You may have seen job descriptions that are looking for a ‘self-motivated’ person, or someone who is a real ‘go-getter’. While the latter isn’t the most professional term, both of these descriptors find their way into job descriptions. So what companies using this lingo really looking for? They want a proactive worker. Read on below for more reasons why people with this quality are in demand by employers.
To begin, let’s take a look at the opposite of a proactive worker for some context. A re-active worker operates in an entirely different way. Instead of taking their own direction from their ambition, they only do the work that is necessary. They will never take on my work than is absolutely necessary. These workers are motivated solely by reactions from other employees, which are typically negative. If they do take on new responsibilities, it is usually because they were chewed out by their boss.
These ‘reactive’ employees typically don’t find any value in their job. While they do enjoy their pay check, that is where it ends. Since these employees are not proactive, they are stuck doing the same mundane tasks day in and day out. Since they choose not to expand their repertoire, they fail to grow in their position. This also means they rarely experience any upwards mobility, or for that matter, a raise.
Now, you can likely guess what the positives are of being proactive. They are a mirror image of the aforementioned reactive employee. A proactive employee seeks out opportunities to get work done, whether or not it was asked of them. Going out of your way to complete projects and get work done is a great way to be recognized your superiors. Just make sure you don’t step on any toes, or work out of line. It’s important to get a sense of what is okay for you to tackle on your own, and otherwise when it may be best to ask permission.
Most proactive employees also know it is in their best interests to grow professionally. This means seeking out opportunities for continuous improvement. Attending seminars, workshops, and subscribing to magazines in your profession are all great ways to accomplish that. Taking this kind of initiative shows that you are willing to learn new things and adapt to new challenges/responsibilities. Managers understand that proactive employees will always make valuable team members, and because of that, they will work harder to keep you around. This could take the form of a raise, promotion, new job title, or a better office.
In closing, find the right balance of proactive and reactive that works for you. While you may not seek out growth opportunities with a hunger, at the very least complete your work proactively. You certainly don’t need to go all in. For one, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself. Also, you don’t want to seem overeager and make anyone nervous. Find the balance that works for you and be the best employee you can.
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