How to Survive and Thrive in the Workplace

Getting a job can be tough these days, and getting your foot in the door is only the first step toward a rewarding career. Succeeding at work takes initiative and hard work. Investing in yourself through professional growth initiatives and being dedicated about your job performance can help move your career along, and go a long way to protect your position.  Taking the initiative to enhance your value can reduce the chances of being laid off or terminated, and help get you where you want to go in your career. So, what can you do to achieve workplace success, in spite of today’s economic ups and downs? We have some advice for you.

True business leaders develop good employees by cultivating their workers’ leadership abilities and encouraging them to build on their strengths.  To that end, many companies offer communication and/or management training. Due to the downturn, many budgets for employee training have tightened, so If your company isn’t offering courses or tuition reimbursement right now, take the time to research classes being taught in your area. Your company might even subsidize a portion of the cost if you make a case for it.  If they won’t, don’t let that discourage you.  An investment in yourself pays dividends, even if it costs you some money in the short term.

Your goal is to become a unique asset within your organization.  Your uniqueness is your brand, and according to many workforce consultants, the driving force of a career must come from the individual. Tom Peters, business author and speaker, may have said it best.  “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”  Becoming a lifelong learner, and a student of your industry, can help you stand out, and reinforce your brand.

We should note that, when it comes to building your personal brand, actions speak louder than words.  That can mean regularly going above and beyond in performing the tasks required of you.  It might mean researching trends in your industry and sharing that information with your colleagues.  That sounds intense, but it really isn’t.  All you need to do is establish an RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, web feed of specific terms and companies that comprise your industry. You can establish RSS feeds through cloud-based software such as Google Reader. Next, when passing along information, consider how it affects your company. By taking this extra step, you can show your employer that you’re passionate about your particular business and are dedicated to improving your industry knowledge.

And while we’re talking about self improvement, it’s also important to acknowledge that, as much as we try to avoid failure, when mistakes happen we have to take ownership of them.  The worst thing to do is try to blame someone else or deny that a mistake was made. When you do that, you can transform your failure into an opportunity to learn.  Everyone experiences setbacks – Einstein, the Wright Brothers, Henry Ford, the list goes on and on.  It’s not what you do when you’re up that counts, it’s what you do when you’re down that matters most.  More important, you’ll learn what doesn’t work, allowing you to focus on what does.

Let’s be honest, in the course of a long career we’re probably going to come across colleagues who rub us the wrong way.  There are those who don’t pull their weight, and some people in leadership positions are simply not cut out for the job.  This can make life frustrating and downright unbearable at times.  However, it’s absolutely critical that you try to stay positive. Negativity is contagious, but so is a positive attitude.   The more you stay positive, even when you’re in a difficult situation, the better you’ll be able to manage, and the more you’ll enhance your brand to those assessing your value.  Furthermore, we should caution that you should avoid the temptation to criticize your company and/or coworkers anywhere on the Internet. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn encourage us to “say what’s on our mind;” however, ranting online can have long-term implications. Remember that anyone can find what you’ve placed online, and that your employers may be able to take action against employees who post defamatory or other messages that detract from their business.  Until next time, I’m Thomas Fox for Cambridge Credit Counseling.

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