How to climb the ladder, or get the job you really want!

Climbing the career ladder

My friends have asked me many times, “How did you get that job”? I’ve told them some of these things, but maybe not all, so I am beginning a list (I’ll update it) of all my ladder climbing tips.

Also, how can you “play by the rules“, if you don’t know what the rules are?

Like me, you may have read other articles on this topic that have offered “x number of ways to get the job you want” or some other similar titles.

Most already know we must:

  • Know about the job (understand what the new job may entail)
  • Prepare a winning keyword-friendly resume (to get it by the automatic resume robots)
  • Rehearse and visual yourself doing great at the interview (when you get one)

The interview:

  • Dress appropriately and professionally for the interview
  • Ask intelligent and open-ended questions (you also want to interview your potential new boss)
  • Do NOT ask personal questions
  • Do NOT ask about office politics, vacation accrual, or salary
  • If you have notes, or a laptop – open them up and be ready to refer to them or show samples of your work (if asked or if you feel stumped with a question)
  • Smile and show enthusiasm for the role (people hire people they like)

But I’m not going to talk about those old, and well worn topics because you should already know those (if not, google those to find out more).

Teamwork and Integrity matters
Teamwork and Integrity matters

Here are my tips:

  • Always be on time to work at your current job. If there is a valid reason, state it succinctly. No one wants to hear excuses.
  • If you are going to be late, call, text, and email your boss. Don’t rely on one method of communication to relay this very important information. If you know you are the type of person who is often late or out of office be sure to discuss this with your supervisor up front and determine how he / she would like to be notified.
  • Not showing up for work is a sign of disrespect and people will never respect you, if you display disrespect. I have worked with people who have been fired for not coming in to work.
  • Be on time for meetings. No manager wants to wait around for you to begin his / her meeting. It’s also disrespectful and disruptive to the group when you arrive late to a meeting, especially a weekly meeting, or one that has been pre-arranged and on your calendar.
  • Do critically acclaimed outstanding work at your current job. If you’re the only one at your position then you already know why this tip is key. Build a strong relationship with your boss, and their management (whenever possible). If you work on a team, read the next section about teamwork and why it matters.
  • Always be in learning mode – be the first to know as much as you can about the new software the company is rolling out.
  • Raise your hand – be first to volunteer for special projects, lead a new team, or take the project no one else wants. Many people do not want to speak up or raise their hand first, so if you do, your supervisor will LOVE it! Brownie points? Yes, absolutely! Why not? Don’t listen to any lazy or uncaring people if they tell you otherwise. They aren’t feeding / housing your family! There will come a day when your superior will give you a glowing recommendation or promotion, and that’s your goal (it’s why you’re reading this) right?
  • Always happily accept direction from your boss with a gleam in your eye! Believe it or not, many managers dislike having to “tell you what to do” so, when they come to you with a request, listen attentively, take notes if you need to, ask for clarification if needed, or prioritization if you’re already swamped, but always be eager for something else to do!
  • Work at an accurate reasonable speed – employers understand that you cannot work safely or with quality at break-neck speed, but when something has been designated a high priority you should definitely move with a sense of urgency to complete the task to your best ability.

Why teamwork matters

Back when I was in college, it really irritated me when one or more people on my project team would slack – not do their fair share of the project work. I’d step up and do more because of my super responsible nature so we could get a high grade. I learned early on the true value of teamwork and team-building.

At work when a team forms, I have experienced team dynamics that follow the “forming, storming, norming, and performing” model credited to Bruce Tuckman in 1965. You can visit wikipedia or buy books about it.

First, the boss may assign several disparate people a goal to complete a project. A team forms, but because you don’t know each other, you encounter a period of ice-breaking and posturing. You may not have a choice over who participates on the team.

The more the team comes together to get the project underway, the group will storm – meaning some people will want to lead, cause conflict, be negative, point out potential issues, or demand respect that has yet to be earned. Arguments and miscommunication occur during the storming phase. Members will pick sides. One or more may decide it’s okay to slack. The boss may need to step back in during the storming phase. When they don’t, it can take the team much longer to get their “ducks in a row” (so to speak).

When the energy of the team evens out and any or all bickering subsides, the team will be in the normal phase and stuff will flow easier. The ebb and flow of cooperation will be experienced by all of the teammates. Communication will improve between all members. Team members may even become friends. The boss doesn’t have to step in much because he / she can direct one team member to effectively communicate the request to the team and trust the team will receive the information and act on it appropriately.

When the work is evenly distributed and stuff is getting done in a timely fashion, the team will be in the performing mode. You feel it when you’re in a good rhythm and mutual respect and admiration is occurring. It’s exciting! A performing team is unstoppable! Results will be achieved and the team will exude confidence and pride in their accomplishments.

Unfortunately, some people never quite get the whole teamwork attitude though. You’ll need to have a lot of patience as long as these folks remain on your team. It would benefit everyone on the team, and within the company as well, if they’d learn how much teamwork matters.

When team members support each other, they’ll often graciously provide references to individuals within the group when the time comes for one or more folks to move on to leadership roles within the organization, or to a position with another institution or company. A job reference is the ultimate professional compliment! You’ll need three references for your next job and recruiters only want recent references, not someone you did an outstanding job for five or more years ago.

Decision Making, Risk Taking, and Accepting Responsibility for Choices

Decision Making, Risk Taking, and Accepting Responsibility

Yes, I know the title is long. I haven’t posted anything in my self analysis section in awhile because I’ve been busy. Went to Connecticut to visit my beautiful one year old granddaughter. Left a job. Began a new job. Got involved with “another” multi-level marketing (MLM) business.

