by Peter Luscombe

to habituate - become customary to, dependent upon, 
work within the known and familiar, take for granted

Recently, I stumbled across this advice given by The American Foundation for the Blind:

What the Employer Really Wants

There are some work habits that all employers hope their new hires will have. Consider how you match up to the attributes of the “perfect worker.”

  • Punctuality – being on time every day
  • Attendance – being at work unless you are truly ill or there is an emergency
  • Productivity – working to assure both quality and quantity measures are met
  • Initiative – starting work without being told to do so
  • Cooperation – getting along with people…boss, co-workers, customers
  • Attention to Details – following rules or directions
  • Accuracy – not making mistakes
  • Adaptability – can do more than one job task
  • Diligence – improving job performance routinely
  • Appearance – always presents in appropriate clothing and accessories
  • Open-mindedness – accepts constructive criticism
  • Honesty and Trustworthiness – doesn’t cheat, steal, or lie

Consider how many of the work habits listed above you demonstrate in your current work, school, or home situation. Are there habits you need to improve—what are they? How can you improve in these areas?

Reading such stopped me in my tracks. If this was advice given to the blind and visually impaired, then it’s a given for us all, yes?

Much is said nowadays about employer expectations. Carole Brown in her book – The Essential Career Guide – says that the:

Top ten skills and attributes employers look for

If you do a quick scan of job ads, employer surveys or even a general web search on this topic, it quickly becomes obvious what skills and attributes employers generally consider the most important:

  1. Communication – written and verbal
  2. Initiative, self-motivation and positive attitude
  3. Innovation and creativity
  4. Self-awareness and confidence
  5. Research and analysis
  6. Teamwork and leadership
  7. Time management
  8. Adaptability to changing situations and environments
  9. Commercial awareness
  10. IT know-how

If employers want all these skills and attributes to attain a job, then also consider that the same would be said to retain your job and especially to progress at work.

The belief that you can have a meaningful career is the first step to finding one.

Sean Aiken, Author and Creator of the ‘One Week Job Project’

Frame of mind

To whatever degree, for some significantly, your frame of mind is determined by the organizational culture of the workplace. So, what is organizational culture? Basically, these are the beliefs and behaviours that determine how an organization’s workers and management interact and handle outside ‘business’ transactions. Often it’s the case that the organizational culture is implied, not expressly defined. Such is shown in:

  • the ways the organization conducts its business, treats its workers, ‘customers,’ and the wider community
  • the extent to which freedom is allowed in decision making, developing new ideas, and personal expression
  • how power and information flow through its hierarchy
  • how committed workers are towards collective objectives

Positioned within this frame of reference, then your frame of mind manifests, yes? Simply stated: You feel like turning up for work or less so – You feel you’re making progress or less so – You feel you have a ‘fit’ in the workplace or less so. Habitual behaviour develops; possibly over time unexamined. You’ve found your niche or ‘fit, and, that’s enough in a moment. Well that might be the case for a while, however circumstances change; especially so in the workplace.

Resting on your laurels, so to speak, may be fine for a time, however, is not a good work habit in the long run. You may not be the ‘perfect worker,’ however, you can be a hard worker. You can be a hard worker with a bit of edge. You can even enterprise if every so often you look at your work habits.

Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good work habits

Twyla Tharp – American dancer – choreographer – author

Despite the influence of organizational culture, job satisfaction also rests on your shoulders.

The biggest mistake that you can make is to believe that you are working for somebody else…The driving force of a career must come from the individual. Remember: Jobs are owned by the company, you own your career!

Earl Nightingale – Motivational Speaker – who spoke mostly on the subjects of human character development, motivation, excellence and meaningful existence


Habits do habituate. There’s no dispute about that. Spend time to think about your work habits. Use insights to innovate, communicate competently and claim responsibility for your job satisfaction. Such will be covered in this series – Work Habits.

A final word from Frank Sinatra:

Throughout my career, if I have done anything, I have paid attention to every note and every word I sing…If I cannot project this to a listener, I fail.  

The Work Habits series is published each Sunday.