A good friend of mine once said that everyone wants to be healthy but few are willing to do what is necessary. I have heard similar stories about entrepreneurs that want to grow their businesses but won't necessarily do what has to be done in terms of investment, marketing etc. The same can easily be said for careers! Do you have the commitment necessary to be successful or do you feel like things are owed to you? If the latter is true, then you have been infected with a career killer!
One thing that can not be faked in any organizational environment is commitment. It is readily obvious who is coming in early and staying late. It is readily obvious who is always asking good questions and proposing novel solutions. It is readily obvious who is willing to volunteer their time on behalf of the organization. It is readily obvious who is willing to relocate, or spend holidays away from family and friends.
Am I suggesting that you do these things? Not necessarily but if you are completely uninterested or unwilling to do them at least some of the time, then you may well be seen as displaying a lack of commitment and this can be a real career killer.
One of the best things you can do if you are not interested or unable to take on some of the special projects and/or assignments that may be available is to volunteer your time on things you can accommodate. This not only prevents people from seeing you as someone who isn't ready to go the extra mile, it actually encourages them to see you as a "player". This sort of volunteering does not have to be completely work related. Often organizations are looking for employees to volunteer for charitable work or special projects that have come up and it is here where you can step up and make a big difference.
I also think it is important for you to be aware than this is not a one time thing. I have heard managers condemn employees by saying that they are "no longer" staying late to get the job done. In other words, they once were seen as committed and now they were being seen as less so. Note as well that there are often many good reasons to pull back at work, including family illness, children's activities etc. Unfortunately, this does not seem to count for a lot in the eyes of many managers.
So there are three strategies to consider here:
At the end of the day, it is unfortunate that many people see commitment as linked to personal sacrifice. I personally believe this is a poor linkage. However, being seen as someone who steps up and is an energetic champion for the organization and willing to take on additional assignments that fit his/her schedule and abilities - are bound to be seen as committed and that is all that is necessary.
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