(Guest Post by Dr. Dean Burke)
What would your co-workers say if they were being honest about you at work?
- “She’s great!”
- “I love how he always pitches in!”
- “She’s a whiz with those complicated formulas-but doesn’t brag about it!”
- “Did you see how she calmed that a-hole down that was complaining? She had him eating out of her hand!”
- “Have you ever seen him frown or lose his temper?”
- “Why is he so happy?”
- “What’s SHE smokin’, I want som’a that!”
Or do you think it might be more like:
- “What a bastard/bitch!”
- “Don’t get in her way at 5:00, you’ll have Louboutin prints on your back.”
- “Has she ever volunteered to work extra on a project?”
- “Why hasn’t the Enquirer hired him yet? He knows more gossip than Kristin on “E!”"
- “The only time she smiles is when she’s blowin’ smoke up the boss’s…..”
My longtime employees told me years ago how afraid of me they were when they first started… And I’m a puppy dog. But because I’m a quite introverted and serious puppy dog, who frowned too much, they thought I was an ass.
What does it matter what your co-workers think? What your boss or your team thinks? Well, it matters only to your financial future and your work place happiness. How will you climb the ladder or become more successful in this economic environment without being a star? You have to be someone who makes the whole team better. Someone, as the saying goes, who is better than the sum of his parts…
The Dead End: You Or The Job
I have had the pleasure of hiring and working with lots’a folks over my 30 years owning a business, and have been on the boards of companies/organizations with hundreds of employees. And yet it still amazes me how many people think they’re under-appreciated and under-paid.
We have met the enemy, though, and we are it! We have the unlimited capacity to be self-delusional. You know who YOU would rather work with, but does anyone ever think that you’re THAT person???
Those that get ahead the quickest have a few basic skills in common. The old saying – common sense isn’t very common – has been repeated trillions of times ’cause it’s true!
Ten Tips To Success
What are a few basic tips for you to take to work tomorrow that will make you a better employee?
- Show up with a smile! Show up with a smile! Show up with a smile! A sense of (appropriate) humor will get you a corner office or promotion quicker than a snark or cynic.
- Don’t be the first out the door! No, I’m not just sayin you have to be a workaholic with no family life. But don’t let your mind/focus beat you home.
- Don’t bring your problems to work-and if you do- remember number 1! Fake it with a smile the first hour and you’ll get your mind where it ought to be.
- Compliment the folks one step below you, your equals, and those one step above you-any time it’s appropriate. Practice it on little things until it becomes automatic. If you get razzed about it, that probably means you are not doing it right. Learn your coworkers hobbies, their family issues and what makes them tick.
- Never criticize those same people unless it’s in private, and done in a “What do you think you might have done differently?” method rather than, “What the hell were you thinking, dumbass?” method.
- Never be satisfied with your knowledge of a subject. Those who don’t continue to learn are going backwards. If you aren’t reading journals in your field, going to conferences- even on your own dime- you’ll soon be the old guy in the same job you have now. Or out on the street…
- Learn about areas outside your focus. If you’re a new grad, don’t just work on your own project, see how your manager deals with staff, clients, and bosses. See what works and what doesn’t. Use those skills with your co-workers. If you’re an engineer, see how the sales department closes the deal. Use that knowledge to ask for a raise or get that special project you’ve been eying.
- Always review your email before you hit send: Forwards and replies are like snakes in the grass waiting to strike! A respected mentor of mine still gets red in the face remembering one such mistake. Never send an email when you are angry or upset. If you have something controversial to discuss, Pick Up The PHONE, dammit! E-mails are forever! People have trouble understanding moods when reading-they may miss your sarcasm and get the wrong message. (EDITOR’S NOTE: If you use Gmail, click under “labs” and add “Undo Send” to your account. It saves me every single day!)
- Be on time (That’s French for early) and ready to work.
- Deliver before deadlines and without reminders.
Think about your own career
- Are you on the fast track, or the bridge to nowhere?
- Are you the “go-to” guy, or the “I hide when I see him coming” guy?
- Are you the one people come to for advice, or just to share an inappropriate joke or comment?
Seeing the real you in the mirror-can be painful. Realistic self-evaluation, even when it hurts, can help break bonds holding you down. If you have a trusted friend at work, do a little constructive criticism of each other. Without change, that glass ceiling you imagine might really be made of 20 feet of concrete, and titanium re-bar, speckled with kryptonite…
Don’t wait on that bunker busting bomb to free you! Free yourself!
Just as a professional golfer goes through the difficult process of breaking down his swing, and developing new muscle memory to improve his score, you must do the same at work.
Now, go break par, and don’t forget to enjoy the round!
Dr. Dean Burke blogs at The Millionaire Nurse where he teaches the basics of personal finance using humor and his medical background for a unique twist. His blog has been mentioned from the LA Times to CNN/Money.
(Photo by DaedaLusT)