself, and making your job develop you.


And I’ll just recap it really quick, in case this is the first time you’re hearing about it:

You’re going to know what you want your life to be, and know who you need to become to have that life. 

You’re going to identify the skills and attributes you’ll need to develop, and choose one or two to start with. 

You’re going to make time to study that skill/attribute every single day during your personal time. 

And you’re going to find every way you can to learn and practice that skill/attribute every time you’re at your job.


Today I want to tell you how to give your practice at work a big fat shot of steroids. 

It’s something I call, “being in character”, and it’s Step 4 to using your job to get what you want. 


I know already that the idea of playing a character is not going to sit well with any of us who value honesty and authenticity, so let’s first get really clear on what this is NOT. 


Being in character (the way I’m using it):

Is NOT lying about achievements or qualifications, or skills, or experience you don’t have.

Is NOT padding your resume with any achievements, qualifications, skills, or experience you don’t have.

Is NOT pretending to have different opinions, or interests, or values, to make people like you.

Is NOT pretending to have a different personality.

It’s NOT being a bad person, pretending to be a good person, so you can do something bad to the person who falls for it.

It’s also NOT trying to brainwash yourself into thinking this job is perfectly-perfect and you’ll stick around till the end of time.


You will NOT be pretending to be a different person.

You will be PRACTICING being your best person. 

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You will be practicing being you at your best, and one of the best places to do this: is at work!

We have to be professional there anyway.  We already know we have to represent ourselves and the company well.  So now you’re just going to take that professionalism, you’re going to step it up some, and you’re going to do it with a plan.  You’re going to do it with purpose and intent, so you can reap the rewards.

This is a good thing to do.  It’s good for everyone you work with, and for.  It’s considerate; it’s respectful – it’s you giving you at your best. 

It’s all for you, but it benefits them too.  I know for sure that the boss in my story would have loved it if I’d learned all this in time to do it at that job.


And I’m telling you – this takes all your efforts to study, learn, and practice, and it enhances them like crazy.  It might almost be an unfair advantage, but it’s one you don’t have to feel even a fraction of guilt for taking.


I’ll be referencing this step from now on, because it’s one of the crucial ones.  You’ll have use for it in almost every work-situation there is. 


I made a video about it, and I went into the what, the how, and the why.  I think I did a pretty good job covering everything in the video, so I won’t try to repeat it all in this post. 

If you’d like to learn more about being in character at work, you can click here to watch the video: