Michele DeMeo: Building a Career Out of a Job

People can go a lifetime without figuring out how to live in terms of the work they do. What we do professionally consumes a massive part of our lives, but too many of us do not even challenge our routines when we open our eyes each day. We live as if tomorrow is assumed without considering that it could look and feel different.

Here are three tips on how to build a rewarding career—because you deserve it:

  1. Take a bit of time, privately, to evaluate where you are in the moment. Don’t give yourself such a reprieve only with one of life’s milestones. Changes in who you develop naturally over time. Ask yourself, “Am I doing what I love now?”
  2. Question yourself even more. What are your motives for earning a living and have they changed over time? If they are not as positive as they once were, can a shift in what you do restore some of your enthusiasm? If not, consider how you approach your work day. My advice may go against what most experts say, but I don’t recommend a radical change (at least initially). I say stick with what you are doing, in the interim, tell yourself that you are not “stuck,” and look for ways to improve things. Change your behavior within your role. Do more than what is simply expected of you. For example, ask to be placed on a team that sounds interesting, even if the work seems outside your job description. Many companies would welcome a unique voice and a fresh perspective, and would be willing to consider one if it is proposed. Getting involved in something new could help you achieve a new balance. You may still devote some of your time to tasks that no longer feel engaging, but you may find a reason for happily getting into your car to head to work each day.
  3. Form a “think tank” at work—a space and time to meet with others to discuss issues and challenges, or simply to decompress, in a neutral space. When you step away from your regular work environment, new ideas may surface that will inspire you to go that extra mile.

In fact, going that extra mile is close to a requirement if you want to shake things up. But it can be so rewarding! We are the ones who determine our future. We can craft it and shape our days. Forge on!

Michele DeMeo was the sterile processing manager for Memorial Hospital in York, PA, and has served as a consultant for other healthcare facilities.

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