While it is not always clearly understood or communicated, every job has it’s “currency”.
Yes, you receive a pay check or an electronic equivalent. That is the currency that you receive. But what is the currency that you must provide to assure that you continue to receive that your pay?
Why is it important for you to understand your Job Currency?
The simplest reason is: If you haven’t clearly defined job success, how can you effectively pursue it?
To clarify my concept of “currency“, it helps to understand the multiple uses of the word.
Currency: General Definitions
- the money that a country uses : a specific kind of money
- something that is used as money
- the quality or state of being used or accepted by many people
– Source MerriamWebster.com
There is an important distinction between these variations. The term job currency applies definition #2. NOT #3.
Workers exchange their labor (something used as money) for wages (money).
What Does Job Currency Really Mean?
Your Job Currency is what the people who pay you ultimately want to receive as a result of your efforts.
Here’s a hint. The operative word here is “result”. Not the word efforts. Is effort needed to get results? Or course. While offering your effort, you need to be clear about the difference between working hard and working smart. It’s important to avoid…
Confusing Activity with Achievement
When job currency isn’t clear, what happens? We make an educated guess and perform activities related to the job title or to a past job. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of adopting the limiting belief that staying busy and working hard are your Job Currency. Armed with that belief, we do things like:
- Arrive Early / Stay Late – whether you need to or not
- Regularly Fight Fires
- Surf the web, moving around and CC-ing colleagues on emails: for the primary purpose of looking busy or active
Are there certain attributes or behaviors that the boss or management in general values and praises? These activities can be the result of the belief that effort or style is your job currency. Your effort may be recognized and complimented. When effort for the sake of effort is rewarded, it gets repeated and even intensified. But when it’s time for a salary review, these efforts are typically rewarded with the standard 2% increase.
This is what happens when you’re unaware of your real job currency. It’s NOT about activity. It’s not really about style. It needs to be about the achievements of yourself and your team.
Pursuit of Job Currency Clarity
While every job is different, they have one common element. They exist for a reason. To understand job currency, here are questions you should ask and answer.
- Why does this job exist?
- What is the worker ultimately responsible for achieving?
- If there was a “rock star” in this position, what would happen that would not happen with just a mediocre performer?
- When a poor performer does the job, what doesn’t happen that needs to happen?
- What are the top 3 to 5 Key Acountabilities for the job? How are they measured? How are they prioritized?
From these answers, you gain clarity on your job currency. From there, there’s one more question to put this insight to use:
How can you become that “rock star” performer?
Now, bring on that effort! Notice the difference?