The Nine to Five Mentality

As rising overhead costs squeeze corporate profits many corporations are expecting their employees to do more with less. Although this is a trend in today’s working world, the truth of the matter is that companies have long valued employees whose mindset expands beyond the confines of the nine to five hour workday.

In order to succeed in corporate culture, a professional needs to display dedication and commitment to its company while at the same time much of a company’s success depends upon the quality of its employees and how committed they are to overall goal. The relationship here is symbiotic and one won’t succeed without the other; at least not for the long-term.

The nine to five mentality goes well beyond the hours that you work. It is part of your professional demeanor and it is reflected in your posture towards your job. It is easy to detect as I see it every day across my own company.

And here’s what it looks like…

It is those individuals in the elevator each morning who don’t remove their headphones and can’t be bothered to engage. Instead they stay plugged in to whatever distraction that has kept them occupied during their morning commute. It is those colleagues who arrive at the office either punctually at 9am or later AND THEN go to the cafeteria to get their breakfast. It is also those colleagues whom you see in the lavatory putting on their make-up every single day and not just once in a while because they accidentally overslept. This is a “punch the clock” mentality that displays an unwillingness to give up a second of your own time for the company. It also comes across in your attitude which is then reflected in your work and limits your potential for promotion.

In today’s corporate climate, it isn’t enough to merely punch the clock and do your job, mindlessly. Companies expect that you bring your entire self to your role and present ideas that show that you are alive and thinking and are not just a robot or cog. Those professionals who display a vested interest in their company receive greater rewards and recognition. Companies seek to promote those individuals who exhibit a broader outlook while those who have a nine to five mentality struggle with advancement.

Another aspect of the nine to five mentality is utter disinterest in the industry in which you work. Learning is crucial to success and having an intellectual curiosity about what you do is just part of the passion that it takes to succeed.  Furthermore, there is correlation between a lack of interest and job dissatisfaction. Employees that operate with a broader mindset not only achieve greater success, but they also have greater career satisfaction. We each long to feel that our work product contributes to the greater purpose of broader goal.

But how does one do that?

I am often asked by young professionals what more they can do to make an impact. I always advise to operate in a way that is solutions oriented. My motto is “If you’re not part of the solution then you’re part of the problem.” These are words that I have come to live by not only in my career but in my personal life as well.  While I refer to the nine to five mentality having an impact on your career, that same limiting outlook maybe holding you back in other aspects of your life as well.