Regardless of where you are or how you got there or how you do your job, arguably the most important thing you can do for yourself in the modern workplace is add value; to drive creativity within your own life.
Every day you work to add value to your industry, your employer, your accomplishments, and your life and to find creative ways of delivering that value to others. No matter the receiver of that value, be it your team, customers, students, or an organization as a whole, the first step to succeeding in their eyes is to deliver a better value for their needs.
A primary resource for the creative employee is to watch the actions of others, listen to their ideas and histories, and merge your ideas with the best of theirs to maximize your output. Using the Internet, you can study the lives and actions of people all over the world and in a seemingly infinite universe of varying occupations, lifestyles, and worldviews. Combining ideas that are already out there in the world in new ways can lead to novel products and services that generate real value for people.
The key to creating value out of the copious resources already around us is to genuinely care about what you do and how it helps other people. Compete with the world in a way that requires you to deliver as much additional value as you can, every day. Apply the ways in which you care for your closest friends and family members to your everyday work. Observe the way people are cared for in places that you love to frequent and use those practices in how you approach others. Forget your title, your education, your employer, and your salary and focus on caring more about the details of your job and everything you do there in order to do it as well as you can.
Find a purpose within your professional life. Your job is merely a set of tasks used to fulfill a larger purpose, but every action within the grand scheme generates positive and negative consequences for the larger organizational apparatus. In order to passionately care for what you do you must know why you do it and believe in that purpose. Caring about what you do and who you do it for reflects through the value of your work when you do the best you can every day.
Part of recognizing the larger purpose of your work is to realize that no one works in isolation. Both directly and indirectly, the work of others’ is interwoven into your own efforts. You are part of a larger community, be it your organization, a professional, private, or public community, or the global marketplace and the only real value from your work comes from the benefits it effects upon other people within the larger picture. This value gives the hard work you dedicate to the details of your job the real meaning about which you can truly care or love.