You Ain’t About That Professional Life: Signs You’re Not Really Serious About Your Craft

February 4, 2013  |  

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If you’ve ever worked a day in your life, and particularly been in a position to manage or oversee other people, you’d know there are a whole lot of people who talk a good game when it comes to their career ambitions, but can never back it up. These are the folks who just know they want to be an entrepreneur but have no clue what business they want to start, or who think they could do a better job running the company than everybody else but can’t even name two things they would do to improve revenue. Essentially, they’re just BSing.

Climbing the corporate latter and achieving your career goals is no easy feat for a number of reasons but it’s quite easy to weed out the people who really want to make it and who just think they want to. In case you’re not sure where you fall, check out these signs you’re not really serious about what you do.

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Everything is not your job

If your first thought, let alone verbal response, when someone asks you to do anything outside of your job description is, “that’s not my job,” you may soon find yourself without one. When you work for someone other than yourself and are interested in excelling professionally, you have to go above and beyond. Nobody wants to be taken advantage of, but there will be a lot of thankless tasks along your professional climb and you do them just because someone asked you to. And on that note, you should actually be taking the initiative and volunteering more than being made to do something.

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You don’t construct better work after you’re criticized

The purpose of providing feedback is so that you (a) do better next time, or (b) keep up the good work. Nearly all of us knows how to take a compliment but it’s the constructive criticism we have a tendency to try to put out of our minds. If you get edits on a project or a performance report and don’t bother to look at the response from your superiors and actually put their suggestions into practice going forward, you’re basically saying you don’t want to do better. And that means you have no interest in moving up the career latter or even becoming a more marketable professional.

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You’re never on time

We all have our late days, but if you habitually disregard the time you’re supposed to be at the office, you’re not serious about what you do. Punctuality says you not only realize the rules of the company apply to everyone, including you, it also suggests you’re prepared and eager to put your best face forward and have the most productive day possible by starting it out at the time you’re company deems you’re supposed to. And don’t get me started on the people who come late and leave early or even on time. If you’re going to roll into the office whenever you feel like it, the least you need to do is make sure you put in eight or nine hours. If you’re really trying to do something with yourself that is.

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You never, ever research anything

Bottom line, you need to know what goes on outside the four walls of your office building. Your particular company is just one small representative of whatever industry you’re in. You need to know who your competitors are, past projects you’ve completed, and predictions for your overall field. If all you think about is, “is it five yet?” and show up to brainstorming meetings with the same ideas that have been hashed and rehashed ten times over — or none at all — you won’t go far. And you shouldn’t because you obviously don’t want to.

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You think work starts at 9 and ends at 5

Yes, in a perfect world it would. But I know of no one who even punches a time clock that always leaves exactly at 5 pm every day. Actually, yes I do. One girl who rushes home to see her sitcoms and has no career ambitions that I know to speak of. You cannot be serious about advancing and going to your boss with requests for overtime pay because you had to stay til 6:15 and finish a report one day. Yes, it sucks when you don’t have an end game in mind, i.e. you’re not serious about what you’re doing, but just like there are thankless tasks, there are also thankless work hours that never stop no matter how far you advance.

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You go rogue

If no one can ever find you at your desk when they need you or you miss every meeting and conference call scheduled as if they are optional, you’re just playing around. When you’re at work, you should actually be at work. If your lunch time is an hour, why are you gone for two? Do you think late afternoon is a time for you to just take a stroll around the neighborhood rather than get through the files on your desk? Then that’s a sign you’re really not trying to be where you should be, i.e. you don’t want to work.

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You treat deadlines like guidelines

When someone says I need this on my desk first thing in the morning and you don’t even start working on whatever it is they need until that morning, you aren’t about it. Everyone is entitled to one Internet issue or transportation mishap, but when you routinely approach work with an “I’ll get around to it when I can” attitude rather than adhering to the due dates you’ve been given, it’s a clear indication you have no interest in what you’re doing, no concern for the advancement of the company, and no concern for your fellow coworkers’ time.

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You don’t invest money in your craft

At some point your going to need to take a special training class, attend a workshop, join a professional society, get some business cards, something. If you regularly waste cash on a bunch of things you don’t need, but gawk at the idea of shelling out cash to expedite your professional career, your priorities are backward and you likely don’t want that top-notch career you claim to aspire to as bad as you think.

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You resent others instead of reaching out

It’s natural to feel a tad jealous of others who seem to be excelling faster than you, but if you continue to harbor resentment toward others in your field so much so that you don’t take the time to learn from their career climb, you’re wasting good energy. The better thing to do would be to reach out, study their moves, and most importantly learn from their mistakes — and the one you’re making by spending more time hating colleagues than gaining from their prior experience.

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  • Did you seriously say “latter” instead of ladder?

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  • Guest

    This article is so for me. I am the type of person who comes late and leaves on time ( well not all the time though …)

  • Just Peachy!

    Great advice for those who don’t have proper work ethics or values for themselves. One would be surprised at the amount of people who do all the things & more listed above. This applies to all age groups in the work field and cannot be blamed on “being young & dumb”.. Slackers pay attention!

  • Drew Smith

    Brande, you wrote “About” twice in the title. Oh, the irony…

  • Drew Smith

    Brande, you wrote “About” twice in the title. Oh, the irony…

    • Amani

      LOL Indeed!