I’m blogging every day this week in a special series titled, “Your Best Job Now.”
Today’s topic: Strategies for success at your current job.
You might have been hired yesterday. You might have been hired 10 years ago. In a downed economy, your performance is more crucial than ever.
At the same time, your job isn’t meant to be a pressure cooker either—at least not endlessly. It’s where you’ll spend an important third of your life. You want to not just survive at work, but thrive.
How can you do both? How can you demonstrate to your boss that you’re a valuable commodity, without getting an ulcer or tearing your hair out?
Here are 10 strategies to survive and thrive:
- Study your job description. Make sure you know what you signed on to do and not do. Don’t be afraid to clarify your boundaries. If babysitting your boss’s pet St. Bernard seems suspect to you, don’t be afraid to ask your supervisor if that’s what’s actually expected.
- Expand your skill set. New innovations are coming down the pike at the speed of a mouse click. Everyone constantly needs to rethink how we do things and why. Attend seminars. Read books. Study your craft. Get the degrees and certifications to stay current.
- Be humble. Cockiness is seldom appreciated at a workplace,. Keep quiet, learn the way things are done, and choose your personal crusades very carefully. Don’t expect stardom overnight. And never criticize your company, fellow employees, your boss—at least out loud.
- Own up to mistakes. Everybody makes them. It’s okay to do so, but take responsibility for it when it happens. Treat mistakes as opportunities to get wiser.
- Take time off. Plan for a sustainable pace, particularly if your job is in an industry you’re interested in long-term. How can you be doing this job (or be in this industry) a year from now, or ten years from now? Don’t be afraid to really enjoy your weekends. You cannot afford to not take a day off.
- Commit to time on. At the same time, don’t be afraid to burn the midnight oil, particularly in your early years.
- Respect everyone. Be polite and professional to everybody—even if he or she is the low dog. This means junior associates, porters, doormen, secretaries, assistants, valet parkers, and busboys. Not only is it the cool thing to do, but in many industries, job turnover is high and people get promoted quickly. If you’re nice to a junior associate, he may well be a senior associate soon. Things will go better for you if you were respectful of him when he was the low dog.
- Dress the part. If your company’s look is corporate casual, don’t show up in either blue jeans or a suit. Fit into the culture of your workplace.
- Don’t surf the net on company time. Yep.
- Never embarrass your boss. Enough said.
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Read the rest of this series:
Five Ways toTell if Your Job is a Good Fit
Part 3: Three Surprising Realities of Where You Work
Part 5: Know the Crow Code
Question: What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve ever learned about surviving and thriving at work?