I once knew of a girl who was hired as an intern at a big company, and was then hired on as an assistant to the higher-ups after her internship was over. Her job description included tasks like taking out trash, keeping the fridge stocked with drinks, making phone calls, and making lots of lunch and coffee runs. It was not a glamorous job, especially in the summers when she’d sweat right through her silk top, but this girl decided she was going to own it. She was going to be the quickest coffee-getter she could be. She was going to be as professional as possible on the phone. She was going to take pride in arranging the waters in the refrigerator in pretty little lines.
I also once knew of a girl who was hired as an assistant at a different company, but whose job description included many of the same items. She hated her job. She wanted the job of the girls she was assisting, so she was bitter every day when she came to work. She never went the extra mile, she was slow in errand running, and her poor attitude manifested in little outbursts towards her coworkers. She thought she was too good for her position so she never treated that “lowly” position with respect.
The first girl I told you about got noticed for working joyfully at a job that she was probably overqualified for. She had a smile on her face every day as she was serving those she worked for. She decided to have fun with the unboxing and arranging of the mini Diet Cokes in the fridge. She made sure things were tidy in the conference room before potential clients came in. These small acts did not go unnoticed and this girl was quickly promoted. She was eventually able to start her own company because of all of the quality experience she’d been able to gain as she worked her way up with a genuine joyful attitude of gratitude.
Girl B is still in the same position she was hired into years ago. She does just enough to get by, still wishing for the job of the girls she works for. Her apathy and attitude of entitlement have landed her at a dead end.
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I’ve had multiple conversations and listened to multiple podcasts lately that all touch on the topic of modern work eithic. Since it has come up so naturally lately in several different friend/work groups, and in multiple sermons/podcasts, it seemed like a good thing to talk about over here! This entitlement phenomenon, which seems most predominant in those who are newer to the professional world, blows my mind! It makes me a little bit sad to see so many young people (oh my goodness, I’m turning into a grandmother with the use of the term “young people!” ha!) enter the professional world with some sort of entitled attitude. People who automatically think they are too good for their job. That they deserve more, without having earned any stripes, so to speak. People who think that, just because they come from a certain background, they should be handed a huge paycheck without having to work for it.
(Let me take a minute to say that this is definitely not applicable to everyone who has entered the workforce in the past ten years. It does apply to too many, but absolutely not all!)
Is it just me that sees this? Actually, I know it’s not! Hence all the conversations I’ve had recently about it 😉
If you are new to the professional world, do you mind if I give you some advice? Even if you’re not new to the world of work but feel that you’re stuck in a job that you’re too good for, you might could benefit from this too!
Choose JOY. I know this is easier said than done, but it all starts with attitude. Choose to enjoy what you do. Even if your job sucks, find something cool about it and focus on the cool rather than the uncool. Go out of your way to go the extra mile. Like the first girl I talked about, have fun arranging the drinks in the fridge. Why not rubber band a sticky note to the one in the back with a funny quote for whoever gets that one? Take note of things that might need to be done that aren’t necessarily in your job description. Do you see a plant by the back door that has obviously been forgotten about and is wilting away? By all means, water that freaking plant! Put a new roll of toilet paper on the spool if you use the last sheet. Pick up that piece of trash that’s been in the parking lot all week. If you’re going to Panera Bread for lunch and the person who works next to you is having a crazy busy day, offer to get her something too (since you’ll already be there and all.) And be happy about it! You can always find something to be happy about. Promise. This reminds me of Colossians 3:23-24. Great and very applicable scripture for this scenario!
As someone who has overseen my share of interns over the years, I can tell you that little things like this go a LONG way. I myself was the intern many years ago. 🙂 God may be the only one who saw you pick that trash up, but you never know what sort of impression that piece of garbage would’ve made to the next customer who pulled up to the door had it still been there.
Those who work with joy and gratitude (I mean, be thankful you even have a job, right?!) always go further. Again, I promise. Take the time to pinpoint the positives, focus on them to keep your joy levels up, and do whatever you can to make the negative a little better, bit by bit. Are you the receptionist at a business and the front desk has become a big hot mess because of a crazy couple of weeks where your routine is thrown off? Come in 30 minutes early one day and get things back in order. You will be able to do your job better, and I bet you someone notices. But even if they don’t, you can have joy knowing that you are owning your job and doing the best you can at it.
“With great power comes great responsibility,” to quote Spiderman. But that starts small. With a little power comes a little responsibility. Show you’re trustworthy and capable of handling the small. Then you’ll be given a little more. Handle it with joy and pride and gratitude and that little bit will keep becoming more and more. Nobody ever became great (and stayed great) overnight. It’s a process. One that I would advise tackling prayerfully. God can help change your heart if you ask Him to!
Now, take the weekend to devise a plan for how you’ll really show up for work on Monday. Great attitude and all. No matter what your job is!
Go get ‘em! 🙂 And thanks for reading! You’re awesome and you are great at your job and I hope you find joy that helps you to own that job!!