{Staying Current - The Passionate Employee}

In an effort to try to stay current, my husband suggested I should post my thoughts weekly about a current article/event.  So, I thought today I would give it a try.  I found this article on Fox News called Passion Key to Getting Ahead at Work.  It caught my eye because any who knows me knows I have a heart for the Non-Profit industry, and doing something meaningful in my career.  I was super excited to read this article because despite it being short, it hit all the points I believe in to be true.

The article begins with the premise that "when it comes to getting ahead at work, it might not be all about your job performance... your belief in the mission of your company could help you advance in your career."  A team of researchers from Brigham Young University, Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University and Washington University’s Olin Business School, set out to determine what makes an employee stand out in a company that is closely aligned with a specific mission.  They focused on "employees at a non-profit that focused on community outreach" and a "for-profit with an environmental orientation".

What they found was that, "individual employees who were more strongly aligned with the mission ended up being strong players in terms of influence over people."  Notice, they didn't mention anything about non-profit or for-profit being a factor here.  They simply said those who lined up with the mission ended up being stronger influences.  This doesn't come as a big surprise to me, having worked with the Make-A-Wish Foundation (which I'll have to blog about at another time because they are awesome).  I noticed that the more aligned with the company's mission I was, the more excited and dedicated I was to serving in whatever capacity was needed.  It was also evident that my coworkers who were there for more than a paycheck did, in fact, seem to have more influence over those who were there just to do a job - what did they care what happened anyway?  Their job would remain the same and they would feel the same.

The research also determined that "true believers are happier to be with the company and that often shines through".  I recognize this statement as ringing true because when I would speak to people inside and outside the organization, the pride that beamed from me for being an employee there was very evident.  That's something that not just any job can give you.  That is the feeling of being proud of what you do; that you're making a difference.  That made the job, as the article describes, "a vehicle to do something meaningful", even though I wasn't 100% satisfied with everything I was doing work-wise.

The last thing the article said that aligns with my thinking was that employees were likely to take a "pay cut to work for a company they believe[d] in" and that even though they were "making less money", they were "happier and more engaged in their work and organization".  I don't know how many times I have said this to my parents, my husband, my friends.  I would be willing to take a lower paying job if I was doing something I believed in and supported.  Trust me, I appreciate the value of earning a decent salary, and understand the need to manage finances appropriately.  I'm simply suggesting that money isn't the end all be all, and it shouldn't drive your reason for working (unless you're earning tons a day and have a flexible schedule so you can find other ways to do something to give back.

If you're going to spend the majority of your life at your job, I wholeheartedly believe it should be somewhere where you align with the mission.  We spend too many hours a day at our place of employment to not be, at least to some extent, fulfilled with your role in the organization.  I've heard it many times from people a little to a lot older than me, that say my generation is only concerned with being "fulfilled by their jobs and that's why they hop around.  Back in my day, we were loyal and stayed for the long haul."  While I do believe there is value in having longevity with a company and not jumping from company to company too frequently, I must disagree with the opinion that you have to stay somewhere even if you're not happy to prove loyalty.  I haven't owned my own company, or really even managed anyone, so this is all perception, but I would rather have employees that were passionate for the mission they supported, and that their loyalty would be demonstrated by their hard work and lack of turn over.  I also think that if employees are on-board with the mission, even if they aren't totally satisfied with the work they do, they will stay for the long haul because they believe what they're doing is making a difference, and if they stay they could get to their dream job within their "potential" dream company.

{True Dat}

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