12.31.2012

Become Indispensable & Recognized at Work

Have you ever felt that some individuals travel through the ranks and receive recognition relatively easy compared to others? In some cases so much so that it seems like the handy work of sheer luck. This type of phenomenon is quite common to the candidates who share specific traits.




The secret to successful candidates is that they tackle their work opportunities in phases. These phases typically consist of:

  • Being recognized and becoming indispensable
  • Landing promotions and raises
  • Transforming yourself into a leader
I will try to address these in three different posts, this being the first of the three.

Know what turns your crank

To get ahead in your career, you will need to have the right job. You will land the right job by knowing what you want to do and why you want to do it. The right job for you will make you happy, will drive you and will be the kind of work you will want to do. Your life will be nothing but miserable if you get stuck in the wrong job.

The secret is to be in such an environment in which you would not need to put up a fake act, a place where you will connect with others naturally and without putting up an artificial persona.

My father-in-law lost his job as a HR payroll person when EDS closed its offices in Cleveland, Ohio. Instead of looking for another accounting job, he decided to work with wood, a hobby that became his passion. He got a job at Home Depot’s lumber section and couldn't be happier. The way he talks about his job, one can tell that he looks forward to going back to work.

Be a solution not the problem

Nothing will kill your career success faster than the habit of deriving strength from problems instead of solutions. In your career there will be times when you or people around you will make mistakes. Bosses are not fond of problem bearers; instead they look for individuals who bring them solutions.

Your quality that will shine when an incident occurs is being able to clearly explain what happened, how to fix it and how to ensure it never happens again.

If someone else made a mistake, jump in and help them. Never ever kick someone while they are down or make their situation worst by being a tattletale. Helping others in their difficult times will help your personality, aura and reputation.

Invest in yourself

Increase your value by investing in yourself through education, knowledge and practice outside of your work time. If you are in IT, learn the new languages, new technology and improve your documentation and communication skills. These are the assets which will accompany you wherever you go.

Just like we have smart, average and dull students in schools, in corporate environments there are 20% top A-level workers, 70% average and 10% dull workers. Your goal should be to be in the top 20% by being an overachiever.

Earn the respect

Build a trustful and long lasting relationship with your boss and your employer. Respect your boss both in front of him/her as well as in his/her absence. People learn from each other’s behavior and if you don’t respect your bosses, you won’t be respected either.

Do not fake your respect for others or build relations with manipulative intentions. Your employer will see right through it and it will cost you dearly. Do not join a company for that extra ten bucks if you have a problem with them, their culture, mission or values. Building strong relationships means you genuinely like to work for your company.

Expect less and do more

Follow the "expect less, do more" strategy and you will notice that way more will come your way. I have seen a great many folks living in misery just because they worked under the presumption that they were delivering way more than they were getting paid for. I am not saying that you should be shortchanged, because if that is true in your case, you need to change your company!

Live and breathe Occam’s razor

Similar to Einstein’s quote "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough," the Occam’s razor suggests that the simplest answer is the correct answer.

Pay attention to how your boss asks you questions. If he/she is struggling to get answers out of you, you need to work on your explanation and communication skills. Avoid the habit of talking in circles or around the topic. Bad communication will force your boss to start asking for information from someone else who can explain it better that you.

Back when I was a programmer analyst, I was working on a quality ratings project. My boss asked me if I can give a small presentation to his boss about the project I am working on. I prepared the presentation from a broader perspective and gave my boss’ boss the complete idea about what are quality ratings, why they are important, what we are doing about them and where we stand comparatively in the market.

After my presentation, the higher boss started to come to me for explaining different things and to prepare presentations for him. The secret is to consider any request large or small an opportunity and to give your 1000% through over delivering and providing the simplest explanation possible.

Most important of all be happy!

Your stress will eat you alive if you are not happy with your position or your life. The secret to success, wealth and happiness is to do everything to its fullest.

You will be very happy and satisfied when you love where you are, believe in your employer, know what you are doing, love doing it and are fully qualified for it.


Bottom line

The takeaway I would like you to have is the understanding that there is no such thing as receiving job security. Employers do not and cannot ensure job security; instead it is created by oneself. Your job security depends on you and not on your employer. Keep on doing the good work and over delivering and you will find that prosperity will find you automatically.

Next post in this series is landing promotions and raises.

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