Top 10 On-the-Job Tricks for Success

 

Posted by Lauren Weiner

 

Having seen the good, the bad, and the ugly in employees from both sides of the fence—as a entry level employee and now as an executive—these are the things I either wish I had known when I was coming up through the ranks, or that I wish I could get across to my employees now that I’m the “big boss.”  Again, like my last post about job seeking, these are in no particular order… but hopefully at least a few of them will be helpful for each of you.

1.       When asking for something (a raise, a flexible work schedule, access to a new project, etc), always spin it to why it is good for the company, not just why it is good for you.

If you’re coming to me with a need for a shorter work schedule, for example, your “pitch” should include very specific details about how you’re going to handle the work load in shorter hours, how the schedule helps us as a firm (you’d have to quit if you couldn’t get the new schedule to handle new external demands, and then we’d be forced to recruit and train a new employee without the significant background you have, for example), and how you’ll mitigate any unintended consequences, especially if nobody has tried this before.  (In this example, you might want to say that you’ll set the standard for professionalism in working a shorter work schedule but still getting work done, so that any other employee asking for a new schedule would be held to a very high standard).

2.      There is a very fine line between highlighting your accomplishments and tooting your own horn.

One lesson I learned very early on in my career—almost every time, people know who really did the work without anyone having to tell them.  Someone who claims credit for the work, especially if it was a team effort of any sort, can easily be seen as a blowhard.  If you are humble and praise the others in your team, it will come back to serve you well later on, both with your team members and with your supervisors.  That said, you do need to make sure that you’re recognized for your accomplishments, and there are appropriate ways to highlight those to the people who matter… but they are usually more subtle than telling people flat-out how wonderful a job you’ve done.  Email cc’s or status updates can often convey your worth without any bragging necessary.

3.      Don’t expect constant rewards for doing your job well.

Doing your job well is, well, your job.  While continuous improvement should hopefully lead to rewards (raises, promotions, positive feedback, whatever) in the long run, it should not require constant reinforcement with those rewards all of the time.  I find that people who are constantly asking me for short-term rewards for doing a good job end up negating, in my mind, the great work they’re doing, which is clearly counterproductive.

4.      Be willing to take on whatever tasks are necessary to get the job done.

In our company, we tell people that the thing that will get them fired faster than almost any other phrase is, “that’s not my job.”  As the president of a company, I still make my own copies (and am more than happy to run and get coffee for not only our clients, but any of my employees, as well).  Doing a job—any job—means scut work as well as high-level work.

5.      You don’t always have to be liked.

This is an important lesson for everyone to learn.  To be effective at your job, you need to be well respected, but you don’t need for everyone to like you.  You (hopefully) have plenty of friends outside of work.  You need strong colleagues at work, not necessarily more friends.

6.      Be careful how much of your personal life you bring into your job.

Of course, you’re with your work colleagues for a good portion of your daily waking life, and you will likely form great personal relationships with some of them (though see #5 above—you don’t need to be friends with all of them).  But be careful of exactly how much of your personal life you share at work; remember, your goal is first and foremost to be respected, and too much personal information can get in the way of that goal.

7.      Bring up ideas (preferably well thought-out, well-researched ones), but recognize that you may not have the whole story.

Some of the best ideas for how to improve our company have come from our front-line employees, and we always welcome ideas from everyone.  However, we often get ideas that are incredibly well thought-out given the perspective of that employee, but that don’t take into account other important information that the employee isn’t privy to.  If your idea is heard, but not implemented, it is helpful to realize that there may be more to the issue than you’re aware of.

