by Jim Nolan
Warning: If you are lazy, or like being a victim, do not read any further. It won’t really do you any good.
1. If you are hired to work for X hours a week, NEVER say to yourself, and certainly not to your employer: “I hit my hour limit—I’m done for the week.” No, you’ll be done for good, more likely. At least you’ll never be on my “People I want on my team” list. Keep working until you feel good about the job you have done. If you ever find yourself saying regularly “You don’t pay me enough to do that”, you are energetically probably finished at that job. Might as well pack your stuff. It may very well be true, and your take may very well be reasonable, but nobody is going to be happy—neither you nor your boss. It’s a lose-lose. So it may be time…
2. Say frequently, and sincerely, to your supervisor, boss, business owner—“How can I most help the department/school/company?” Or even with humor “How can I help make you look good today?” If you only think about you, that will be really obvious, really soon. “What can I do to help you do your job better?” I don’t think I have ever been asked that.
3. Read the environment, the department, the company, the marketplace, the competition. Offer your observations unsolicited. Do some research nobody asked you to do, and write it up. “I’ve been looking at some data, and I think you might find this interesting/useful.” Do the unexpected. Do what is asked, and as importantly, what is not asked, but should be. Go a step further.
4. Ask your supervisor, boss, president about their job. “What’s the hardest part of your job, for you?” “What’s the most important thing you are working on, that you want to get done today/this week/this quarter/this year? How can I help you get it done?”
5. Participate in Facebook and Linked In discussion groups related to your field. Find out what the world is doing and share your findings. Keep up with a few publications, electronic or hard copy, and share relevant and interesting information with your workplace.
These are almost always the correct behaviors. Maybe even always. If you do them sincerely, and your workplace/boss/supervisor/president still does not appreciate you, then something is wrong. That company, or organization, or school (or maybe just the boss or supervisor?) is likely soon, or eventually, to be its/his/her own little Titanic.
Decide if you want to ride it all the way to verticality, or whether you think you can change the culture, or whether you want to get off as soon as you know it is doomed. Do not forget that something is wrong.
If you ride it right into the North Atlantic, you will have nobody to blame but yourself.
Now that I think about it, there really is just one piece of advice here:
Shine, no matter what.
Oh, yeah, and #6: It is no longer anywhere near OK to say “I don’t check email on the weekends.” Not even close.
About the Author
Jim Nolan is in his 7th year as president of Southwestern College. He has worked for a dozen universities or colleges, both online and on the ground. He holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, and attended graduate school in English/Irish Literature. He reads a lot of books, takes a lot of photos, plays guitar, got married in India in 2010, and has a wire haired fox terrier named Barney. He is the opposite of a guru, whatever that is called.