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It’s been more than a decade and a half since my first formal job in a bank’s HR department, which only lasted a month. After four weeks of depression and immaturity, I decided to quit. Very few people (including close friends) know this story. Fast forward to today, if close friends hear this, they’ll be surprised because they only know the strong high-flyer in me whom they might have thought never failed.
Here lies the importance of continuous learning and always being inspired every waking morning to do a good job and to build a career that you can be proud of. Whether we like it or not, it takes a huge part in our lives and it’s our responsibility to make it worthwhile.
1. Your career defines you. While not in a be-all and and-all way, but still an inevitable part of us. Try this, imagine introducing yourself to a stranger. What would you say? If your description has no reference to your work or career, then congratulations – you belong to the minority. Whatever your job is, living daily with at least 8 hours of it forms part of you – the way you think, speak, act and perhaps even more.
2. Your career speaks your truth. Your authenticity shines in the workplace. Especially during challenging times, not only will your skills and competencies be put to test, more importantly your principles, values and E.Q. And these are what I mean by ‘your truth’. Successful professionals who progress excel on these aspects since they add more intangible and valuable contribution to a team or organization.
3. Your career helps you grow. From learning the ropes to being the expert in the field, it’s one colorful journey filled with highlights and lowlights. Sum it all up, if you paid attention then you should have benefitted the most as this is a platform that forces you to grow and be better in whatever you do. It allows us to discover more about ourselves and it’s our call how to make the most of these opportunities.
4. Your career shows you the big picture. Achieving work-life balance is the toughest act to pull off, yet for me is the most essential. During crunch time, you have to make tough choices and the beauty in this challenge is that your world suddenly opens to show you the big picture. It’s in these moments that you need to realize that nobody’s indispensable and your sick kid is always more important than any business meeting.
5. Your career puts food on the table. The practical reality that states the obvious. On this day and age, it’s is easily neglected, as we always want more. With the economic challenges, we tend to forget that we’re lucky to have a career that helps provide our basic needs. With the growing unemployment rate, we should learn to appreciate and value more what we are blessed with. Without it, imagine how different your life would be.
6. Your career shapes your future. If you’re a first jobber, what you do today impacts how you chart your progression in the next 10 years. If you’re a veteran, you’re setting-up your retirement. Bottomline, regardless of age or where you are in the career phase, your future’s always at stake. Thus, best to invest in giving your best now to make sure that the future also provides you with the best comeback.
7. Your career fulfills your aspirations. Whether your career now was your past aspiration or the complete opposite, treat it as a springboard that brings dreams to life. Best to also remember that meaningful aspirations are not the material clichés, but are the money-can’t-buy experiences that make you better. These are the accomplishments that you can’t put a price tag on that you can carry thorough over the years.
8. Your career accepts your mistakes. Career failures allow you to feel and keep you sane, grounded and motivated to try again. Mistakes are provisions for better chances that we always face along the journey. What’s key is how we bounce back to seize the opportunity to grow. While people are accepting and forgiving, they are also expecting how you will turn things around eventually.
9. Your career makes you human. While I’m a great believer that technology aids in achieving efficiency, it can never replace the human touch, which spells the difference in every output. No matter how successful we are, if we don’t put in our human side in the equation, everything will look and feel empty. Yes, it’s always numbers at the end of the day, yet without the mind and heart, the numbers are meaningless.
10. Your career marks your legacy. Your passion fuels your career, which then results to output that has your signature stamped on. Good, bad, ugly, whatever it may be, it will remain your legacy. So, your actions should always be geared towards results that you can always be proud of. Things that may end up staying for long that hopefully can create a positive change or great impact.
At the end of the day, making your 8 to 5 life worth waking up for will solely depend on you. While it’s a mindset and a decision, it needs a great deal of self-motivation, commitment and dedication.
It’s never easy, but being inspired to persevere in one’s career journey will always be rewarding. It will be that story of your life which you can happily end with the line “I’ve arrived!”.