Take Initiative at Work

I've had many conversations with people who complain that they're bored at work because they don't have enough to do.

When I tell them they should find something to do, they respond by saying they've asked for more work but aren't given anything.

In essence, they're telling their boss that their position isn't needed and should be downsized.

If you don't have enough to do, it's time to start taking some initiative.

  • Write a best practices document.
  • Clean your workplace.
  • Volunteer for another project in your organization.
  • Research the latest trends in your field.
  • Provide unbelievable customer service.
  • Learn more about your organization.
  • Assist a busy coworker.

If you have lots of free time at work and aren't looking for productive ways to fill it, you're not worth your paycheck.

The first professional job I got after college was as a Data Entry Specialist* for a Senator.  I have a $100k education, and I'm doing data entry.  Not exactly my dream job.

But before long I started helping my boss manage our database, and I did much of the work of a flaky coworker who was never in the office.  I began assisting staff in another department that I wanted to join, and I did my own work with excellence so that other peoples' jobs would be easier.

I once got a mild reprimand for taking too much initiative after making a slight error in a project.  I was told that maybe I should cool my jets for a little while until the dust settled.

But you know what, my supervisor got management to give me a $3000 bonus that wasn't normally given to first year employees, and when I left the job, that same boss said I had brought a new level of professionalism to the position.

If you don't have enough to do, it's time to start taking some initiative. The rest of us are busy and could really use a hand.

Photo by sunshinecity

*Yes, the title really included the words "Data Entry" followed by the word "Specialist."  I couldn't make that up.


…or more specifically, ceasing to work. I’m reading Why Guys Need God by Mike Erre right now, and he’s talking about how work is not the result of the Fall, that work is not punishment but that we were always intended to work. His position is that God worked in creation and that our working is a part of our being created in the image of God, which got me thinking…

What does it mean to rest? This may seem like an odd question when reading about work being a part of our very nature, but I don’t have a problem working. I work at work, and when I come home, I work some more. I enjoy work. I enjoy what I do, and I enjoy the projects that I do on the side. My hope is that those side projects will eventually become profitable, and I enjoy the work that it takes to make them so. I especially enjoy the creative aspects of these projects, but when God rested, he rested from creating.

I guess what I’m really asking is, what does it mean to shabbat, to rest, to take a Sabbath. Observing the Sabbath (or at least a Sabbath) was a command that was never rescinded in the New Testament. It’s a commandment that I’m not very good at following. But even if I was good at it, what does it even mean to take a Sabbath? Is it to rest not only from day-to-day work but to rest even from being creative? Woodworking, painting, and building hot rods are all thoroughly enjoyable activities for many, but they are also a form of work? Should we rest even from these on our Sabbath?

I have no good answers on this, only questions.

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Today I start my new job as a Protege (intern) at NCC. Definitely looking forward to it. Got a chance to meet a couple of my fellow Proteges over the last few days, they seem like cool people. Gotta run now, don’t want to be late on my first day at work, more details later.