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This Is How You Know You Made The Right Career Choice

This Is How You Know You Made The Right Career Choice

They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. So when we’re young, we imagine that having the perfect job is like skipping around on clouds and rainbows every day. Even on Mondays.

But then we grow up and enter the real world. While you don’t dread going into work each morning, having your dream job isn’t exactly what you thought it would be. And people who constantly gush over how fabulous their job is seem fake or naive. Still, seeing that sappy career love causes a part of you to wonder: Did I make the right career choice, or is there something else out there that I would like more?

It’s time to silence that doubt once and for all. Or at least to time to find out if you’re on the right track. Here are seven signs that you made the right career choice and that you truly love your job. If you have at least four of the seven covered, consider yourself lucky:

1. You’re confident in your abilities.

How many people can do what you do as well as you do it? No one else has the exact skill set you bring to the table. And you know that. So when a problem or challenge comes across your desk, you dive in with enthusiasm. You don’t wonder if someone else might be better equipped to handle things. You’re the man – or woman – for the job.

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But that doesn’t mean there’s not more to learn. You want to continually develop your skills and abilities. Growth means pushing yourself to be better than yesterday, even if it’s only a small improvement. After all, you have goals to meet and while you’re not there yet, you’re confident you’ll get there one day.

2. You “own” your work.

From the achievements to the mistakes, you stand by everything you do. Not just because you’re proud of your hard work, but because you can see how it impacts your co-workers and the organization as a whole.

Every new project excites you and you can’t wait to put your stamp it. Even if it’s a small task, there’s value in everything you do. And most importantly, your work is a part of you.

3. You love the question, “So, what do you do?”

For most people, their answer is short and sweet. I’m a lawyer. I work in advertising. But not you. You could go on for hours about what it actually means to do your job. From the big picture to the little details, every duty and responsibility is interesting to you, even if it’s not to anyone else.

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It’s not that your profession defines who you are, but that it’s something you love. So you can talk about your career with the same tireless enthusiasm as some people talk about their favorite football team or TV show.

4. You don’t daydream about leaving civilization behind and going to live in the woods.

Part of disliking your career choice is also hating the very idea of work. People who don’t love their job don’t just dream about finding a better one; they long for a life where there’s no work at all. That’s because they don’t understand what you do: that the right job is rewarding and fulfilling and doesn’t make you want to run away from all responsibility.

Your mind doesn’t wander to thoughts of what it’d be like spending your days doing whatever you want. Because you’re already doing just that.

5. You can overlook the bad days.

There’s no such thing as a “perfect” job. Every career has its ups and downs, but what’s important is that the rough days don’t feel like they are wearing you down.

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Even if a Monday morning is hard, by the time Monday afternoon rolls around, there’s a smile on your face. And if you go home every so often feeling exhausted, it just takes a good night’s sleep – and maybe a nice glass or two of wine – for you to feel refreshed and ready to go back to work. Overcoming tough obstacles is inspiring, not disheartening because everything will be worth it in the end.

6. You’re constantly looking to go above and beyond your job description.

Sure, it might not really be in your job description to do everything you do, but you’re motivated by the entire process. Plus, trying new things is how you learn and that’s really why you like to do all those little extras.

You ask your co-workers if there’s anything you can help them with, even if it means going outside of your comfort zone and doing something unfamiliar. But to be honest, the challenge is exciting.

7. You like the people on your team and in your industry.

Being surrounded by like-minded people not only makes you feel like you fit in, but also pushes you to do better. You can bounce ideas off each other and work together without the drama that haunts other workplaces.

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And the camaraderie isn’t limited to your office. When you go to industry conferences or read industry blogs you think to yourself, “These are my people.” But that doesn’t mean you’re all the same, just that you’re united by the same passion.

So, what’s the verdict? Are you in love with your job and confident you made the right career choice?

Featured photo credit: gags9999; Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 10, 2019

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

7 Strategies to Keep Employee Motivation High

Highly motivated employees are essential to the success of any business. Most people spend a third of their lives at work.[1] That’s a significant amount of time away from home, apart from the people who make us happy and the things we love to do. So keeping employee motivation high is essential for creating an office environment that gets the best out of our people.

But do you know what motivates your people?

It’s simple:

  • Is their work stimulating?
  • Does it challenge them?
  • Is there room to grow, a promotion perhaps?
  • Do you encourage creativity?
  • Can they speak openly and honestly with you?
  • Do you praise them?
  • Do you trust your staff to take ownership of their work?
  • Do they feel safe in their work environment?
  • And more importantly, do you pay them properly?

Every one of these factors contributes to the general happiness of your employees. It’s what motivates them to come into the office each day and work hard, hit goals, and get results.

In contrast, an unmotivated employee is typically unhappy. They take more sick days, they’re not invested in seeing your business succeed, and they’re always on the lookout for something better.

Stats show that 81 percent of employees would consider leaving their jobs today if the right opportunity presented itself.[2] So it’s up to you to set aside time and energy to create a work environment that benefits every one of your employees.

These seven strategies will help you motivate your people to consistently deliver quality work and, more importantly, to stick around for the long term.

1. Be Someone They Can Rely On

You rely on your people to turn up to work each day, to come to you when they have a problem they can’t solve, to be honest, and to always engage professionally with customers.

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But this is not a one-way street. You, too, need to be someone your team can rely on. They trust you to have their backs when a client is unreasonable, to know that the decisions they make are in your best interest, and to make good on your promises.

If you say you’ll attend an important meeting, be there. If your company makes a profit and you’ve said you’ll pay a bonus, pay it. The goodwill of your people is something you never want to test, let alone lose.

Be reliable; it’s astounding how much this motivates your people.

