Have you ever watched the careers of different individuals and wondered why some succeed and are profitable and others always seem to be struggling? I see it over and over again in my travels and always wonder what makes some people tick and others lose out. Now there is two mindsets to this thought process; some say it doesn’t matter how you finish as long as you finish first, and others say it is best to finish second and ethically than to be first through cheating. I agree with the second thought process. Here is why, most criminals get caught sooner or later, and those types of people spend too much energy trying to beat the system rather than working within it. Now this article is not about becoming a criminal, but about steering your career by abiding by the rules of engagement. Let me share a story with you and you may recognize a person like this on your team. Now this story is based in the transportation industry but you can find similar examples in almost any industry. By the way I have changed the names to protect the guilty.
Let’s call this person Jack, he has been driving truck his whole life. He learned to drive from his father and the family has a long list of truck drivers in it. He was taught early on that the most important part of creating money as a truck driver is to put in as many miles as you can, no matter how you do it drive those miles under your belt. Jack succeeded at that and companies loved him because he would do anything they asked, run around the scale, driver over the allowable hours, and take heavy loads whenever asked. With that attitude it was no problem to get jobs and he always seemed to be working. There was one problem however; he didn’t care about his career. As long as he was making money he didn’t give another thought as to how to proceed to the next step. Due to his non caring attitude jack did a lot of damage to equipment, refused to go that extra mile by keep his truck clean and would eventually be fired. He only had one goal and that was to get on with a good company that paid well and even though he bounced around companies he finally got that chance and ended up with a great company. The problem was that the mindset he had created early on never left him and while trying to make that extra dollar again he ended up rolling the truck. He made it out alive however; he has a hard time finding decent companies to work for and will never find that gold mind that he once worked at again.
Now Tom on the other hand did not come from a long line of truck drivers, but a line of accountants. He started at the bottom of the industry moving furniture and gradually through hard work, passion for his positions, and putting extra effort into his career, moved up the ladder getting experience in various industries within the transportation sector. In the long run he made better money than his counterpart Jack by abiding by company rules, putting in extra effort, and looking for opportunities to do what he loves to do. How did he make more money than Jack you ask? He worked for better companies that paid more per mile, he achieved higher positions that paid in various ways such as salary or percentage that created more income than by the mile, and he kept his record clean giving him a good name in the industry. He has since gone onto other avenues and opportunities within the transportation industry.
Now I tell you that story so that you will look hard at your career in the past, present, and future to decide if it is taking you on the path you had hoped it would. Part of the reason people go down the wrong path is due to the fact that they listen to the wrong people regarding their career. I myself was told over thirty years ago not to get into the industry because you couldn’t make any money in it. Thank the Lord I didn’t listen to that guy or I would still be pumping gas at the local gas station. Owning your success is about believing in your own ways of doing things that make you unique while abiding by the rules and regulations of your industry. Sometimes money grows on trees so think of your career as the trunk and branches.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is a business and leadership consultant with a strong background in the transportation industry. You can view more information on Bruce by visiting his website at http://www.outridge.ca