My boss raced into the back office where I was working alone.
“WHO did this?!”
Crap, what now? Well, whatever it was, we both knew it was me.
“Ub- um – did what?”
I followed his wild gestures to the printer in the next room, which was busy spitting out a stack of papers for me.
“I’m just eh, printing something.” ?
“It could jam!” He cried, slapping his forehead. “I’ve told you before not to walk away from the printer while it’s going!”
He launched into a lecture about his overhead costs, and I struggled to pay attention and estimate the amount of my next paycheck at the same time. I’d put in a lot of overtime during the past week; hopefully I’d be getting a nice reward come Friday, and it’d make all this… worth it.
“…so I need you to be more proactive about these things!” Oops. He was still going. “Can you please do that from now on?”
Uh, what? Ah - “Yep! Er- yes! I will.”
This next check better be good.
Want to know how to have a better day at work?
Know what it’s all for:
You can use your job to get what you want.
I’m going to be repeating that forever, because it took me years to learn, and I went through a lot of jobs I could have used during that time. You don’t have to take as long as I did to figure this out.
No matter what your job is, how you feel about it, and how long you plan to stay, you have a reason to do well, and it’s not that you want to move up, or keep yourself from getting fired.
Your reason to give this job your best is that you can use it to get what you want out of life.
It takes deliberate, planned action. You can’t just show up to work, do a great job, and expect to be delivered to a dream come true. A forty-hour drive with no map or purposeful direction could take you all kinds of places, and odds are you wouldn’t be thrilled with your surprise destination.
You can use your job to get what you want, but you have to use it.
These past five weeks we’ve covered the first five steps, and I just want to summarize them now so we’re all caught up:
STEP 1: MAKE A PLAN FOR YOUR JOB
This could also be called, “make your map”, because that’s what you’ll be doing.
You’re going to get clear on what you want your life to be (your destination) – in the long-term and in the short-term. This will include goals about your lifestyle, relationships, health, interests, work, and other things you want to have and achieve.
You’re also going to get clear on exactly how your job now can help you to get to that life, and you’re going to make a detailed plan for using it.
This step is really, really, really involved. But the more you put into it – you know – the more you’ll get out.
If you’d like to see the video I made about Step 1, you can watch it here.
STEP 2: HAVE CONFIDENCE
We need it on the job! And we need to believe in ourselves and in our ability to change or improve ourselves, and change or improve our circumstances. We all need to have this.
…Especially at work. This is another one I’ll never stop referring to, because it’s so important. It’s going to be part of your strategy during so many of the job-related issues/situations/challenges I’ll be talking about.
And it’s Step 2 to using your job to get what you want.
In the video and blog post about this, I gave you a list of simple habits you can start for yourself, to help give your confidence a nice little boost. The video is more in-depth, and the blog post is a summary. If you missed those, you can click whichever link you choose to get caught up.
STEP 3: PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT – WITH YOUR JOB
During this step you were to determine who you need to become in order to reach your goals and have that life you want. As part of this, you’ll identify specific skills and attributes you’ll need to develop, so you can become the you that you need to be.
Then you’ll pick one or two skills/attributes to start with, and you’ll get to work on those by studying every day on your own time, and learning and practicing at work.
STEP 4: BE IN CHARACTER AT WORK
This is a way to make your at-work practice even more effective. To do it, you first determine how you already are at your best, and you become that way and stay that way every time you go into work.
At the same time, you add on the skill/attribute you’re currently studying, learning about and practicing, and you become/have that every time you go into work, and keep it the whole time you’re at work.
Because there are ways to get this wrong or take it too far, I wanted to make sure there were no misunderstandings about what this is/is not. I listed those in the video I made about it. That video also has more details about how to do this (correctly), so if you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch it here.
STEP 5: LEARN YOUR COMPANY AND ITS GOALS
This step comes with a bonus of being the BEST way to qualify for a promotion.
But even if sticking around and moving up are nowhere to be found in your plans, you still want to do Step 5.
Those were just the first five, and there’s many more! Start with these, let me know how it’s going, and be ready to add to your strategies.
Use your job!
It will change everything about every day you’re on it.