2. Create an Awesome Company Culture

There’s no denying that company culture trickles down from the top. Your leadership and attitude massively influences the attitudes, work ethic, and happiness of your staff. If you’re always stressed-out, overly demanding, and unreasonable, it’ll create tension in your office which will adversely affect your employees’ motivation levels.

In fact, the HAYS “US What People Want Survey” found that 47 percent of staff who are actively looking for a new job, pinpoint company culture as the driving force behind their reason to leave.

So if you have high staff turnover, you need to determine whether your company culture might be the motivating factor behind your churn rate.

Here are four ways to build a culture that keeps your employees highly motivated.

  • Be conscious of the image you present. Your body language and attitude can positively or negatively impact your employees. So come to work energized. Be optimistic, friendly, and engaging—this enthusiasm will spill over to your people and motivate them to be more productive and efficient.
  • Appreciate your people and be reasonable. Celebrate your team’s achievements. If they’re doing a good job, tell them. Encourage them to challenge themselves and try new things. And reward when deserved. If they’re struggling, help them. Work together to find solutions and be a sounding board for their ideas.
  • Be flexible. Give your people opportunities to work remotely—this is highly motivating to staff, particularly millennials. They don’t want to be battling traffic each day on their way to work. They don’t want to miss their kids’ baseball games or ballet rehearsals. Stats show that companies that offer flextime and the ability to work from home or a coffee shop have happier and more productive employees.
  • Create employee-friendly work environments. These are spaces that inspire and ignite the imagination. Have you ever been to Google’s offices? No headquarter is the same. From indoor slides and food trucks, to hammocks, and funky work pods on the wall, gaming rooms, and tranquil interior gardens, there’s something for everyone. It’s a space where people want to be, catering to their need for creativity, quiet, or team building; you name it.

So take a look at your company culture and ask yourself, Is my business an attractive workplace for talented professionals? Does it inspire commitment and motivate my people? What could I do to improve my company culture?

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3. Touch Base with Your Team Weekly

Make time for your people, whether you run a remote business or work in an office, set aside time each week to talk to your people one-on-one. It’s non-negotiable.

When there’s an open line of communication between staff members, work gets done. Don’t believe me? A study by Gallup found that 26 percent of employees said feedback from their leaders helps them to do a better job.[3]

Your people want to feel trusted. They want to take ownership of their work, but they also need to know that when they have a question, they can reach out and get answers. If you’re unwilling to make yourself available, your team will quickly become unmotivated, work will stagnate, and your business will stop growing.

So block off time on your calendar each week to touch base with your people, even if only to let them know that what they’re working on matters.

4. Give Them the Tools They Need to Do Their Jobs Well

Imagine trying to run your business without electricity. How would you contact your clients? What would happen when your phone or computer battery died?

Technology is super critical to the success of your businesses. It allows you to work more efficiently, to be more productive, and to handle matters on-the-go. That’s why you need to give your people tools that will make their jobs easier.

Make sure their equipment is in good working condition. There’s nothing more frustrating than a laptop that takes ages to boot up. It’s got to go. Replace outdated software with new software. Don’t make your designer work in Coreldraw; give them access to the most up-to-date version of Adobe Creative Suite. Take it a step further and buy them a subscription to Shutterstock or Getty Images.

Make working for you a pleasure, not a pain; and watch your employees’ motivation levels rise.

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5. Provide Opportunities to Learn and Upskill

Would you believe me if I told you that 33 percent of people cite boredom and a need for new challenges as the top reason for leaving their job?[4] If you want to retain your talent, you need to upskill.

Thanks to technology, we live in a rapidly evolving world that demands we change with it. A copywriter is no longer just a writer; they now need to be experts in SEO, Google Adwords, CRMs, and so much more.

A pastry chef needs to be a food stylist, photographer, and social media manager. An entrepreneur needs to be a marketer—or at least take ownership of the marketing message for their business—if they hope to scale.

Technology makes all of this possible. No matter your location, your people can continuously expand their knowledge and gain new skill sets—something that’s highly motivating to employees. They want to know that there are opportunities to grow and develop themselves.

If you won’t invest in your people, then your business becomes just another job to tide them over until they find where they truly belong. So be the company that sees value in developing its people.

6. Monitor Their Workload

Overworked employees tend to be unproductive and unhappy. Your people cannot be at full capacity every day, month to month. Something’s got to give. They’ll become deflated and their work will eventually suffer, which will negatively impact your business.

What I like to do is implement a traffic light system. It helps me to keep a finger on the pulse of my business. So there’s red, yellow, and green:

  • Red means they’re fully loaded.
  • Yellow means they’re busy, but they can potentially take on more.
  • Green means they haven’t got enough to do.

I use this traffic light system because I don’t want my team members to be stressed out of their brains all the time. If they are, they won’t make good decisions and they won’t do good work.

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If my people are regularly overloaded, I have things to think about. Perhaps I need to hire a new person to help ease the load or take a closer look at what projects are good to go, and which can take a back seat.

And this is why #3 is essential. If I’m regularly engaging with my people, I’ll know that while they’re coping with their workload, it is impacting their performance and health, and I’ll take action.

7. Don’t Mess Around with Your Employees’ Pay

Never mess around with your people’s salary. As a business owner or high-level manager, it’s easy to forget that most people live from paycheck to paycheck. Delayed compensation can mean a missed bill payment, which could result in costly penalties they can’t afford or hits to their credit score.

So it’s your job to ensure that you pay your people on time.

The Bottom Line

A motivated team is an asset to any business. These people never give up. They get excited about coming to work each day and can’t wait to test a new theory or tackle a particularly tricky challenge. They’re proud of the work they do. And more importantly, they have no reason to leave.

Wouldn’t you rather be part of their success story than the business that drove them away?

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Featured photo credit: Emma Dau via unsplash.com

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