Every industry attracts a particular type of individual, and every job description calls for a specific set of skills. But some habits help to distinguish those who succeed from those who languish in their careers, regardless of the industry.

What hiring managers and educators know is that habit becomes your character. What you do repetitiously over time becomes who you are and shapes your reputation. The routines that you implement are the ones that you will gravitate towards when you aren’t sure what to do or lack a specific motivation.

So, it’s important that you pay special attention to your work habits and ethics as you enter the workforce. Getting up early and going to bed on time may seem like a waste when you are still unemployed, but showing up late during the first weeks of your new job can be a career killer. The transition from unemployed to responsible salaried employees can be swift and disconcerting for many reasons. By creating and maintaining habits for success before you’re hired, you can help ease some of the tension and prove to your higher-ups that you truly are a star.

The first and most obvious habit is punctuality. It seems like it should go without saying that you need to show up at work, on time, rested and ready to work. But, it is also the most common infraction of office policy. It seems that there are a great number of people who don’t think it matters if you arrive five or ten minutes late, as long as you turn up with a good attitude. And while a good attitude is necessary, it doesn’t excuse tardiness.

The fact is that showing up at your office a few minutes late, or even just as the clock strikes nine, shows a lack of respect for time; both yours and your employer’s. Time is the one asset that we cannot conserve or replenish. Show your employers that you recognize that time and time management are key elements of success by showing up early, every day, ready to work.

The second element I am going to mention is also a common sense answer, but one that is often overlooked. Respect.

It’s easy to say that every person is deserving of respect, but office politics can put that theory to the test. Difficult or pushy managers, gossiping co-workers, or irate clients can test your mettle. It’s important to remember in these situations what respect looks like in action. It doesn’t mean agreeing or being a doormat. It does mean listening carefully when others speak without interrupting them and then responding in a way that you would want others to respond to you. Its easier said than done, but that’s why it’s a habit. It must become a skill that you fall back to by default.

The next habit is to take the initiative. Too many people sit back and wait for somebody else to tell them what they should do or what they could accomplish. Successful employees are always looking for ways to benefit the organization or the product. They aren’t just passionate; they are self-motivated. They explore new ideas, learn new things, and happily apply what they learned to their work and lives. Such people don’t need much supervision at work and often accomplish more than others because they don’t waste time trying to avoid unpleasant tasks.

While all of these things seem like character traits, in reality, they are habits. And like any habit, they can be formed and broken with a little willpower and a proper understanding of how to form habits. If you master these three habits, they will become part of your character and will help you to distinguish yourself from the crowd.


Written by Jameka Neil