Self Discipline

I mentioned in a previous post that I will talk about the things that I have to offer an organization.  The first thing that comes to mind is discipline.  I have learned a lot while working as a beat cop and investigator, but nothing has proven as valuable as the discipline that my colleagues and supervisors have instilled in me over the past six years.

Self Discipline - Lazy Cat
Discipline has become a buzz word and its meaning has been diluted, so I will break down exactly what I mean.  I practice discipline by organizing my time and prioritizing my responsibilities.  At the beginning of each day, I make a list on a post-it note (the big kind, with lines like notebook paper).  I make it my mission to finish each item on the list before 5pm.  Though I don’t always finish the list before 5pm, it is exceptionally rare for me to go home without finishing it.  That often means staying late, for which I am not paid due to a freeze on overtime.  But it’s worth every minute – my reputation as a hard worker who gets the job done is worth a lot more than a few hours of overtime each week.

There are two types of currency in any workplace: money and trust.  The agency for which I work is out of money, so trust is worth even more to us.  Like money, trust is earned slowly and can be blown quickly.  By making my bosses look good, I earn their trust and they repay that trust with freedom.  When I am tasked with managing a team, which happens often now that my bosses know that I am a performer, I offer each member of my team the same deal.  And you know what happens?  They usually perform much better than teams led by managers who cannot relinquish their grip on minutia.

I recently read an article titled “Epic Fail: Millennials Get Slammed in Poll on Workplace Attitudes”, written by a blogger named Danny Rubin.  In his article, Rubin discusses the results of a poll conducted by Workplace Options.  The poll revealed that, among other things, almost half of all workers (46%) feel that millenials are “less engaged at work than other employees.”  The most shocking thing about the results are that the workers polled included millenials.

This isn’t the first time I have heard about my generation developing a bad reputation in the workplace.  Many of my parents’ friends, some of whom manage huge divisions or run entire companies, complain about how difficult it is to find a 20-something who is willing to work hard without complaining.  They are disturbed by the sense of entitlement that my generation seems to harbor.  Everybody wants to be the boss, but nobody is willing to work for it.

For a long time, it bothered me to hear my parents’ generation talk about how hard it is to hire a solid worker from my generation.  I took it as a personal affront because I am a member of GenY.  Then one day it dawned on me: this is perfect!  It shouldn’t bother me that so few 20-somethings lack self discipline.  My peers’ unwillingness to work hard just makes me more attractive to a potential employer.

So here’s the bottom line: I am willing to prove myself.  This blog is not about landing a great job – it’s about earning the opportunity to get my foot in the door at a great company.  It’s about finding someone who will take a chance on me and allow me to demonstrate my value through hard work, dedication and creativity.

Until next time.

-Taft

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