“Young people are lazy” is something that I hear quite a bit from matured people. I’m not denying that there may be a bit of validity to that, but the laziness that young people inhibit is the kind of laziness that I observe in many adults who have a job but not a career. By this I mean, perhaps these young people are doing the exact amount in their jobs as they were taught to put in: they’re doing a job right but they’re not excelling at it.
Some people are taught, either by their parents or their peers, that a job is merely a means of getting a paycheck. Money as a motivator is completely fine, but what hinders them is not realizing the opportunity that’s in front of them in whatever position they may be in. The opportunity to create value. By creating value for a business by going above and beyond the bare minimum, you give others the perception that you’re valuable. As the perception of your value grows, so does your indispensability.
I like to think of Alexander Hamilton, our first Secretary of Treasury, as a great example. After his mother died he was left in destitute as an orphan at the age of 13 years old. This era of his life was overwhelmed with tragedy and hardship and yet, he prevailed. Why? Because he worked like it was the only thing he had a desire to do. It was the only thing he could do.
He took up a job as an accounting clerk. He read every book he could possibly find. Hamilton wrote like there was no tomorrow, because for him, maybe there wouldn’t be. Before long, his talent was recognized and a collection was taken to send him to America where he would attend King’s College, fight in the Revolutionary War, gain command of his own battalion, go on to work alongside the president, establish the first national bank in America, and so much more. Opportunities will find you when you need them most simply because you were working really freaking hard.
Ultimately, what Alexander Hamilton did, was make himself worth someone’s time and money. When you excel at a job, you make yourself more than worth the paycheck you are receiving. But how do you do that?
It begins with defining what “value creation” means in your role. Ask yourself what part of my job makes my boss’ job easier, what is our mission, how can I effectively reflect that mission, how can we make this process more effective.
Seek solutions to even minuscule problems, or strive to fix the big ones. Become knowledgeable about the company you work for because this will translate into a passion for your job.
All of these things combined will help you to make yourself worth the investment. Because just being “good” won’t get you any further than you already are.