Excuses?

These sound like excuses don’t they? Maybe they are or maybe they’re valid reasons. In either case, it’s me, explaining myself to you. But why? I don’t owe anyone an explanation especially since this is my blog and I write for the love of writing. That’s the point – people tend to “explain” themselves to everyone all the time.

Explanations

Explaining. We all do this to some degree or another – every day. We typically explain ourselves even to people who really aren’t all that important in our lives. What a waste of energy!

Energy drain

Do you know that when we explain our choices we drain ourselves of energy? Most of us “explainers” are strong “people-pleasers”. We often care more about what others think of us, than we think of ourselves. We do this out of a need to feel ACCEPTED.

Beliefs

We believe we can’t be happy (accept ourselves) unless a) we make others happy, or b) we need others to make us happy. And that’s simply not true. We can CHOOSE to BEHAPPY. All on our own. No one else needs to DO anything for us, nor do we need to do anything for anyone else.

What a concept!

Do you know where your true JOY comes from?

Being happy with yourself. Accept yourself. Be happy with your life – your journey. If you’re not happy perhaps you’ve made some wrong choices or put yourself in a situation you’d rather not be in. I say “wrong choices” only because ultimately your choices didn’t make you happy! But you learned life lessons. Perhaps you’re feeling sorry for yourself. Give yourself credit for who you are NOW.

Learn and Choose

Choice

You can make a very powerful choice. You can choose to be happy amidst whatever circumstances you find yourself in or you can choose to make different choices.

Sit still – right where you are… for a few minutes and just – BE.

Think of all of the good things in your life. Times when you made wonderful choices. You have every reason in the world to be happy!

There have been times in my life when my supervisor or manager at work wondered why I didn’t make decisions. Typically it was because I was waiting on something or someone to do something first. When I read this article it perfectly explained that situation. I didn’t make certain work decisions because I was waiting for someone’s approval. All that waiting was so draining. And it also seemed that sometimes I’d make a decision only to be criticized (sometimes severely). It put me in the vicious cycle of never being able to win. We’ve all heard people say, “no matter what I do – I can’t win” or “you can’t please everyone”. And that was me – until now.

I make work decisions based upon a risk taking matrix. In the most basic terms it goes something like this:

  • Is this decision in my best interest? (You sacrifice yourself and your happiness if whatever decision your making is for someone, anyone else.)
  • Is this choice best for the company? (This includes considering all ethics, laws, etc.)
  • In 20, 50, or 100 years will this matter?
  • What is the worst that could happen?

I recognize and accept responsibility. Making a wrong decision almost always can be reversed – if the need is great enough. And I do not work in a field where lives depend upon my decisions. Point is, if the decision is mine to make – I must make it with the best information I understand at the time not necessarily by considering “the need to please others”. There is a time and place for building consensus among team members but this is not the focus of this post.

It’s no wonder people-pleasers have a hard time trusting their own intuition. They’ve been waiting on someone else to do something – anything to relieve them of the need to “make a decision.” I have actually known people who cannot decide upon what restaurant to eat at, or even what item to order once they get there!

A former manager I worked with a few years ago told me one of the traits he looks for in those he promotes is the ability to make a decision! His statement still rings in my ears.

Fear

How many people are scared to make a decision?

We must learn to become risk takers and accept responsibility for our choices if we ever hope to become enlightened and be our best most joyous self.

Blocks

I have blocked my own energy and creative power in the past by feeling a deep need to always explain myself. I am now learning to be much more aware and when I feel the need to explain I think for a moment and reason it out.

I begin to think different thoughts.

Happy thoughts.

It sounds easy enough as I write this, but I tell you – in the moment it’s not so easy.

I almost have to force myself to smile first, before I can guide my thoughts to something happy. People that aren’t “explainers” probably would have no idea what I’m talking about.

In control

The other day a person said something to me in front of others that I didn’t like. I felt the need to explain my side but I didn’t. I felt all of the emotions (due to my thoughts) about the experience well up inside me, my face grew hot, and though I didn’t look in a mirror I knew my chest and neck were probably red, but by gradually and systematically changing my thoughts (changing my focus) within less than five minutes I felt back in control. Empowered. No need to explain. No need to get angry. No need to do anything.

Think about what is most important in your life. Who is most important in your life. Put yourself and how you feel – with the goal to be happy – first. Notice the better you feel – the better you feel. Why? To feel better! In turn, you and those you love will feel better too. People around you pick up on your energy. We Are All Connected whether you realize it or not.

If someone is consistently draining you of your energy you only have two choices. Let whatever they say roll off of you as easily as water rolls off a ducks back. Or let the person (or job) go – out of your life.

When someone dissatisfies me in any way, I tell myself, “thank you for helping me make a better decision.” If it happens to be because of some poor service in a restaurant I choose not to go back. If it’s a business situation, I end the association. I’ve quit going to particular service providers. Changed doctors. You name it.

There’s plenty of options out there and I’m not going to stick around someone or remain in a situation that’s not in my best interest. Why would I? I don’t want to come home and complain to my spouse about things I certainly am adult enough to change.

I am quite sure that my words may not teach you how to make decisions, take risks, or accept responsibility for your choices. You may choose to completely disagree with me and that’s okay. I won’t try to change you. 🙂