How Much Do You Care About Your Work?

I’m still on the road. Last night I checked into a Hampton Inn in Matteson IL. When I got to my room I noticed that the housekeeper had arranged a hand towel and wash cloth in the bathroom to look like a shirt and tie. That made me smile. And at that point I could use a smile. I had just driven three hours from Madison WI through some rather difficult traffic.

I really appreciated the housekeeper taking a little extra time to make an anonymous hotel room just a little bit nicer. She obviously cares about what she does. This reminded me of one of the career advice tweets in Success Tweets, one of my career success books.

Tweet 100 says, “Care about what you do. If you care a little, you’ll be an OK performer. If you care a lot, you’ll become an outstanding performer.” The housekeeper at the Hampton Inn in Matteson is an outstanding performer in my book. She took a little extra time to do something that brought a smile to my face – and probably to other guests who check into rooms she has serviced. She cares.

When you care you do your very best. A couple years ago we marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of one of my favorite books: To Kill a Mockingbird. There is a passage in that book that has always stuck with me. It’s in Chapter 11 and is spoken by Atticus Finch, the father, played by Gregory Peck in the film. He’s speaking to Scout, his daughter…

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

It takes courage to care. Because when you care, you put yourself out there. You do your best. And doing your best can be a scary thing. When you care, when you consciously do your best and fail, it is heartbreaking. But at least you have the satisfaction of knowing you did your best.

I remember when I applied to graduate school at Harvard. I decided that I was going to demonstrate to myself how much I cared by writing the very best application I could. I wasn’t going to let myself off the hook if I didn’t get accepted by saying, “I could have written a better application, but I just didn’t spend the time I should have.”

When I put my application in the mailbox – we still did quaint things like that back in the old days – I was proud of what I had written. I knew it was the very best I could do. I was also frightened because I knew that my best might not be good enough. After all, both of my other degrees were from state schools. Who was I to think that those kind of credentials would get me accepted at Harvard?

I cared about the quality of my application, so I did the very best I could. The story in this case has a happy ending. I was accepted and got my degree. Even if I had not been accepted, I would have been proud of myself because I cared enough to write the best application I could, and I dared enough to admit it to myself.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple. Successful people are proud of what they do. They care. They follow the career advice in Tweet 100 in Success Tweets.  “Care about what you do. If you care a little, you’ll be an OK performer. If you care a lot, you’ll become an outstanding performer.” Does your work show that you care? Or does it reflect an “it’s good enough” attitude? Take it from a career success coach, if you want to create the life and career success of which you are capable, make sure that how much you care shows through in every single piece of work you do.

That’s my career advice for today prompted by a housekeeper at the Hampton Inn in Matteson IL. By the way, I left a bigger tip than I usually do because of the shirt and tie arrangement. What do you think? Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment. As always, thanks for taking the time to read my daily musings on life and career success. I value you and I appreciate you. If you want to learn more about how to climb the corporate ladder faster check out the free rebroadcast of a webinar I did recently. You can find it at





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