Career Success Means Being Fully Engaged!

[tweetmeme]I have spent a lot of time and energy developing this blog.  My aim is now as it has always been, to deliver a voice of encouragement and to be resource for folks looking to help keep themselves or others safe in the workplace.  I have often utilized humor or tried to highlight some slightly off-center topics to engage my readers.  But just the other day I was at lunch with a friend and we were talking about our careers, family, NCAA tournament…the usual.  I guess at some moment I must have seemed down, because my friend asked me if I was happy?  I instinctively said “sure”.  He then asked me, “Why do you do it?”  “Why do you invest so much energy into your work….I mean what is your motivation?  What are you passionate about?”

I thought for sure my friend was having a mid-life crisis or worse he thought I might be having a crisis.  I left that lunch not really answering the question, at least not to myself.  Oh, I replied the usual answers we all give, family and relationships, etc.  But later after more reflection I came to the unexpected conclusion that it wasn’t just my family and personal relationships that drive me, but that I absolutely love what I do and I hold a strong conviction that environmental, health and safety is one of the most important, challenging, and respectable professions available.  I started to write down some of the challenges that I haven’t been able to fully solve or overcome within EHS.   Just that simple act of writing them down in front of me:  there they were staring at me still fighting with me.  Well that got my competitive juices flowing and I immediately wanted more than ever to meet these challenges and solve them once and for all.

As a EHS professional, or any professional, if you want to succeed in something you are not fully engaged in you are doomed to fail.  I realized that my friend must have sensed that I haven’t been as fully engaged as I usually am and he decided to challenge me on it.   So in turn I am challenging you!  What are you passionate about?  If you want to be happy you need to make sure you are getting something from your career choice beyond the paycheck.  Whether its personal growth, working to a common purpose, or being part of a larger process you need to take time to celebrate the successes you have and repeat them when you can.  Being engaged in your work means having fun and being enthusiastic about it.  It is not acceptable to simply be satisfied with your job if you really want to succeed and be happy.

Whenever possible, do something that really charges you up.  If having face-to-face time with the front line employees leave you with a feeling of accomplishment, make time in your schedule to do more of that.  If training employees on hazard awareness helps you feel like you are making a difference, then try to do more of that.  Don’t mistake this with only doing the things that are easy or fun, but definitely make time for them.

Quick Tips for Happy Engaged People

  • Remember the most important skill you will ever have or learn will come from a true desire to help others.
  • Find intrinsic enjoyment in your work;  if you can’t, maybe you need a change.
  • Invest the time and resources to stay current in your industry.
  • Your relationships with management and labor have the biggest impact on your success.  Nurture those relationships!
  • Top performance requires time to rest.  Don’t beat yourself up for downtime.  Rest and relaxation helps recharge your batteries.
  • Show genuine gratitude to your support team.  This includes anyone who has a hand in your success.
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