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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Work Hard And Love What You Do

What do you want to be when you grow up?

In Chapters 7-9 of Work, Love, Pray Diane Paddison encourages young women to work hard, discover strengths, and play to passions. 

Of course, it can take time – even years – to find the right career path.  But no matter where we are in our professional journeys, we can ask ourselves some key questions:
  • Do I enjoy what I do?
  • What is the next step to advance my career goals?
  • How do I gain leverage in the workplace? 
Diane’s advice is smart, no-nonsense, and practical.  Start with what you enjoy.  Start by working hard.  Harder than the person in the cubicle next to you.  In Diane’s words, “no one is going to bend over backward to help a slacker.”

Does this mean you never leave the office early?  That you don’t have a life outside of work?  That you are married to your job?

Of course not.  Diane also encourages us to set healthy boundaries and strike the right balance – both at home and at work. 

I think back to my early years as an associate in a large law firm.  I didn’t have children, I had a supportive spouse, and I instantly loved the practice of law.  So I worked hard.  Probably a little too hard.  I rarely said no, jumped at new projects, and always tackled the opportunity to learn something new.

But I also learned to set boundaries.  I had dinner with my husband almost every night, even if it was late.  I always took my full vacation.  And I decided to embrace technology and abandon “face time.”  (I realize “face time” isn’t a big deal anymore in most workplaces, but prior to the 24/7 technology revolution, hard work was often judged by burning the midnight oil in the office.) So, if a senior attorney or client needed to reach me after hours, I made sure they knew how to find me – and that I’d respond promptly. 

By the time I had my first child, I had built some flexibility into my work schedule.  Sure, I still struggled with the whole concept of balance, but by working hard at a job I enjoyed, establishing credibility, and setting boundaries (in addition to a heavy dose of grace!) I was able thrive at work and at home.

When we “play to our strengths” as Diane encourages, work is an opportunity to live out our God-given talents – not merely an attempt to survive. 

Do you love what you do?  What’s the next step in your career path?  How will you work hard to earn respect and leverage?

[Please join us over at 4Word to continue the discussion]

1 comment:

Heather Sunseri said...

I bet you and I could really compare some notes in this department, Susan. I found it took courage to make sure I built balance and boundaries into a career as a CPA. Especially as I began having children.