Polishing Your Work Image
Although you may think you are an exemplary employee and destined for great career advancement, it is always useful to do a little introspection and keep yourself focused on some realities of work life.
A major element for reflection is to look at your job in the organization from the perspective of your employer and ask yourself, “If I had to be rehired every day, would they hire me back every morning based on what I did the previous day?” (Of course, the corresponding question from you would be, “Based on my relationship with my supervisor as of the end of work yesterday, would I want to work here again today?”)
As part of that reflection, make a list of what you are paid to do in terms that include the quality that is expected of your work, the quantity that is expected, and the time available to do it. (For example, “I am expected to process 20 documents (quantity) an hour (time) with no errors (quality).”)
Warning: If you are having trouble identifying all three elements of quality, quantity, and time in your work activities, this may be a reason why you and your leader do not share agreement on your productivity. If the two of you do not share the same understanding of what successful productivity means on any given task, there is bound to be disagreement and disappointment in the results. This would be an excellent opportunity to talk with your supervisor and get those three elements clarified in your mind.
What other aspects of your job do you think are important to your success but may not have measurables of quality, quantity, and time associated with them? (This is where those “other duties as assigned” come in.)
What about these other job-related issues:
How do you deal with disappointment? Do you accept it, try to understand why it happened and move on or do you focus on it, keep talking about it, and have trouble moving past it?
How do you react when you make a mistake? Do you try to discover what led to it and learn from it, deny that it happened, or try to fix blame on anyone but you?
What do you do when someone confides in you about some gossip? Do you pass it on or does it end with you?
What about the politics and “in crowd” that always exists within any organization? Do you spend much time concerned about them; do you complain to anyone who will listen that it’s so unfair that they exist; do you try to get into their circle; or do you accept it as a part of work life and move on?
Where would your “reliability score” fall on a grade from 0-10 if your co-workers could respond to that question anonymously? How much can they count on you to be on time, keep a promise, or be accountable for your responsibilities?
When you see opportunities for improvement in the work process, what determines whether you tell anyone:
If there is something in it for you
If you like your supervisor
If it will make the work easier for everyone
Something else – what?
Although there are many more career related questions that can be asked, these are a good sampling to get you started on the right track. The more you think about them and act on them favorably, the faster they will become a part of your work life, and the brighter will be your future.