by Tim Elmore, founder of Growing Leaders


Far too many new professionals enter their first jobs like they do an apartment. They aren’t sure if this is a long-term thing, and they haven’t really made up their minds about how long they want to stay in it. In fact, it may be they are still unsure about the direction of their career. Unfortunately, it’s obvious to their employer—they are only half-hearted about their position. Their uncertainty causes them to “rent” their job instead of “owning” it. They don’t take as good of care of it as they would if they really committed themselves and served as if it were their company.

It shows up in little but real ways, such as:

You’re unprepared for team projects.
You don’t show up on time for meetings.
You seem nonchalant about tasks you work on.
You don’t really care about colleagues outside the job.
You are careless about your workspace and appearance.
You don’t really push yourself to work hard and be creative.

The truth is—everyone is working for himself. You may think you aren’t since you have a boss and are told what to do for the company. But in reality, you and your teammates are all working for yourselves. The effort and energy you exert will either come back to haunt you or bless you in the end. Your work and attitude this week will eventually show up. Every day you are building your resume. My suggestion? Own it, don’t rent it.

I’ll be the first to admit, your career may look different than your parent’s or grandparent’s generation. In the past, people climbed a corporate ladder. They often stayed with a company for decades and step-by-step, climbed that ladder toward higher positions and better salaries. Many believe new professionals today have moved from “ladders” to “lily pads.” Instead of climbing, it may look more like a frog hopping from one spot to another. You may even have multiple careers

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