Are you struggling at your current job? Do you feel like your effort isn’t getting you to go far enough? Are you afraid that you’ve hit a brick wall or a dead end? Well fear no more! I have the solution you looking for, because I’ve been right where you are. Trust me, it sucks as much as you think it does.
One thing that I can assure you though; by the time you finish this article, you’ll have a renewed faith in yourself. I don’t claim to have all the answers. In fact, I’m sure there is a thing or two that you could show me. There is always something new to learn.
What’s great about the working industry and the people in it, is that it’s always evolving. I do know that what I’ve found that has worked for me over the years, will most definitely get you a kick start with your job to drive it into a thriving career. What will determine how far you can take it, is if you’re willing to make the change and effort in the right direction.
In the beginning with my first job, I was like a scared little child, and the work industry was a fresh year of new classes at school. I was trying to listen to the teachers, do the daily assignments I was tasked with, and trying to gain experience to use for myself. In other words, my boss would tell me my daily responsibilities and duties and I would do them to earn some cash. Hey, I’m just learning my way, and I got money burning a hole in my pocket! Fast forward to now, after a lot of ups and downs, relocations, family changes, and job hopping to be a better provider… I feel like a college student being presented with my degree and an academic award. Now I want to go out in the world and make myself known by sharing my recipe for success with you!
Okay, so maybe not the perfect analogy, but I’m sure you get the gist of it. I really do believe that this could be profoundly life changing for your career. At the very least, maybe it’ll help you to be better at what you were already on the path of. If I can at least be that positive reinforcement for you, then mission accomplished! So, sit down, strap in, and hold onto your hats! Here are my top 10 ways to succeed at your job!
1. Learn everything you can about your position. I know it may be a statement of the obvious, but truth be told, most people in their respective work fields just do the bare minimum. They have their list of job duties, and that’s what they stick to. Why? It is a lot more fun to be challenged, to be engaged. Our learning shouldn’t stop at high school or college. If you feel that there is more to what you are doing, go to your boss and ask what else there is to learn with your role in the company. Maybe they offer extensive training for those willing to go the extra step. It could possibly lead to a better position. If nothing else, it will keep you a lot busier and you won’t be staring at that backwards moving clock on the wall.
2. Be the best you that you can be at what you do. Well yeah, that may sound a bit like a motivational slogan, but it is the single most important thing that you have control of. YOU! If you are only mediocre at what you do, do you honestly think it will get you a promotion or a pay raise? If you are bad at what you do, can you really be so surprised or upset when you no longer have a job? Not to mention, you’ll only have yourself to blame. Being the best at what you do isn’t the easiest step here, but it is the most critical step. You have this one thing that you have full control of, and I’m willing to bet that you don’t want to be overlooked, underpaid, or unemployed. So, do everything you can to be the best at your job, in your field, at your company. Even if it seems pointless and monotonous, I assure you, it will get you noticed. And it doesn’t matter if you are just starting out flipping burgers, a machine operator, or in management. Flip those burgers like it’s the best thing in life, run that machine like there’s no tomorrow, and lead that business like you’re top of the fortune 500 class!
3. Be Dependable, not expendable. Sometimes, there will be situations where a company is downsizing, merging, or going out of business. You know what they say; “it” happens. You don’t really have control of the choices made by your company, but you can have control of a decision about you and your career. That is where it’ll pay off by being the best you. You can be very influential in your dependability within your company’s structure, and the best version you present is going to get you further along. Not to mention, a bright star is more noticeable before the Milky Way in the night sky, so no matter how dark things may seem, always shine. Being dependable at your job and working hard can keep you from being expendable and at the bottom of the totem pole.
4. Gain experience by going above and beyond. Now this is kind of an elaboration on number 1, but well worth it. So, if you’ve learned all that is offered in your current position, why stop there? Put yourself out there if extra work is available that you can assist with, or an opportunity to cross train in a different department. Not only will you have another position to add to your experience list, but it allows you to also have options at your company with your gain in versatility. Plus, this is another thing that will help you to be more dependable and the best you. This will turn you into a 1st round pick in the draft when a promotion opportunity becomes available.
5. Know your strengths to defeat your weaknesses. Listen; nobody is perfect. Do you think you are perfect in every aspect and the best at everything you do? Please, allow me to be the first one to knock you off your high horse. You’re welcome; it’s the least I can do for everyone around you. So, don’t sulk that you aren’t a shining ray of perfection. Just know what your strengths are and perfect those. Once you hone your strengths to work for you like a well-oiled machine, only then can you defeat your weaknesses. Not defeat like in the sense of an enemy but defeat by working towards adding them to your list of strengths. What’s the best way to do that? Practice, repetition, and patience with yourself. Sometimes you have to tell yourself to shut up, because sometimes, you can be your own worst enemy.
