How many times have you met someone new and they asked you the question, “Who do you work for”? Each time I’m sure you believe you answered correctly. However, unless you are a full-time entrepreneur there’s a good chance you didn’t answer correctly. The correct answer to that question is always, “I work for [insert your full name here]. Let’s discuss why.
Most people who get asked the question of who you work for will answer the place that gives them a paycheck. Doesn’t matter the size of the paycheck or how many different companies are giving you that paycheck. So, if GE is paying you twice a month you will answer, “I work for GE”. If Coca-Cola is paying you every 2 weeks, “I work for Coke”.
The reason you answer that is because you assume that the person wants to know your place of employment. In most cases that assumption is correct. Now this may seem like a slight of words but the better question would be, “Who is your employer”? Everyone will have different answers to that question.
Yet if any of us are asked who we work for we should all have the same answer. I work for [insert your full name here]. You may be employed by a company but you work for yourself. This is an important distinction because too often that fact gets lost in our day to day life. Some of us wake in the morning thinking about our job. Then we take those thoughts with us to the job. Finally, we return home from a day’s work and we continue thinking about the job.
When you follow that daily pattern, you run the risk of losing yourself inside your work. On occasion this is not a bad thing. Over a long period of time it is definitely a bad thing. It is a bad thing because by giving all your energy solely to your work you are neglecting your true job of taking care of yourself. However, when we get in that pattern we tend to lose awareness on what is truly important. Your self-awareness of all your responsibilities is key to your success.
One of your first responsibilities is to maintain your health. That means you must eat nutritiously and you must exercise your body. Yet how many times have you decided you don’t have time to do either because of the responsibilities of your job? You don’t have time to exercise if you are working a 12-hour day. You don’t have time to select a nutritious meal because you barely have time to eat at all.
Another responsibility you have is to self-development. If you want to be successful you must continue to grow. That growth will mean gaining new knowledge and developing new skills. Yet how much of your job has become routine where you aren’t learning anything new you are just handling more responsibility? You have a book you would love to read but because of your job you haven’t found the time to read it. There’s an online course you want to take but by the time you get home from work you are too tired to engage in it.
A third responsibility you have is to nurture the relationships you have with your friends and family. The stronger the relationship you have with the people you are closest to the better life you will live. Yet how many times have you failed to invest time in those relationships because you just don’t have any time left in the day to do so. Your job is so demanding you just can’t seem to fit it in. You end up just going through the motions with your friends and family. On the furthest extreme you end up harming those relationships because you unintentionally transfer some of the stress you feel from your job onto them.
Those are just a few examples to drive the point home that you need never to forget who you work for in life. Although your job pays you a paycheck that puts food on the table, a roof over your head and many other benefits that come with money, you are being paid for your services. The better you are at providing those services the bigger your paycheck.
That means the healthier you are the better you will perform your services at that job. If you decide to leave on time today so you can go work out you will perform your job better in the coming weeks. If you don’t you will limit your improvement. If you decide to stop thinking about work when you get home and open that book to gain some new knowledge you will perform your job better because you will be a more developed individual. If you leave on time so you can spend quality time with your friends and family you will eventually perform better on your job because you will bring more good energy to that job because of those great relationships.
You work for yourself and the biggest responsibility of that job is to become your best self. That will never happen if you don’t make it happen. The job that pays your paycheck may say they want you healthy, developed and happy but all that goes out the door when it comes to their bottom line. Your job has revenue to make and it is paying you to help maximize that revenue. If you can perform your duties as is then your job keeps winning. You cannot rely on that job to look out for your best interests. They are already doing that by giving you a paycheck for your services.
You ultimately work for yourself and forgetting that can be detrimental to your potential success. Committing to doing that job to the greatest extent possible will lead to unlimited success. Yes, it is a balance between being paid for your services and becoming the best person you can be to deliver services. Make sure you are balancing those two obligations correctly. The next time someone asks you who do you work for make sure your answer is – I am employed by [Company X] and I work for [insert full name]. Hopefully that response will lead to some stimulating conversation. As always, I wish you the best and remind you to enjoy the journey.