At this time of year there are numerous articles
being written for the workplace dealing with organization, motivating
employees, leadership and other ways to make the organization and its
workforce more productive. The majority of these articles are directed
towards management; supervisors and above. In this article I would like to
address the employee, the individual who commonly makes less than $100K,
does not receive 15% or more of their annual salary as a quarterly bonus and
is usually the one most often blamed for the organization failing to meet
its targets affecting those who are eligible for the quarterly bonuses.
Are you self employed or work for a firm? Regardless,
if your answer to the above question is anything other than “I work for
myself” then you are not only selling yourself short but also, in all
probability, giving your employer less than 100%.
Many people in the workplace feel as though they have
no control over their destiny, they go to work do what they are told to and
receive compensation that they are usually not satisfied with but accept
because they believe they can do no better. All of this leads to contempt
for the workplace, company, bosses and most likely the customer. We’ve all
experienced at one time poor customer service, rude employees and a general
“I don’t really care” attitude from both customers and vendors.
There was a time in most of our lives where we truly
controlled our destiny. It was that period between adolescence and the
workplace known as college or university. We were away from the control of
our parents and were free to make choices. What classes to take; the days or
evenings to take those classes and whether or not to attend those classes.
The decisions we made for ourselves determined, in many cases, where and for
whom we would be working; how much money we would make and our career path.
When we left college and began working things changed and we became part of
the organization with its rules and culture and although we always have the
option to change for many the organization became a safe harbor where any
type of resistance to its rules and culture could cast us adrift in
treacherous waters. So we endured working for the organization whether we
agreed or not with its rules and culture and slowly our attitudes became
affected by not only the organization but also our co-workers whom we
interacted with on daily basis. Although we all believe that we are good
employees the fact is the good employee, especially today, is a rare
A wise man once said that a good employee is one who
works for him/herself. What he meant by that is that regardless of whom we
are working for we have to constantly be working to improve our position.
That we and no one else are responsible for our evolution. It makes no
difference what the organization allows or prohibits; makes no difference
whether our boss is a saint or a butt. Our conduct, attitude,
professionalism and self motivation determine our success or failure.
If one were to start their own business the
requirement to succeed are hard work, intelligence, experience, personality
and a better product. These are the qualities necessary for all employees
whether working for themselves or the organization that will contribute to
individual success and in turn make the organization successful as well.
the US today we are experiencing a fiasco known as outsourcing. Jobs are
being sent all over the globe to countries whose workforce will work for far
less than the American worker. Job security, very important to ones
livelihood is at risk and it is very easy for one in peril of losing their
job to sabotage their work or control it to the point where only they could
continue in that position. A true professional however is one who documents
everything; makes the job simple and easy to understand for others; is open
and contributes to the work of others and allows others to contribute to
his/her work as well. The value to the employer should be not to fire one
who has secrets but their fear of losing a valuable employee who is open and
willing to share with and learn from others.
are in place for a good reason. If one is not happy with a particular rule
they should try to have the rule abolished or amended through channels while
providing positive alternatives to the offending or obsolete rule. One
should never blatantly break or ignore a rule. The workplace is not just an
arena to make money; it is a social environment that requires structure.
a Clean Desk:
a clean organized desk reflects attention to deal and a business like
attitude. Personal items should be kept to a minimum, Family photos are
acceptable; the desk should always reflect a place of work and not a second
home. The desk is a daily billboard and should be a reminder of why we were
hired to begin with and why we continue to be employed.
in Early, Don’t Stay Late.
in early and energized will improve interaction with others. In addition
being punctual and consistent will make an impression on the boss. Getting
to work early is easily noticed, but no will notice us staying late until 7
– 8pm because they are all at home! Moreover, coming in early gives one a
head start, while staying late means we are catching up. A former Chief
Petty Officer once commented, “Come in early we stop the fire before it
spreads, stay late we’re trying to put it out.
Not Discuss Negative Opinions with Co-Workers or Others Outside the Company.
opinions should be discussed with those who can do something about the
situation. Discussing negatives with those who can not resolve the situation
does nothing but keep those opinions circulating which in turn can be
harmful to the organization.
Communicate with Superiors what is Expected:
assume how to perform a delegated task. Always ask for clarification when
given an assignment; How, When, Where and Why. It is very important to know
the “Why”. When we know why we are performing a task the task becomes
easier to accomplish.
never ends. Look for new areas to get involved in. Ask for additional work
especially learning something new. Just because the organization does not
provide a formal training program does not mean the educational
opportunities are not available. The Internet is an excellent source of
information. Community colleges provide continuing education in adult
classes at reasonable rates. Seek a mentor and look for someone to mentor.
Attention to Company Stories and Rituals.
people laughing at each other or with each other? Do they repeat stories of
successes or failures? Avoid discussions that are destructive to people or
the organization and keep success stories alive.
people are a company’s most important asset. We should be patient,
attentive, courteous, reliable and supportive. Good companies know these
values cannot be learned in any formal curriculum, or on the job training.
They must be within each of us before they will work and not only are they
the most valued characteristics to find in an employee, they are also the
collective ideas, feedback and enthusiasm for what we do as employees can
not only help the business grow and succeed but ourselves as well. When we
give 100% effort to do our best regardless of conditions and circumstance
then we truly are working for ourselves.
I wish you well.
The information provided above is for
educational purposes only and not provided as legal advice. Legal advice
should be obtained from a licensed attorney in good standing with the Bar
Association and preferably Board Certified in either Creditor Rights or