We Americans have just finished celebrating our most important day as a nation, Independence Day. Our holiday has become a celebration that brings together friends, family, and neighbors to celebrate a nation that in many respects is the envy of people the world over. I know of no other nation where individuals strive to move to in order to pursue their dreams of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
In reflecting as to what has taken place over the last 234 years since the Declaration of Independence was signed, I also started thinking about how many of us need to declare our own independence in our vocation, career, and jobs. Do you celebrate the work you do? To rephrase this, are you just working to get your paycheck, or are you doing work that matters and makes a difference? Personally, I want to make certain that the work I do is meaningful at several levels. Yes, I’m providing for my family, and I’m making a difference in the lives of those I work with in my vocation, church, and relationships.
At some point, I believe all of us can say the same. If you’re just doing a job, you’re a cog in the wheel, easily replaced. What are you doing to become critical, whether it’s self-employment or working for someone else. Just because you do something that no one else is doesn’t make you indispensable. And if you keep information to yourself because you think it will keep your job safe, you’re not an asset; you’re a risk and need to be dealt with. Become a leader and an expert, sharing your knowledge with others.
One of the beautiful things about America has been its call to individuals to pursue their dreams. For those who are successful, there can be great rewards. I’ve had the privilege of meeting entrepreneurs who are making a difference and employees for companies who are critical as well. You don’t have to be a senior manager or CEO to do this. You can be the customer service representative who satisfies an angry or frustrated customer, thus saving your company’s brand and reputation. You can be the software developer who, though part of a large team, delivers work quality second to none, knowing that by doing so; the end user will be able to serve the customer well. You may be the budding entrepreneur who has an idea that will change the lives of the people you come into contact with.
Do you have an Independence Day of your own? When will you be freed from the shackles of a boring and tedious job? If you’re not sure how to start, consider hiring a career coach. If I’m not a good fit for you, I’m sure I can refer you to someone who is.