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There’s a phenomenon in the workplace that affects many businesses. Too often an employee will do just enough not to get fired. Too often an employer will pay just enough so the employee doesn’t quit. In both cases, there’s a void in the recipe for success.

In order for an employee to prosper there must be a mind shift from an employee to a professional. This shift will benefit the employee regardless of what the employer does.

An employee mindset gives all the power to the employer. An employee mindset of doing just enough not to get fired; of waiting for the employer to provide training and development; is asking for a career path to nowhere.

A professional does the exact opposite. A professional does more than expected. Professionals take action. They seek their own training. They take steps to ensure their own development.

The difference between an employee or a professional isn’t the position or industry. It’s not the clothes they wear. It’s the mindset and action (or lack thereof) of the individual.

An employee identifies problems and waits for solutions. A professional identifies solutions and fixes problems.

An administrative assistant that waits for a supervisor to demonstrate and teach the bells and whistles of a database is an employee. The administrative assistant that studies the manual and learns on their own is a professional.

The custodian that uses the same cleaning supplies year after year is an employee. The custodian that continually samples new products to determine if they are improved over existing products is a professional.

The individual that continues to use old, outdated materials is an employee. The individual that seeks new materials and/or creates their own new materials is a professional.

Individuals that cram in their required CEUs (Continuing Education Units) before their certification expires are employees. Individuals that routinely participate in Continuing Education for professional growth, obtaining their units along the way, are professionals.

Individuals that wait to be directed to attend an upcoming training seminar or webinar are employees. Individuals that look for seminars and webinars to improve their skills and then present them to their employers for approval to attend are professionals.

In the workplace, it is easy to separate employees from professionals. Professionals actively engage in discussions on ways to improve processes and services. They share their ideas, knowledge, and experiences, to help leadership make better informed decisions. Employees on the other hand, wait to be called on. Employees are reluctant to share their ideas, knowledge, and experiences. Their focus is more on getting through the day. (Remember, they are only doing enough not to get fired.)

Professionals invest in themselves. They realize by being better, they position themselves for further advancement. Their potential for advancement may be with their current employer or with a new employer.

Employees wait for their employer to invest in them. They don’t put in time or money on their professional growth. Unfortunately, most employers will only train employees to perform the specific job duties at their respective companies. This investment does little, if anything at all, for promotional opportunities within the company or elsewhere.

In those companies that do provide professional and personal development, again, the difference between employees and professionals is clearly visible. When modules, programs and/or books are used for staff development, professionals are excited participants. They voluntarily share what they are learning, how they are applying the knowledge, and how it is benefitting them and those they serve. Employees take the opportunities and treat them as classroom assignments in school. They’re excited when they have completed the work. Their discussion is limited to answering questions when asked.

If you want to go further in life; if you want to continue moving closer to your potential, you must make the mind shift from being an employee to becoming a professional. Plan for your growth. More importantly, act on your plan. Your personal and professional growth will not happen by accident. Your growth must be intentional.

If you don’t have a plan, you will fall into someone else’s plan. Guess what they have planned for you? Not much. Most employers hire you and have a plan for you to do exactly what they need. Most employers are not planning for your future growth. They are not planning for your next promotion. They are not planning for you to one day start your own business. Very few business owners even have a succession plan for themselves. You are naïve if you think they have a plan for you.

I encourage you to start planning your own growth today. It’s never too late to start. It is too late to wait. Keep in mind, you deserve more. You can become more. You can do more. Take control of your future. Decide today to become a professional.

Spend more time on developing you than you do on your job. Your transformation will be inspirational! You will become a role model for others. Lead the way, starting today!

As the comedian/actor Steve Martin said, “Be so good, they can’t ignore you.” This is great advice for everyone on their career path.

Remember, there is greatness within you. You must choose greatness. It won’t develop on its own. I believe in you!

“No one limits your growth but you. If you want to earn more, learn more.”

Take Action Today!

If you would like assistance with developing your professionalism, I can help you. We can meet by phone, on Zoom, or at a mutually convenient location. Whether you choose me or someone else, a coach will expedite your results.

If you found value in this article, please like and share. You never know who else in your network may find it valuable. Thank you!

I appreciate you. I know your time is limited and I hope you receive value in reading my posts. 

I also invite you to connect with me. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, by email at  [email protected]  or through my website at Thank you!  

I always look forward to your thoughts and replies.

Published by Bryan M. Balch, Results Coach

Helping Individuals and Businesses Achieve Desired Results

#professionalism #careerdevelopment #growth #mindset #leadership