According to current figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 10.4% of the American work force is classified as “self-employed.” But in reality, aren’t we all self-employed? Think about it—employers don’t knock on your door out of the blue and demand that you come and work for them. In many ways we’re like a free agent in sports. Each of us makes a conscious decision to be employed, and then we find or leave work the work we choose, most often because of our own decisions. Yes, you may have co-workers, supervisors, and bosses, but ultimately, for your particular job, the buck stops with you. You got yourself hired and you are just as capable of getting yourself fired if you don’t put forth the same effort and attention to detail that you would give to your own business.
Sometimes we don’t have control over the changes in our work environment. When senior leadership changes, often the culture shifts to adapt to the new philosophy. Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes it means that our beliefs are not aligned. We have a choice. If we’ve continuously brought value to our work and are known for the things that we want to be known for, we will have options to stay and adapt, or find a place where we fit better. So much of what happens in the workplace is truly within our control and has a lot to do with our attitude, our work ethic, and whether the job is a good fit with who we are.
What perception do you want people to have about you and your performance? In this job market, it’s all about who you know and how they perceive you as an employee. Perception is reality, so knowing how people perceive you and your work will give you insights into opportunities for change and development, and what value others believe that you bring.
The good news is that regardless of the job, consider that each step in your employment journey will bring you benefits in your overall work history. Each choice is yours to make, much like being self-employed. Do you feel like you are “all in” every day in your job, or do you feel at odds in the workplace? Even if a particular job ends up not being a good fit, you will learn more about what works and what doesn’t for you.
So what would be different if you could/would choose to be completely yourself in your work every day? And, what decisions will you make differently in 2013? After all, your life and career are your own business, right?