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Clean Out the "Junk Drawer" of Your Life
by Jean Gatz

Most of us have at least one junk drawer at home or at the office. It's full of things we don't need and haven't used in a long time. But we can't bring ourselves to throw that useless stuff away. Our minds contain a space for junk, too. We each have our own junk drawer. It's full of the negative attitudes, beliefs and behaviors we bring to the workplace that keep us from bringing added value to our jobs and developing the skills we need to remain employable and marketable now and well into the future.

In research for my book, How to Be the Person Successful Companies Fight to Keep, decision makers told me they would fight to keep those employees who could come to work every day and give 100% - without all the clutter of negative attitudes and behaviors. To advance in your career, you must be willing to clean out your own junk drawer.

A good place to start is to ask yourself some questions like these:
  • What are my strengths and how can I improve on them?
  • What are my weaknesses? On my performance review, what areas can I target to improve?
  • How am I handling change in my organization? Do I say things like, "I'm only one person, so it doesn't matter if I buy into change or not?" OR "I'll change, but only when I'm good and ready."
  • Am I proficient with the technology I need to do my job well? Do I brag that I don't know how to turn on a computer when everyone else around me is up to speed? Do I need additional training?
  • Do my customers and coworkers avoid me and say I'm hard to talk to? ... because I'm so busy talking I don't take time to listen?
  • Do my customers and coworkers see me as a leader with innovative ideas and the determination to take the initiative and move forward? Or am I always a few steps behind everyone else and working hard just to catch up?

It requires courage to take an objective (and sometimes painful) look at yourself on the job - to examine all your weaknesses as well as your strengths. "Cleaning out your personal/attitudinal junk drawer" makes room for the positive attitudes and behaviors you MUST bring to the job if you want to remain employable and marketable and continue to advance your career.

Copyright Jean Gatz. All Rights Reserved.

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