Career Key

Author: Career Key's President and CEO, Juliet Wehr Jones, GCDF, J.D.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Free Agent Workers Do a Good Job

If you want better control of your career destiny as a “free agent” in the world of work, do a good job wherever you work. This principle (#4 of 6) of The Free Agent Outlook on Work seems so obvious, and yet you would be surprised.

We've all met people who have given up on their jobs - their careers - their clothes. Or people who continue to work for a bad boss. In addition to the fashion makeover show, TLC's What Not to Wear, we should have a career makeover show for people whose career choice is the equivalent of a velour pantsuit. (can you believe Blogger's spellcheck doesn't recognize the word "velour"?) The Free Agent is not "comfy."

The real standard is not to be perfect, but to overall meet and exceed your job’s performance objectives – whether that’s finishing a beautiful piece of art for an upcoming exhibition or checking in code for a programming project.

As I alluded to in last week’s post about faking sick leave, if you find you’re not performing well in your current job – regardless of who's to blame, it’s time to either get help with improving your current situation or move on.

Take a few minutes to answer these questions:

1. Are you a glass “half full” or “half empty” person? Studies show that if you have a negative outlook on life, you are more likely to be dissatisfied with your work, no matter what you choose to do. See my future post on Free Agent Principle #6 “Think Right Thoughts.”

2. Are your problems temporary or long-term? Maybe the issue is a divorce, money problems, illness or death of a loved one. If challenges from your personal life are spilling over at work, make a plan for how to move forward. Paralysis and denial will not work for long, especially if your supervisor is one of the few who actually does written performance reviews.

3. Are you in the right career and job? Figure out whether it’s the job you’re in now or the whole career path. In your work world or industry, if you’re around people you don’t like on a consistent basis, then maybe you are in the wrong Holland [personality] work environment.

4. What is your next career step? Make plans for your next career decision: your next job and how to reach your personal career goals. You know the drill - you need to set goals to achieve them.

Next Free Agent Principle: Be Loyal to Your Friends and Family… Stay tuned.

For the previous posts for this 6 part series see:
The 6 Principles of the Free Agent Worker
Principle #1: Know and Strengthen Your Marketable Skills
Principle #2: Stay Mobile
Principle #3: Watch Your Company and Industry

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