Among the many hats I wear is that of a full-time career woman. Over the past 15+ years I’ve seen things and people come and go. This includes rights and wrongs as far as moving up the career ladder. Nothing too complicated, but little things that go a long way. People have come to me with questions regarding their advancement ad why they don’t move up as fast as they think they should. Well, there are always different factors and situations that will affect one’s career, but here are 5 solid ones I think will always stand the test of time.
Always complaining without presenting solutions. There’s nothing that irritates a boss or manager more than that one employee who complains about the company’s problems, but doesn’t present a solution of some sort. Not that your boss expects you to turn the company around by yourself, but many of them welcome suggestions that may help with current problems in the office. Don’t assume that your voice won’t be heard. Come up with a well thought out plan that can help with a current problem and present it at the appropriate time with your boss or during a staff meeting. You’ll be surprised at the end result.
Your physical appearance. This is one of the most common ways people ruin their professional image….their appearance. It’s quite horrifying what people chose to wear especially when they work in a highly professional environment that deals with plenty of customer service. You’re the initial representation of your company or department. It doesn’t make sense to wear:
– sloppy jeans
– tight jeans
– low cut blouses
– halter tops
– flip flops
These items damage your credibility and decrease your chances of being taken seriously. Do you have to come in wearing Armani suits five days a weak? Absolutely not. It doesn’t take an expensive wardrobe to be presentable everyday, especially if your office is business/casual. Some folks take this granted and become too comfortable with the “casual” part. Wearing a decent cut blouse and slacks will do the trick.
Here’s a useful link on office attire tips that won’t bust your budget: Perfect Your Professional Image at Work
Wearing your emotions for the world to see. There are many types of personalities in the average office environment. People come from different types of backgrounds and upbringings that may or may not mesh well in a professional environment. Additionally, some days at work are just awful and you’re ready for it to end already. While it’s normal to have such days and things don’t always go your way, it’s so important not to let your emotions control you and your reaction to the un-pleasantries of office life. Walking around with a frown or sitting at a staff meeting with your arms crossed and face turned up will get you absolutely nowhere. And don’t think your boss doesn’t notice because they don’t say anything.
In actuality, they do notice and make note of it.
It’s not a good look and it just shows you’re incapable of handling certain responsibilities, making management less likely to rely on you. Well if they can’t rely on you then your chances of getting that promotion are pretty much shot. It’s better to take a moment away from everyone and put your emotions in check. Whether it’s in a bathroom stall or venting to someone during lunch break, it’s better than walking around announcing to everyone how ticked off or disappointed you are about something. Keep it professional and make sure you do what’s expected of you…with a smile. It’s easier said than done, but it’s possible.
Not giving your best. It’s funny how those who do the bare minimum of their responsibilities are always the ones looking for praise and accolades. All they did was their job (barely) and they didn’t even bother to go above and beyond. If you’re looking to stand out from everyone else, you have to give management numerous reasons to have confidence in you and what you deliver because at the end of the day, your work speaks for you. Doing the bare minimum and expecting rewards for just showing up to work won’t cut it. Paying attention to detail, reviewing your work before submitting and performing quality assurance are habits that will make you stand out in the crowd – especially if you have decent management. Have pride in your work and interactions with people. Believe it or not you’re building a brand of yourself and want it to be as effective as possible.
Now, this doesn’t mean slaving away and being treated like a doormat. Know your worth and be smart about what you produce. It’s important to not only be on the grind, but to give yourself credit for it as well. If you’ve created a new form or an effective way of doing things in your office, keep track of that as a kudos to yourself and update it on your resume. If the time comes for you to ask for a promotion or salary increase, you’ll have solid reasons for management to consider (if that doesn’t work out, there are other companies who just might appreciate your accomplishments!)
Getting caught up in office drama. Another big turn off for other co-workers and management is the office gossip. They can’t wait to spread the latest rumor (or start it) and get in everyone’s business. It’s unprofessional and makes you look unproductive and horrible at your job. It doesn’t matter if it’s a corporate setting, beauty salon or mechanical shop. Gossiping at the job starts nothing but trouble and at the end of the day does damage to your image. It shows that you have little to no work ethic and can’t be productive when needed. Plus, you’ll be surprised at how aware management is of office gossip, who started it and who keeps it going. The last thing you want is for them to see you that way or to categorize you as a gossip. It’s one thing to be aware of it and something else to be caught in the middle of it. Avoid those who come around to run their mouths. Don’t encourage conversation with them and make it clear that you’re not interested. Keep a low profile and stay productive!
Are you frustrated in your current job? Have you thought about your next move? Ask and share right here in the comments!