Most of you who are reading this blog are in a “career” job or perhaps you are in a transitional job (e.g. a semi-temporary job while taking classes), but what does a career really mean? The Oxford Dictionary defines a career as “an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.” Given that you have chosen your current career-worthy job, what about that position is more than what is described in your job description?

Early in my career, I worked for an ecommerce organization managing the data processing aspects of the company. One week, another department was overwhelmed with requests that required a large amount of calls to be made in a short amount of time. Myself along with other managers and employees jumped right in and starting making the calls (in between our regular duties). We chose to help out that department because it was what the company needed to succeed.

Being a leader in an organization is not about what is written in a job description or the expectations of your position, but rather recognizing the bigger reason for your own position and the organization. Everything you do at work should be focused on pushing the company towards the mission and vision of your organization. That means taking ownership for your part and stepping in wherever and whenever necessary.

Ownership in this use means that you possess the responsibility for your success within your organization. Often your success depends on the success of the company. If you are ever confused about what defines success in an organization, take a look at the mission statement and ask how your position pushes the organization towards that success. Sometimes that means stepping outside of your job description, those “essential functions,” and taking on additional tasks and roles. In addition to helping the company out, personally taking a look beyond your job description can ensure you learn new skills and can help you stand out for future promotions.

HRCentral’s mission statement is simple (Creating Productive, Professional & Peaceful Workplaces). A monumental task for sure, but every day and every service we provide (including this blog post) is designed to further that goal.

What have you done to look beyond your job description?