I have become increasingly aware of my own career mortality of late. After four years as a server with the same restaurant, which is a new personal best length of time on a job, circumstances have me thinking about what’s next for me.
The need to move on is driven by several reasons, with my current employment in jeopardy due to a perplexing mix of circumstances, and my current employer unable to offer the experience I need to advance to the next level in the sommelier program. Yet the advantage I have right now, while still employed, is the ability to be selective and pursue several possible opportunities.
In the interim, I’ve adopted a new mentality that at first felt like a survival tactic, but has begun to turn into a teachable moment for others. The explanation usually goes something like this:
“I’ve been reminded recently of something I learned from Robert Kiyosaki’s book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. There is no such thing as job security in this day and age. Yet, I like what I do, and I don’t want to hate my job. So I’ve decided to treat every shift as if it were my last. Whether it’s the last one before vacation, or the last one before a new venture, I’m determined to make sure each shift is the best it can be. After all, if it is my last shift, I want to have fun with it. I want to work hard, stay focused, and go out on a high note. Since it’s my ‘last shift’, no matter what may go wrong, nothing can bother me, faze me, or break me. I’m just going to do my best and leave satisfied that I did.”
This new attitude is being noticed by coworkers and guests alike. It’s certainly improved my attitude and lifted my morale. It’s given me a better sense of priorities and made my efforts more determined and passionate. I respond with greater enthusiasm, I avoid distractions, I engage my coworkers more, and I strive to leave each night satisfied that if that was my last shift, it was as good as I could make it. Admittedly, this kind of push to leave on a high note whenever that final departure occurs can be a bit exhausting at times. Yet the pride I feel at a job well done, on my terms, giving the best I have to offer, is worth every drop of sweat.
So, consider this for yourselves. If you found yourself suddenly unemployed, what would your last day have been like? What would you want it to be like? It’s easy to enjoy your last day when you know it’s coming, but that’s not always a guarantee. Act as if you’re in control of when your last day will happen by making the most of every day you have.
Of course, if you’ve never had a good day at the job you currently do, keep looking. Even when you’re in your field of passion, you may not always be a good fit for a specific employer. Now’s the time to find a better fit, before you really are facing your last day. Enjoy!