Define Your Job, Don’t Let Your Job Define You

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As Good Monster grows, we are always looking for the next class of team members to help keep our culture vibrant, and our quality of work high. In order to make sure that we’re selecting the right people, I do a lot of internal interviewing with my current employees to find out what they value at Good Monster, what they want out of the job that they have, and what do they expect out of a co worker? This allows me to learn what it takes to recruit the best people, and how to keep them passionate about working here.

When I go through the interview process for new candidates, I often ask them what they liked and didn’t like about their previous positions. I asked them what they want out of life, and how a job a Good Monster could help them get there. I want to know what makes them happy, and what pisses them off. I want to know what they would need to coming to work pumped for the day. But not just when they first get hired, how do I keep them pumped three years down the road?

As I go through the interview, I start to see interesting reactions to my questions. The candidate begins to open up a bit, and often gets a little confused because I interview them more about their life then the job at hand. I think this is a really important thing to think about.

People often go into job interviews nervous that they’re going to say the wrong thing. They want to make sure that they look as good as possible in order to get the job. This makes total sense, especially if the job is really competitive. But aside for people’s need for a paycheck, there’s something you need to think about even harder: what will make you happy?

Yes, we all have bills, but by now you’ve heard or read that money cannot buy happiness. While it can get you out of debt, you have to remember if you are working 40 to 50 hours a week, you better make pretty damn sure that for the majority of the time you’re happy. Otherwise, you’re living a pretty shitty life.

Why spend half of your life doing things that you hate at work, just to afford life. Click To Tweet

With this perspective in mind, this brings me to my main point.

You need to make sure that you define your job, and that your job does not define you.

What I mean by this, is that there are certain things you can control, and other things you cannot. This goes for life as well as work. And you can work as hard as you want to give yourself the best possible chance to find success in both life and work. With a proactive attitude you can define your job. For instance if you’re a janitor, you can easily come into work every day to clean toilets, and punch out as soon as you’re done–and that’s it. Or, if you’re motivated to become more successful, you can be the best damn toilet cleaner on staff. Ask tenants in the building that you clean what makes them happy about your services, and how you can do a better job, then report that back to your boss. You can take pictures of your great work, such as before and after photos. You can use that to show how great you are at your job, then think about that as fuel for a promotion.

So in the first example, your job, is to clean toilets. In the second example, your job is to make people’s surroundings fresh and clean to allow them to be more productive at work. The first example will not get you noticed, while the second example probably will. The first example will probably leave you dying to get out of work every day, and resenting your job when you have to go in next morning. The second example, will leave a sense of accomplishment of helping people, and a feeling that you are doing all you can to build a successful career.

You might be thinking this is a ridiculous example, and that no one would care about being a good janitor. But this is exactly the attitude that leads people to be unsuccessful and unhappy with life.

All we have is hard work to keep us moving forward. Click To Tweet

So what I’m saying is that it’s all in your attitude. We all have good and bad days. We all get into situations in life that are unavoidable. Get yourself in a mindset to make sure that you are defining your job at whatever company you’re working for, and that you don’t let that job beat you down and define who you are as a person.

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John Timmerman
About the author

John Timmerman

John Timmerman is the founder of Good Monster, a digital agency in Syracuse, NY. He is a former strength & conditioning coach and personal trainer who has trained NFL, MLB, NHL, PGA, UFC athletes, executives and everyone else for 10 years. When he's not burning the house down trying to cook up healthy ways to eat bacon, he's traveling and enjoying life to the fullest!