Monday, March 15, 2010

Breathe Life Into Your Career

This is motivational Monday, so this post is intended to inspire and motivate by presenting you with tips on how to keep your job. It may be hard to get a good job and get your career going but it is very easy to lose a job by committing career suicide. What is career suicide? It is the act of poisoning your work relationships among your supervisor, big boss, and/or colleagues that is beyond repair. Sometimes people mistakenly do things like reply to an email with a misunderstood response or refuse workload because they’re already bogged down with a lot of work or express their opinions when not asked. Then there are others who intentionally do things like piss of their boss, show up to work late often, take extra long lunches, wear inappropriate outfits, take too long to complete tasks and assignments, etc.; the list could go on but the point is find ways to avoid killing your career before it even starts; and for those set in your job, you can still benefit from these tips.

1.) Speaking of starting off, when you start a new job, usually you are asked to review the employee handbook and learn more about company policies such as attire, computer & email use, lateness, work ethics, division of power and authority, conducts, vacation and sick days, etc. There are some places that will either quiz you within a few days or weeks, there are some that will quiz you randomly and others assume you just know. This book is your bible, please review this book immediately and learn how you can do your job better and align with the mission of the company. If your place of employment does not have an employee handbook, ask the hiring manager everything you need to know about:
  • Dress Code
  • Computer Use Policy (You don’t want to get caught on Facebook)
  • Use of email, phone, fax, Internet (Don’t get caught on Facebook, reading personal emails, or on personal calls
  • Compensation
  • Benefits
  • Organizational Culture (The way the office operates to ensure productivity and efficiency aka the office politics)
  • Safety and Security

The reason for studying the employee handbook or asking for this information is to better prepare yourself when you run into a problem and you need to know how (by office law) things are dealt with. Plus, you always want to show how engaged you are with the company and understand how it works.

2.) Now you have read your employee handbook, what’s next? Get to know the people you always need in your corner. In case anything goes wrong and you need someone to vouch for your good work and help keep your job. Don’t piss off the gatekeeper because they hold the keys to the many doors that could be opened for you if you play your cards right.

You are thinking why should you have to stroke someone else's ego even if you don’t like them. Have you noticed the people liked the least are the ones that have the most influence? You are thinking why waste your time on these people but it’s not about wasting time, it’s about keeping your job and enlisting the help of those who can help you keep it. You don’t ever outgrow these people as you move up in the ranks, you just play by their rules but keep your own needs in mind. Unfortunately every work place has those people and those rules.

Your skills, talents and your best experiences will take you far but you have to understand office politics play a big role in your work performance as well so pay close attention.

3.) Though you need to really know the gatekeeper, get to know about all the people at your job and their roles and responsibilities. Knowing the chain of command is crucial because you don’t want to step on anyone’s toes and you really want to ensure the most productivity with working with the right people on special tasks and projects. To get to know people at your job, follow these steps:
  • Introduce yourself to all your immediate colleagues and ask if you could setup a time to get to know them better. Either take them to breakfast, lunch, dinner or just a regular meeting. Ask them about what they do, how they do it and how you can make their job easier.
  • If this person has an assistant, get to know that assistant and how they operate so in case you ever need something you already know their preferences.
  • Volunteer to work on committees such as Human Resources, Office Management, Special Events and Projects, Research, etc. Be an active employee but do not take on too much extra workload.

4.) While you are networking with your new colleagues, do not fall prey to office gossip or drama. You do not want to be sucked into this or known as the office gossip because people will never trust you or try to squeeze information out of you for their own purposes.
  • If you have a colleague that comes to you and ask for advice on how to deal with trouble with another coworker, refer them to the handbook on how to best deal with the situation or tell them to just find ways to either confront or avoid the situation on their own because they know what is best for them in the end. Do not get drawn into the he said she said business.
  • Do not form cliques or hang out with a certain group of people to much because you do not want a bad reputation; remember that your reputation aka “personal

5.) Besides avoiding drama and gossip, do not try to be standoffish or seen as you don’t want to be bothered. You can be engaged and interested without having to take sides. Neutrality is always great but hard to come by so just try to be as professional as you can be in the workplace.

6.) Being professional means
  • Expressing your ideas and opinions with a sense of humility. Do not put others down and always listen to what others have to say. Don’t show anger in person and definitely not in writing.
  • Knowing what battles to choose and those to avoid.
  • Clean and fresh appearance
  • Hardworking attitude
  • Being a team player (Don’t be the yes person but show you are down for the cause)
  • Showing time management efficiency
  • Managing your workflow by priority
  • Not upstaging your boss in public
  • Not embarrassing your boss in public

7.) Not embarrassing yourself and your boss in public in extremely crucial. Learn more about dinning etiquette on business meetings or about ho to network with clients according to the way your place employment approves.

8.) Last but not least, do not talk about your personal business to every Tom, Dick, and Harry! You can be open about something’s in your life; do not deny or lie about who you are but show some couth. Do not talk about drinking games you played over the weekend or the wildest nightclub experience you had…don’t give people a reason to use things against you in the event something goes wrong.

Sites to visit about personal branding and career management:


Recommended book: Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets To Success, One Relationship At A Time by Keith Ferrazi.

Breathe life into your career by making the right choices on and off the job. You represent your job everywhere you go but you must also stay true to your brand and ethics as well. Learn how to become a better employee by becoming a better you first! More tips to come in the future.

Desiree Frieson, 24, is the communications manager at Odyssey Networks, a non-profit interfaith media production company in New York City.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this is some valuable information. Mental notes taken. Thanks Desiree!