Taking Back Work #2: Personal Accountability


Last week, I took on the challenge of defining the things that we, as individuals, need to do to take back work and put it on our terms for the future.  Friday, I wrote about the importance of developing self-awareness.  Today, it’s personal accountability.

In terms of the struggle to take back work and restore the employee psyche, personal accountability is developing the mindset that our experience with work is 100% within our own control.

We choose our profession.

We choose our work.

We choose who we work for.

We choose how much we are willing to accept for our work.

We choose the amount of investment we are going to make in our own development for the future.

We choose how much abuse we will take.

We choose how much BS we will put up with.

We choose when it’s time to move on.

Too many of us have given over these choices to someone else.  In order to fully put work back on our terms, we have to be willing to be fully and totally accountable for our own experiences with work.  If our job sucks, it’s on us squarely.  It’s no one else’s fault but our own.  The question then becomes, what are you going to do about it?

Will you take the risk to talk to your boss about how to make your job more fulfilling?

Will you go back to school to finish your degree?

Will you raise your hand for a big project that has a lot of upside but also a ton of risk?

Will you take a step back in your income because it moves your a big step towards work you are passionate about?

Will you do the work to find a new job even though there’s no guarantee that it will be perfect?

The first step in being accountable to your career is fully accepting the responsibility and consequences related to your career choices.  The second step is take bold and definitive action to ensure that those consequences are ones that you will be happy with.  Accepting responsibility without taking action as a result is worthless.

Here’s the upside to all of this.  While it may sting at times to fully embrace that fact that it’s your fault that you have a crappy boss in a dysfunctional company.  On the flip side, it is also your fault when you end up with a great, fulfilling job at a terrific company.  The freedom that comes with knowing that you have the power to resolve and take action in any situation is empowering and it will help set your free.

Tomorrow, I’ll write about the importance of developing exceptional skills and abilities in taking back work.



  1. So true! By choosing not to make a decision, you are in fact making a default decision. Better to be intentional!

  2. Strong medicine. Good medicine. Thanks for putting this out there Jason.

    You’ve captured what it means to “own” your career as opposed to being merely a “renter”.

    Work is going to be about an owners mentality going forward…or at least I think so.

    Really liked this summary line from above: “Accepting responsibility without taking action as a result is worthless.”

    Keep creating…daily awesomeness in 2012,

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