Even if you're in your dream job today, careers do change. Job changes sometimes happen at the most unexpected times - a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity might come along, you might decide to pursue a new interest, you might move, or your organization could downsize.
With all that uncertainty, how can you make your career withstand all the ups and downs it will invariably face? How can you make sure any potential employers hear the best possible report about you?
No one can plan for the unexpected, but you can be prepared.
When you think of your work, think of how you want others to describe you as you move throughout your career – your work habits, your interpersonal skills, your attitude. Keep those attributes in mind when you start each day.
What kind of impression do you want to leave on your colleagues, your supervisors, and your patients?
1. Have a Great Attitude
No, you won't come into work every day in a good mood. Things happen to make even the most positive person grouchy. But taking a minute before you walk through the doors to mentally shed what's bothering you can make a huge difference. People won't remember why you were cranky, but they will remember if you were in a foul mood frequently. You don't want that to overshadow your good work.
2. Be Professional
Being comfortable in your job is no reason to cut corners. In fact, the longer you've been in your job, the more you should pay attention. Why? Because if your organization is looking for leaders, you're in a great position to move up. Your long-term knowledge of your organization is a benefit if your work history is positive.
3. Extend Courtesies
Colleagues will remember your work habits and your knack for leadership, but your approach will influence how they remember you. If you work as a real team member – giving credit and praise where it's due – you'll earn a reputation for fairness.
4. Take Some Heat
Part of being a good team member and employee also means taking the heat when you have to. Did you make an error? Admit it and learn from it. Did your new initiative fall short of it's goals? Reassess, make improvements, and turn it around into something better. Everyone makes mistakes, so when it happens, own up to it and move on.
5. Bring It On
Don't wait for others to implement ideas. No matter what your title, your responsibilities, or your ambition, propose at least a few good ideas every year. Can't think of anything? Look around your workplace – what can be done better? And it doesn't have to be a nursing task. You can suggest improvements in recycling efforts, internal communications, or even recognizing good work. Getting your ideas out there shows you are always looking for ways to make your organization, and its employees, the best they can be.
How do you want your colleagues to describe you and your work?