I’m almost 28 and I love my job. So much so in fact, I refuse to use that terrible ‘J word’. A job is cleaning your room or giving someone a lift to the local town. Hardly inspiring and most likely not really going to give you purpose and a real feeling that you’re making the most of what little time you have to achieve something wonderful.
I’m tough and right-wing when it comes to achieving. Most Western people (I say most, not all) have an opportunity to achieve something. Most won’t due to laziness and a deluded attitude that makes them think, “Ah yea it’ll be grand. I have plenty of years to achieve what I want.” You don’t. If you don’t change that attitude now, forget about reading this post. You need to start NOW.
When I started out 7 years ago in marketing, I wanted to conquer the World. I had little time for sport and even less interest. When everybody else was worshiping the likes of Lance Armstrong and Michael Phelps, all my heroes were c-suite executives including Larry Ellison, Gary Vaynerchuck and Michael O’Leary.
I couldn’t, and still don’t understand, why many people spend almost their entire lives bitching and moaning about a job. Staring out the window muttering “what if?”. Are you really going to spend 50 hours a week doing something you hate? Please don’t. Cruelly, maybe, I think if you haven’t got the get-go to make a change and try to achieve your ambitions then you just don’t deserve it.
In the course of my career to date, albeit short, I have learnt many, MANY, lessons that I want to impart. If you’re just starting, or indeed looking to up your career prospects, please take heed of these and as always, feel free to disagree and just do it for yourself, but now is the time to get your rear into gear!
#1. Attitude and reliability matter MORE than talent
We all hear about flawed genius. The artist that is hard to deal with and is unreliable but has an amazing talent and when it’s applied, they achieve something incredible. Makes for a great movie or pub story. However, it just doesn’t cut it in the professional world.
Nine times out-of-ten, employers want somebody who turns up everyday and isn’t precious or needs to be handled with kid-gloves. Hard-working people with the right attitude win. Almost always.
Lesson: yes try to be best at what you do, but work first and foremost on being eager to achieve what you can for your company and turn up everyday you possibly can. It’s not rocket science, but it will put you in the spotlight, particularly if you’re young or a graduate.
#2. Sorry but it’s not about you
It just isn’t. Yes try to stand-out from the crowd. But do it by being a ‘company guy’ or gal. Your boss will NOT be impressed by “But what about me?” or “How many days will I get in lieu?”. One of the most outstanding traits of a corporate winner is that it’s always about the company first. Always. If you can’t do that then you’re possibly not in the right job or with the right company. This is your chance to shine. Don’t let petty weaknesses or godawful self-entitlement stop you from getting what you want.
Most companies are in the game to win….profitably. Complaining about your salary and holidays is a no-no. For example, if I have two employees, one of which is always moaning and appreciates nothing, then I have to spend a lot of time trying to please you. You’re draining my time and my motivation. While you’re moaning the other employee is quietly working to achieve. Who gets the promotion when it comes up?
Lesson: Stop thinking about ‘you’ in terms of what you get out of your job. Think about a different you who is at the top of their game in the company. Now start acting like them. Because if you’re acting like that you, then you’ll become that you and get that raise, promotion and generally feel really rewarded.
#3. That extra 10% makes 100% of the difference
That person that does a few hours on a Saturday or regularly works late to get more done. Are you that person? Become them if not. It shows that you really actually care about what you’re doing and again, about the company. I have a serious distaste for ‘presenteeism’ though. The idiots that clearly have nothing to do but hang around just to get noticed.
Some people say that if you work late it means you’re not good enough to get it done in the working day. Are you actually telling me there’s nothing you could be putting extra hours into right now to get ahead and increase productivity? Doubtful!
Lesson: Stop clock-watching. Show you’re a hard worker by proving it. Match your bosses hours to prove to yourself that you can do it!
#4. Have the balls to make a stance
There’s moaners in every company. Don’t get dragged into that group. It’ll reflect badly on you and most importantly, suck the life out of you in terms of motivation and ambition. Have the nuts to say “Actually I disagree with you. I think the company is great and my prospects are great. Only because I work harder than you and don’t sit around thinking the World owes me everything.”
Negativity is a drain. It manifests in your work which lowers your chances of success. Please turn to those people and politely tell them to “p*** off”. Just walk away. Your life, on your terms. Never be ashamed of going the extra mile.
Lesson: Sit at the table with the people who are harder workers than you, better at their job than you, better known and respected than you. It’ll make you up your game!
#5. Brown-nose only with elbow grease and results
Does licking your bosses ass work? Not if they’re an a-player. Get on well with them. Pay them a compliment if it’s genuine. I mean such as “Geez you certainly got the team going with that presentation!”, not “Oh Mr. Keppel, what a wonderful tie!”. Puke.
Results are undeniable and that’s the best way to pay homage. If I’m generating lots of leads then the CEO knows that the company is going places, that I’m putting in the work and above all they must be doing a good job to help me do a good job. Simples!
Lesson: Chances are your boss may be smarter, harder-working and more capable than you are. She does not need you to tell her she’s great. She needs YOU to be great so she can prove the results her management style produces.
I may sound obnoxious. But honestly I’ve seen people with huge potential burn and fail because they had the wrong attitude and just didn’t see the bigger picture. These lessons will help you avoid that. Of course, you may just want a job and live for the weekend. If that’s what you want so be it, but remember, you’re unlikely to make as much money or indeed get much satisfaction from what you are going to spend the majority of your life doing.
Best of luck and please feel free to add your lessons in the comments section below.
Images: ”Concept of competition with two running businessman in a track / Shutterstock.com“
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