6. Don’t be a yes man! I’m sure some of you have seen those little figurines you stick on your car dashboard that shakes its head around as your driving down the road, right? Okay, well don’t be that guy (or gal) at work! Seriously! There is nothing wrong with having an opinion that differs from others at work, even if it is your boss. That doesn’t mean that everything needs to be an argument though, as that can go south quick. Being the bobble head at work may look good to some supervisors or managers, but not to the good ones. It doesn’t bode well for you or your company when everyone just bobbles their heads. The managers need good, corrective feedback. The company needs to know the plusses and minuses. Someone needs to know if there is a problem or a solution. You need to show honest and independent thinking, no matter what you do.
7. Be a team player, but still thrive at independence. Versatility will get you going the distance; this I know. When you can work well with others and work efficiently solo, it shows your abilities as a team player. Working with a team can have a long list of pros and cons just as much so as working on your own. There is no easy way to scale and compare in detail, as there are too many variables that change depending on you work field, position, company size, machinery, product, etc. The only thing you need to take away from this is that you need to ensure that you have this ability to switch between solo projects and team projects with the flip of a switch. There is no reason to over-complicate things; this just goes back to knowing your strengths and weaknesses and being the best you. Not to mention, showing your adaptable and a team player, also shows you have the potential to be a leader.
8. Believe in yourself, have confidence, and spread confidence. I’m sure you know at some point I had to throw a phrase in here that sounded like one of those inspirational posters in work offices around the globe. Maybe a picture of a little tree sprout trying to grow underneath the canopy of a huge grandfather oak to bring out the emotions? No? Well one thing that I see defeat a lot of people (including myself a time or two), is a lack of confidence. You can work at everything else I’ve placed before you here and then some, but when you show little to no confidence, or something causes you to lose that confidence, hello brick wall. We all have problems (again, you are NOT perfect), whether in our personal lives or professional. The struggle is real. The trick is to not feed the struggle, but to feed the triumphs. When you focus on things negative, you attract all things negative and it shows on you like bright red check mark. Likewise, for the other ends of the spectrum; when you focus on the positive, you attract positivism, and this will help you to boost and reinforce that confidence. When you have that confidence, you also need to share that confidence with those around you.
9. Be kind to others; always! That confidence that you share is a great kindness to you and to others. Sometimes I still get to feeling down at work; stuck in a rut. Something I do to lift myself up, is to lift others up around me. If you pass a coworker in the hall, is it so much harder to say “hi, how are you today?” over just “hey”? Or if you see someone doing a good job, isn’t it better to tell them they are doing a good job versus just walking by without a word? I think it would do wonders everywhere if we did our best to be decent human beings to each other. Who wants to work with or for a bunch of jerks? Give out compliments at work, and it will most certainly compliment your character. This is something else that shines like a beacon to a company with good management. I’m hoping you’ll do it not for the status gain though, but because it’s the right thing to do.
10. Always look ahead and behind. Now obviously, you can’t look in two opposite directions at the same time, unless you’re my mother (I swear she had eyes hidden under her hair on all sides of her head!). What I mean by this is that, to have a better view of your future ahead, keep an eye on the rear-view mirror of your past. Again, none of us our perfect, we all make mistakes along the road. If we don’t learn from those mistakes, we are going to make them again eventually. This is where it pays to focus on the future ahead of us, by not forgetting we have a past staring at our reflection in the rear-view mirror. As long as you keep a mindful watch on the road before you as well as behind, you’ll always have a good outcome at the end of the trip.
That’s it; really! Now I know it seems like it should be super easy to do. Some of these things you can correct rather quickly, while others may be a work in progress for some time. Like I said in the beginning, it’s all dependent on how much effort you’re willing to put into yourself for yourself. Isn’t that an excellent investment to make though? I mean, I think of myself in comparison to the value of Microsoft or Apple, so I’m worth a lot to me. So, what is the value of your worth to you? Can you make a change small or big enough in your work life to excel yourself to the status of giants? Then your work life will be a fulfilled life, and you’ll enjoy what you do a lot more, both in and outside of work.
On a side note, one thing I would like to mention as a bonus is absolute equality. I bring this up in reference to the kindness of others. I am not better than you, and you are not better than me. We are all different. If you work with me, I can promise you I will never look down on you. I would never treat you poorly because of a difference in education or experience. I would never withhold information from you that would benefit you as a coworker. Most importantly, I would never treat you like I am better than you. This is something that has helped me to excel more than some of these other tips.
So, whether you are working at a fast food joint, operating a machine in the manufacturing field, constructing a building, or managing a business; it doesn’t matter where you are or what you do! You can benefit yourself in any field, if you become the best you, believe in yourself, be kind to others, and work hard. All it takes is a little effort, and a lot of courage to know you can do it. I know you can do it; you got this!