June 1, 2006
Pride is a tricky word. While it can mean satisfaction, gratification or dignity, it can also mean conceit and self-importance. Being proud of something is usually looked upon as a good and admirable quality. But when pride gets in the way of appropriately serving others, it can be a bad trait.
Pride often goes hand in hand with job satisfaction, and therefore performance. The amount of pride you have in what you do determines how you will execute your job duties and responsibilities. We've all come across the 16-year-old who cares little about his fast food job. As he speaks in a mumbled tone without giving eye contact, slumped over, slow and awkward, he exudes low self-esteem. He also displays apathy and a lack of pride in his job. As he ages, he will hopefully mature into a model employee with confidence and pride. Many of us are still in that growing and understanding process.
So how do you attain and sustain pride in your job in an appropriate way? You must not perceive your chosen job-and it is something you've chosen to do-as "a job to get done." You must not just process the specifics of your job; you must have integrity in the work you perform and produce. And you must enjoy your job for the most part. If you don't, you will not be good at it.
Studies continue to show that the way you carry yourself in the course of your job becomes a representation of the profession for which you work. First impressions are first impressions. If a homeowner or engineer observes your work to be careless or unethical, that may skew her outlook on the profession of surveying, in addition to her perception of you individually. In turn, these impressions weigh on the prestige of the profession. For example, while firefighters, scientists, teachers and doctors retain high levels of prestige, my own profession of journalism does not fare well in the eyes of society. Nor do accountants, stockbrokers, or at the bottom of some studies' lists, real estate agents and brokers. Where the surveying profession specifically lies in the eyes of society I don't know, but with prestige declining for most every occupation in the last 30 years, it probably doesn't fare any better than most of the others. A recent study even shows that engineers have decreased in prestige from 34 percent to 29 percent.
One positive aspect studies have shown, however, is that a collapse in the prestige of a trade or profession had little impact on job satisfaction. And real satisfaction stems from accomplishments, especially those requiring hard work. True satisfaction is reaped from feeling that you have had a positive impact on others. And it doesn't hurt to be recognized. Remember my message last December about work incentives and motivation? The more motivated an employee is, the more likely he is to accomplish a goal, thereby increasing his pride and perhaps the prestige of his chosen profession.
In a May edition last year, USA Today published an article about various professions and their prestige. A couple of lines in that piece struck me: "job prestige and satisfaction may "¦ rely on business success," and "some of the most disengaged people are those at the very top of companies." Interesting. Also included was this sentence: "There is little correlation between prestige and money. Firefighters, teachers, nurses and police officers all score well on prestige, while the prestige of professional athletes has fallen as their income has risen."
How much pride do you have in your job as a surveyor? How satisfied are you? And how well do you represent your chosen profession?
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