I recently got my paws on a great piece of career advice written by Matt Warner from Atlas Network. As with any gem related to working for liberty, I wanted to share it with you. It was written especially for those with a limited work history, but I think many of his points transcend experience level.
You Had Me At Hello
Matt had me hooked very early in the article. He writes:
“If you are starting your first job, or starting a new job in a new field, you may find it useful to think of yourself as a start-up company. One of the key things you have in common with a start-up company is that your product is unproven. It means you are making your employer a new value proposition and you need to deliver [emphasis added].”
But Wait, There’s More!
I won’t give the whole plot away, but here is a sampling of some of Matt’s key points:
- “Audition” for New Responsibilities – Matt suggests that employees take on extra work after they have completed their core duties and then present the work to the boss in a low stakes way. He notes that “this approach is the opposite approach many take when hoping to grow in their responsibilities. Many will perform their core duties and then, at some point, solicit their boss for more responsibilities….I think you will see better results if you follow an approach that keeps the burden on you [emphasis added].” Well said! Instead of giving your boss one more thing to do, take something off of his plate!
- Spend Your Time Wisely – Matt counsels that we should be judicious with our time and learn to discern what valuable work really is. “Don’t distinguish between menial and glamorous work to guide decisions about what’s worth your time, distinguish between valuable and not valuable.” I am pretty sure I blurted out “Oh, heck, yeah!” when I read this. Not only is this suggestion helpful to the organization, but it is also a good way for an employee to avoid a prima donna label and instead earn a reputation for being the go-to-guy/gal.
- Focus on Solutions – Ah, this one was so good I got choked up reading it. Matt writes, “Identifying problems is good, but it’s a common skill. Identifying solutions is the key to success and the best way to avoid another common pitfall for the new employee: negativity.” Matt’s wisdom is reminiscent of the sagacious Ben Franklin, “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain – and most fools do.” What boss wouldn’t trade a staff of complainers for one problem-solver?
- Quality Control – This one made me sob like a girl at a junior high dance. Are you ready for it? “You want to make a good impression and complete tasks assigned to you quickly, especially in a new job; but you should get in the habit of carefully and creatively double-checking everything before you send or turn it in, even emails to coworkers. If something you pass along to your boss or your coworker requires a lot of obvious corrections, this may harm your reputation as a go-to person.”
Ok. That is the last nugget you get! You have the read the rest for yourself.
And please do share the article with folks who are just entering the workforce, as well as those who seek to constantly improve. Matt’s wisdom will help them build their brands and careers.