How to love your job: a roadmap for a rewarding career

From the pages of In Business magazine.

Last month one of my biggest business (and life) role models celebrated his retirement. After 36 years with UPS, my dad decided to trade in time at the office for time at the cabin. On his last day, his boss and colleagues held a meeting to celebrate his accomplishments and dedication to the company. They talked about his strong leadership, the high performance of his team, and most importantly, the strength of his character.

Those of you who know my dad will agree that you would be hard-pressed to find a more hardworking and caring individual. During his years at UPS, he bled brown — and I’m sure he’ll continue to do so until he goes to the big UPS truck in the sky. Half his wardrobe consisted of UPS sweatshirts, T-shirts, and jackets.

These days, it’s almost unheard of for someone to work at the same company for more than three decades. Studies have shown that the average millennial stays only two years at each job before moving on. I can vouch for that statistic, as I am already on job four (by choice) since graduating from college.

On the day my dad retired, my mom threw him a surprise party at their restaurant. His friends, family, and co-workers were all there to celebrate his accomplishments. In between talking with his friends and handing out drinks, I was able to pull him aside and ask him three key questions about his professional life. His answers really helped put things in perspective, and I wanted to share them with you.
The first question was what his favorite part about his job was. He quickly responded, “The people.” He said there will always be difficult people in the world, but the majority of them have good intentions.

Everyone is fighting his or her own battles, so be kind and always willing to help. This advice is something my dad and the majority of other successful businesspeople I have known take very seriously. Invest in getting to know people and helping them succeed, and it will pay huge dividends in your career and life.

The second question was what advice he would give to people just starting their careers. He said to look for a company that would help support you and your professional growth in the same way you contribute to its success and growth. Although he agreed that those companies are hard to find, he believes they are out there. Look for companies and company leaders who are willing to help you reach your goals.

(Continued)

 

The last question I asked was what the biggest challenge of his career was. He thought about this one the longest. Then he told me that about 20 years ago the corporate office asked if he would be willing to take a promotion based on his excellent performance record.

If he’d agreed to the promotion, he would have been on track to move up quickly in the company, have bigger opportunities, and make more money. Sounds great, right? However, only a few months earlier, my mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The new opportunities would have also meant more travel and more time at the office. My dad chose to put his family first and his career second, even though he knew it would limit his opportunities.

He said his biggest challenge was not making the decision but learning to love his job for what it was. Based on the comments from his peers and supervisors at his retirement party, I would say that he not only found a way to love his job, he also found ways to spread his dedication, positivity, and passion to everyone around him. Remember that success isn’t about how high you climb but how you handle your priorities and who is with you on the journey.

Fast Track Action Items for February:

■ Get to know people in your office on a deeper level. Many people go to work each day without truly getting to know their co-workers. Take time this month to ask questions and show you truly care about them.
■ Find ways to show dedication to your organization. Come in an hour early or stay an hour late. Once you put in the extra effort to help your company, find ways your company can support you. Examples would include having your employer pay your dues to a professional organization or provide you with a mentor.
■ Take steps to truly love what you do. People are often tempted to search for happiness by seeking out new jobs, new responsibilities, or new places when they would be just as happy making the best of where they are. Appreciate the good things about what you do and who you are with. Remember that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side; it is greener where you water it!

I’d love to hear from you! What will you do this month to help you love what you do? Shoot me an email at jennaatkinson1@gmail.com.

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