Daily #11: What it’s worth

I want to start by revisiting something from yesterday’s post, where I mentioned my motivations for work. I’ve realised the way I worded it sounds as though I only put effort into my work due to money; that I don’t take pride in my work. I worded it that way to iterate my point more clearly, in that when working on my own projects, I do not get paid.

I’ve only been part of the workforce for around two and a half years, but I’ve always found it easier to ‘go the extra mile’ when I’m working with others. Of course, I won’t deny that if I wasn’t being compensated, I wouldn’t work there – but there are other reasons why a professional environment makes me work harder.

One reason is that I have always been wary of authority figures. I was not often told off in school, but when I was, I took it very hard. So in order to avoid being lectured by my managers, I ensure that I establish a good base level of work, and excel where I am able to. This prevents me from feeling anxious that I will underperform and fail. This also ties in to letting others down.

At my previous job, we worked to team-wide targets, so if I didn’t pull my weight it would reflect on the whole team, rather than just me. Similarly, in my new job, others rely on my production of content, so I ensure that it is sent to them ahead of time. I don’t like to be ‘waited on’. This was something my mum instilled in me; she always made sure I committed to things. If I said I was going to attend something, I would – as I would be letting someone down if I didn’t.

Another reason has only really come about since I started my new job. Performing well in my work provides a level of fulfilment that I am currently struggling to get outside of the professional environment. I have to create and complete multiple writing tasks every day, which I usually don’t achieve, so being able to do that gives me a sense of satisfaction. I’m working on bringing that into my personal development, but as I discussed yesterday, this is no easy feat.

As well as being compensated monetarily, I am also praised for my content. I’m not someone who feels the need to be told ‘you’re doing a good job’ (fortunately for me mental well-being), but when I alter a piece of copy for someone, or get the wording of an email just right, it’s met with praise and gratitude. I don’t bask in it or anything – just as often, I’ll be asked to revise what I’ve done – but given that feedback validates what I’m doing.

Praise is something which tends to be under-rewarded as a whole. People are far more likely to point out the negatives rather than the positives of something. But praise can really make someone’s day, especially when it’s in a creative endeavour. It creates a sense of positivity for everyone involved, and it’s absolutely free.

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