Take ownership of what you do.
Turn your job in to a profession and you will turn your living into a lifestyle.

Do you go to work at your job or your profession?
A job provides for a living. A profession provides for a lifestyle.
A job places value on attendance. A profession places value on performance.
A job exchanges time for dollars. A profession provides service for compensation.

Regardless of the skill or talent, the type of work that you do, or the business dynamics of your employer, if you exchange time for dollars, then you have a job. If you exchange service for dollars, then you have a profession.

Job Mentality vs. Professional Mentality

Job Mentality 101
If I do what I am supposed to do for my paycheck, then, if I do the same thing over and over, I should be paid more. This doesn’t happen.

The job provides for food, clothing and shelter. These are the basics that are the survival elements of a lifestyle. Everyone has his or her own life style. When we decide to change our life style, we have to make changes in how we support our lifestyle. If our source of income is providing the needs of an employer, our lifestyle will be dictated by the needs of the employer. If we want more, we have to do more for the employer. Our employer determines our life style. This is job mentality.

Professional Mentality 101
I should be compensated for adding value as an employee for my employer. If I become more valuable, then I expect to be rewarded. This happens.

Showing up on time and doing what you were hired to do is expected. It demonstrates responsibility and accountability. Showing up early, staying late, being a problem solver demonstrates resourcefulness or leadership. If our income is based on developing and marketing our skills and talents to people who can benefit from them, then we determine our lifestyle. If we want more, we either serve more people or create more value in the service that we provide.

By the hour or by the service:

An attorney who charges $375 per hour for his time does not value his service. He could be reading a book, watching a movie, or composing a document on your behalf. He considers his work a job and gets paid by the hour. The attorney who charges for the service per accomplished task sells his services as part of his profession.

In the health care industry, manage care facilities expect there professional to produce a dollar amount per room or per patient encounter. These healthcare providers get a fixed amount with incentives based on production. They are professionals by title, but see their practice as a job. Just show up, meet the quota and get paid.

The healthcare professional that sees the practice as a profession expects to be rewarded based on how he applies his knowledge and skills to meet the needs of the patient. The service to the patient becomes the motivating factor, not the time it takes to provide the service. They see their practice as a profession.

A professional athlete implies that he get paid for his athletic talent. However, he gets paid for doing a job. Even though his pay may be on a per game basis, his worth to the team determines his income. A professional athlete who suits up but doesn’t get in the game gets the minimum pay. His value to the team may be his service on the practice squad. If he is comfortable getting paid to show up for the game, then he feels he has a job. But if he is only comfortable when he feels that he contributes to the success of the team, then he has a profession.

But what about the truck driver, the waitress, the teacher, or mothers and fathers? There are truck drivers and there are professional truck drivers, waiters and professional waiters, and parents who grow kids and parents who raise a family. It’s simply how people see their future.

You can attend or participate in your lifestyle. When you attend your lifestyle, you take what you get. When you participate in your lifestyle, you get what you want.

A Right to a Job?

You are only entitled to a job to the extent that someone decides to hire you. You can’t force someone to hire you. It’s called sales. You sell your self/skill/talent to some one who will pay you for it. If they won’t hire you, you have to become a better salesperson or improve on the product for sale.

You are, however, entitled to a lifestyle. Your lifestyle is your decision to determine and pursue. Your lifestyle is totally dependent on you. Even with all the obstacles that life puts before you, how you deal with the obstacles, what you learn from them, whether you quit on your self or move on, react or respond to them, determines your life style. Your future, your lifestyle, depends on you.

The great thing about your lifestyle is that if you don’t like it, you can change.

Job security:

You are worth to your employer what it will cost him to replace you. It is a business decision. Even though there is no real job security, you can enhance your stature or value in the employment market by improving your skills or developing new talents.

When the automobile came into existence, the buggy whip makers had to change. Those who changed, learned new skills, went on to make cell phones. Those who refused to change, still make buggy whips for the museums.

How to turn your job in to your profession:

Start by answering these questions:

  1. Are you happy doing what you are doing?
  2. Do you only do what is necessary or do you try to do a little extra?
  3. Do you work to add value to your service?
  4. Are you willing to invest in your self?
  5. How do you see your self five years from now? Doing same thing? Different?
  6. What do you have to change to get where you want to be in five years?

Step 1 Get out of the comfort zone.
Be willing to grow. A job keeps people in their comfort zone. Growth requires change and change is always uncomfortable. You must be willing to become uncomfortable in order to be comfortable…in order to grow.

Step 2 Add value to what you do everyday.
A job provides value to the employer. If you see your work as a job, you will meet the value requirements of your employer. If you see what you do as your profession, you will continue to add value to your work. This primarily adds value to you and secondarily adds value to the customer, client or employer.

Step 3 Strive to be a professional.
See job mentality as the antithesis of professionalism.

What does it take to change a job into a profession?

To become a professional at what we do requires something very simple and difficult. We have to be willing to change. The simple part is deciding that we want to change. The difficult part is to change. There are personal growth books on change but the process is the same.

1. Attitude
Recognize that change comes from within. The thinking that has guided us to this point of our lifestyle will keep us in this lifestyle. We must make changes in order to have changes. Our attitude must support the pursuit of a desired lifestyle through vision, goals, growth, change and discomfort.

2. Resourcefulness
The change we wish to make may require personal growth or the development of new skills and talents. Education comes in many forms. Do we need formal education i.e. schools and courses, or peripheral education i.e. coaches, mentors, books, personal experience? Part of changing a job into a profession is finding the educational resources to support our goal. Information, the ingredient for change, is all around us but we have to reach out. We choose the resource.

3. Commitment
It is hard to put a label on stuff. But stuff is the most common element that gets in our way. It’s like having a spot on your glasses but you don’t appreciate that you can’t see very well. If you want the vision of your future lifestyle to become clearer, then you have to get the stuff off your glasses.

Our success depends on what we do with our discretionary time. Everyone has some discretionary time, some more than others. But the person who invests his limited discretionary time is at an advantage over the person who spends his unlimited discretionary time. Make a commitment to investing your discretionary time.

4. Patience
We must be patient, focused and deliberate in our pursuit of our lifestyle. The more you learn, the more you grow. The more you refine your skills and talents, the greater the lifestyle. Be patient. If you try to eat the cake before it has finished baking, you will just have sweet dough sticking to your teeth. Opportunity without preparation is like a seed with out a place to grow. But even with a place to grow, we must be patient and let the seed produce its fruit.

5. Perseverance
Don’t give up. Obstacles are not barriers. They are detours. Learn from challenges.

A job provides the means for a living
A profession provides the means for a life style.
A job is based on what you do during an hour.
A profession is based on how you do it during the hour.
A job is measured by your performance per hour.
A profession is measured by your performance per life.

Turn your job in to a profession and enjoy the lifestyle that you deserve.

Dr R. B. Liposky