Family? Gardening? Rock climbing?
Now think about where your job falls in your list of passions. For many, a job is just a means to an end – it provides money for an education, an SUV, a house and more.
But finding passion in your job – whether it’s a clerical or professional position – is key to career success, says Nicole Smartt, author of “From Receptionist to Boss: Real-Life Advice for Getting Ahead At Work”.
“Everyone can achieve a great career,” says Smartt, touting a nose-to-the-grindstone focus to overcome workplace obstacles that keep you from climbing the ladder to more responsibility and a higher salary.
“When you are enthusiastic about what you do, the stress, challenges and bumps in the road are easier to overcome. Passion serves as a driver, the thing that sustains you when things get tough.”
Smartt knows from experience. She rose from receptionist at a Northern California staffing agency to becoming co-owner and vice president at Star Staffing in Petaluma, Calif., demonstrating how finding that passion and tapping into your strengths can ultimately pay off.
“I committed to being the best receptionist I could be,” Smartt says. “By committing to being the best and channeling the positive, you can create your own destiny.”
Smartt offers a few suggestions to help you find the passion in your job and start you on the path of your employment destiny:
- Everything is a learning experience. Be observant, ask questions, listen to the answers, take notes and read a lot. “Become a sponge,” says Smartt. “Absorb as much information as you can.” And don’t be afraid to let hard work trump a traditional education. That doesn’t mean you should forego college – but she recommends you don’t limit your options on schooling alone. “If you want something, fight for it,” Smartt says.
- Know your strengths. Figure out what you’re good at. Are you creative, competitive, outgoing – or all of the above? How do those strengths translate to your job? Also be prepared for those strengths to change over the course of your working life or to find strengths you didn’t know you had.
- Stay focused. Being disciplined and making sacrifices to achieve your goals is important. “ ‘No’ is the one-word secret to staying on track,” Smartt says.
- Surround yourself with great people. Find a mentor who readily offers help, guidance and support. “If you want greatness in your life then you need to surround yourself with great people,” Smartt says.
- Let your engagement at work and happiness show. “Find little things about your job that you really enjoy, and do them very, very well,” Smartt advises. “Make sure you bring all of your skills to your work. You’ll find you enjoy it because you’re good at it.”
Smartt says people often become frustrated at a job, and instead of trying to make that situation better, they look elsewhere figuring the next job somehow will be the answer. That’s not always the case.
“It’s easier to find a perfect attitude than it is to find a perfect job,” she says.
Nicole Smartt, author of “From Receptionist to Boss: Real-Life Advice for Getting Ahead At Work” (www.nicolesmartt.com) is co-owner and vice president of Star Staffing in Petaluma, Calif. She also is co-founder of the Petaluma Young Professionals Network and was the youngest recipient of the “Forty Under 40” award given by the North Bay Business Journal.