Throughout your educational and professional years, one of your business professors or mentors probably advised you that it’s a “dog-eat-dog world,” or they’ve used the common phrase, “It’s every man for himself,” when referring to the pursuit of career success.
While on some levels these notions may be true, you can actually use these truism to your advantage in a different way. Instead of being bolted down to your personal career agenda, you should widen your career path by becoming what I call a career servant.
For simplicity’s sake, a career servant is someone who consistently serves others.
By practicing career servanthood you can engender many positive results. In fact, this altruistic strategy can lead to ultimate career satisfaction because you can help your organization advance, your colleagues succeed, and yourself grow—all at the same time. When you serve your organization and others, you will easily build positive alliances and networks that can add immense value to your career.
Starting today, begin small by doing an office-related act of kindness that you normally wouldn’t do for your supervisor or a coworker. If you feel led to, tell them that (for a certain period of time) you’re willing to give them a hand with something for a couple of minutes a week. This can be particularly beneficial to them if you’re extremely competent in an area they’re not. For instance, can you help them become more proficient with a specific program, software, system, or tool that they need to do their job more effectively?
Next, keep your eyes open for bigger opportunities such as the ones below where you can support your organization as a career servant.
1. Volunteer for a philanthropic or charitable initiative that your organization is sponsoring or supporting.
2. Mentor an up-and-coming employee or intern within your organization. Don’t wait for them to come to you. Find someone that you can help and offer to be their mentor.
3. Lead new, fun, and trendy efforts such as coordinating social activities or outings that will spark the culture with a morale boost. This can be especially fun and rewarding during holiday seasons.
Be conscious of your motives and level of commitment: Make sure that you are genuine with your support and don’t over commit yourself. Be practical to ensure that you are able to stay on top of your game while you’re supporting others. This is not an opportunity for you to slack. Instead, it’s a selfless way of thinking that will give you a chance to step your game up and get to the next level in your career!
Antoine Moss, Ph.D., (@2PositiveTweets) is a nationally recognized resource on internships, early career achievement, leadership and motivation. CEO and founder of CEO Style Consulting L.L.C., Moss empowers professionals and organizations to reach their full potential, and serves as speaker, workshop instructor and consultant. The author of Learn to Intern CEO Style, Moss has been a featured expert on outlets including Fox 8 TV News and George Fraser’s 2011 Power Networking Conference.