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In this classic Seinfeld scene, Jerry tries to pick up his rental car only to be told that they’ve run out of cars. When he’s finally able to rent a car (though not the one he wanted), the lady behind the desk asks, “Would you like insurance?” to which Jerry replies, “Yeah, you better give me the insurance because I’m going to beat the heck out of this thing.”
That’s the difference between ownership and non-ownership. When you don’t own, you don’t care quite as much; if the car gets scratched you think, “Well…at least it’s not mine.” If you own a vehicle, you’re more likely to notice the dings and scratches; you’re likely to perhaps park the car in a nice wide space so that it doesn’t get easily dented, etc. With ownership you’re more conscientious and have a little bit more pride in that which you own.
This principle of ownership should be applied to your professional career. Even if you don’t technically “own” the company you work for, having a sense of ownership over your role and responsibilities makes all the difference. When you have that sense of ownership, you don’t have to wait to be told what or how to do something; you take initiative and try to come up with your own solutions. You WANT to be successful in your position, and for the company to be successful because you own it, it’s a part of you.
When you own your job, you don’t just clock in and clock out, waiting for the next paycheck to arrive. You think, “How can I make a difference?” “How can I add value?” “How can I make this the best it can possibly be?” Because when you own something, it’s YOUR baby, it’s got YOUR name on it; you take pride in what you do. Check out this article for more on taking ownership at work.