8.      Remember, your thoughts/concerns/feelings are not the only thing on your boss’ mind.

We are all somewhat ego-centric in our thinking—it is the way our brains are structured.  But keep in mind that your boss (or even other colleagues) don’t have the same things on their mind that you do.  When you’re discussing something with them, try to think of their perspective so that you can all end up on the same page.  And, if you need them to understand where you’re coming from to set the stage for your conversation, make sure you tell them.  Which leads us to…

9.      Don’t wait for your boss to bring up raises and promotions.

Most likely, your raise or your promotion is forefront in your mind for months before it is scheduled.  It is just as likely one thing on a growing to-do list for your boss, and it is likely to drop off of that list accidentally, even if you’re a stellar performer.  If there is a regular schedule to reviews/raises/promotions, make sure you check in with your boss just before the scheduled time to make sure everything is on track.  If there is no schedule, at an appropriate time, ask your boss if you can do a review of your performance with an eye toward future career advancement.  One quick caveat—unless it was expressly discussed in your interview that you’d review compensation within the first 6 months, don’t bring this up until you’ve been somewhere at least 6 months, and probably more.  And look at #1 before you talk to your boss about why you deserve the raise or promotion.

10.  Step back and look at the 10,000 foot view.

If you can look at the point of view of your boss, or your boss’ boss, you will make yourself that much more valuable to them (and to the company).  If you can see the big picture, and see where your work fits in with that, it will not only make you more effective, but also should make you (hopefully) more satisfied in your role if you can see how it relates to the larger “whole.”

The Broad Residency – Job opportunites for advanced degrees

Posted by Haley Uthlaut

 

The Broad Residency is a great option for those interested in making an impact in public schools. The training and job are a two year commitment in various locations around the country. Starting salaries are $85-95K. You do not need to have experience in the education sector. Please read below and check out their website for more information.

As you may know, The Broad Residency in Urban Education is a prestigious program focused on improving public education by placing business professionals into high-impact full-time paid management positions in the education industry.

 

We recently broadened our placements beyond school districts and charter organizations to include Federal and State Departments of Education.

 

Can you help us by spreading the word to those in your network interested in management careers in the social sector? Anyone interested may visit our website to apply (www.broadresidency.org).

 

This is a unique opportunity to really make an impact on children’s lives that regularly attracts attention from the media. Below is a link to a recent segment on CNN about our founder Eli Broad:

 

http://money.cnn.com/video/news/2010/03/17/cc_eli_broad_education.cnnmoney/

 

About the Program

 

The Broad Residency is a prestigious program that places professionals with graduate degrees into full-time management positions in school districts, charter management organizations, and federal/state departments of education nationwide. Experience in the education industry is not required and starting salaries begin at $85-$95K. The Broad Residency serves as a bridge for those who want to use their management skills as change agents in education.

 

Broad Residents lead major projects that require superb analytical skills and the ability to manage projects and teams. Working within the system, participants are well-positioned to lead the transformation required to ensure that every American child receives a world-class education. A sampling of Broad Residents’ accomplishments include:

  •                     Saved $3 million per classroom by decreasing materials costs on 23 classrooms
  •                     Reduced cycle time for textbook purchasing by three months, assuring that schools now receive 98 percent of textbooks before the start-of-school
  •                     Decreased new hire process time from two weeks to four days

 

Simultaneous to job placement, Broad Residents receive two years of intensive professional development and join a national network of education leaders. This provides the support needed to transition into a management career that truly makes an impact.

 

 

Comment by Kelly Gump on May 1, 2011 at 6:19pm

I read about this and would LOVE to apply, but again…it would dictate where we live and as a USMC spouse, I am not able to move. We are stationed where the Marine Corps sends us. I could put my career first and move but with two young sons I can’t do that…we need to be together as a family as much as we can. Just another career path I am not able to pursue at this time.

 

IBM’s Remote Job Opportunites

 

Posted by Haley Uthlaut

 

I am a student working on my MBA at Kenan-Flagler business school and am currently taking a class called Effective Virtual Teams. We had a guest speaker visit our class yesterday to give us a presentation on their Smart Planet offering. The new software they have developed promotes working in virtual teams and/or internet collaboration. She outlined their software, but also described how IBM implements these new tools.

  •                 IBM employs +400K around the world and 50% of them work remotely

IBM is just one of many companies realizing the benefits of virtual teaming- this is a growing trend across major companies. This trend opens up many opportunites for military spouses to work from home – or wherever suits you.

 

If you are feeling frustrated by the professional options available to military spouses, you should check out what types of remote jobs are available.

 

Haley