There was a time many years ago when, more than anything, I wanted a job that would give me “most evenings and weekends off.” That would be my perfect job!
At the time I was reaping the rewards of some horrible choices I had made early in my life. I was working multiple jobs. All hours. Hardly making any money. At the time the future seemed bleak.
Fast-forward to today. I have a fantastic position with an amazing organization. And yes, I do get most evenings and weekends off!
Better yet I have a wife, son, and dog in our house in Granite Bay CA that makes it all incredibly meaningful.
The roadmap from there to here was simple. Just reference this favorite and apt illustration of “what success looks like.”
My first “professional” job – I learned later – was obtained because the Japanese-born manager confused “Harbor College” with “Harvard College.” He thought he was making a terrific Ivy League hire. He was not.
He did make a great hire, only from UCSB, not Harvard.
Far more important, for me, was that he was illustrating that dumb luck can be a huge factor in one’s career path.
Dumb luck, however, is not a reliable and repeatable strategy. What I learned, over time, is a better strategy for a career is focusing on these three activities.
- Showing up. Showing up every day with a great attitude and a singular focus toward successfully doing your job (not bringing personal business to work) is simple but not easy. It all starts here. Get in the game by showing up every day, ready to play, starting with the job/role/company you are in today and no telling where it may lead.
- Focus on the quality of your work. Doing great quality work almost always trumps everything else. You will do more for your career by doing a great job – regardless of what it is. Great work will not only impress your employer but it will also make you feel good about yourself for “a job well done!”
- Have the proper perspective. Work is important. It makes possible so much of what we value in life. Yet work is not the only thing. You need to be happy. Happiness often comes from the broader tapestry of life that includes family, friends, health, travel, hobbies, and the passage of time. Having the right perspective on your job can change the game from misery to gratitude. Remember, perspective can change everything, without changing a thing. Happy people are easier to work with.
In conclusion, if I focus on showing up every work day with a great attitude and doing the best work I can in the role I’m in, everything sorts itself out. I’ll find I’m on that squiggly line to success.
I have also learned that sleep, exercise and practicing better nutrition can influence my perceptions – so pay attention to those.
That first job turned out to to be a perfect one for me. In fact, with a little perspective, I realize all my jobs have been perfect – in that, I didn’t have to work most evenings and weekends!
Happy Labor Day!