3 ways your best work is for you, not the corporation

By Scot Herrick | Cube Rules Commentary

Feb 09

Creative Commons License photo credit: topher74

When you deal with job security, your work focuses on what it takes to keep your job. Your orientation, then, is on what the company needs, what the company wants, and what it takes to keep your job. That orientation easily leads you to powerlessness, emptiness about your work, or disengagement from your work. After all, your work is for the company as a trade for a paycheck. Your work is for them, not for you. After all, it’s just a paycheck, right?

When your focus is on employment security, your work focuses on making yourself employable. You focus on building your job skills, job performance and finding like-minded others to improve your work. The difference is that a company will get your best work — but you are not doing the work for them, you are doing the work for you.

It’s a subtle, but important distinction.

Your best work keeps you engaged

When you are striving to improve your work, it keeps you engaged in the work and not checking out because of whatever the latest Six Sigma Lean Utility Computing process improvement strategy is at your company. You stay engaged despite the office politics that seem to run rampant in poorly run companies.

Engagement helps your focus. Disengagement means you lose the “I” in your work.

Your best work produces results

The best way to show success in a job to a potential employer is to have produced good business results. Results can happen from your work despite the management, the culture or your coworkers — providing you focus your work on producing your best work. It is way to easy to fall to the level of poor production to match the poor work inside your company. Knowing that your body of work is for you, not the company, you’ll stay focused on producing results to use to show you can do your next gig.

Your best work helps you find improvements

When you focus on producing your best work, you’ll run into problems in the way you do your work that can get fixed to help you get better. If you think about it, if any poor job will do, there won’t be a lot of improvement going on. But when you try to do your best work, you’ll continually find ways for you to improve how you do your work, the skills you need to develop to help your work get easier to do, and what roadblocks you have in front of you that need removing.

All of that helps you.

The company benefits — but you benefit more

Sure, all of this will help the company. Nothing wrong with that since they are paying for your skills and work. But orienting yourself to produce your best work helps you achieve employment security. That’s worth a lot more than what you give the company and they pay you in return.