A lady at work has been coming into the office around 5 am, every day for the past 2 years. She’s often asked why she comes in so early and the reply is always ‘because there’s so much to do’. Recently she has been complaining that although she comes in early, the new recruit is getting all the opportunities she had been longing for, since the past 8 years she has been there even though the new employee does not come in nearly as early as she does.
Upon questioning, the only reason ‘New Girl’ is getting the many opportunities is because she has told everyone, even up to the Directors, what she wants, what she is capable of, where she would like to go and has expressed the fact that she is willing to learn and carry out all the necessary steps to get there. Whereas, ‘Ms 5am’ has only stated where she wants to go to fellow colleagues during cigarette breaks and in the office kitchen.
Sometimes success and progress isn’t how far, it is how well. ‘New Girl’ told the right people and set herself up for the opportunities. ‘Ms 5am’ was only doing the work hoping to get noticed. I by no means am stating that hard work is not beneficial, but at times a little more may need to be done. Don’t just keep complaining; ask for the opportunity. Many times people are apprehensive about asking for such opportunities as not to look ‘pushy’, ‘too ambitious’ (a term I can never seem to get my head around), and impatient, but you have to gage when the time is right and have courage to say something. If it’s not happening alone for you, it is time to act. Sometimes we put ourselves under a great amount of stress working hard, yet ultimately there is no achievement. Work hard, but also work smart.
How you can Work Smart:
- Talk – No one will ever know where you want to go except if you discuss it. It’s not that doing the work will not get you recognised, but if you want something you have to say something, but also to the right people. Let your manager know about your prospects; although this can be intimidating at first, in the long run it could actually be beneficial. Of course, there are ways to go about such a discussion; you don’t want your boss thinking you’re about to just move straight away (even if you are), but let them know where you see yourself in a certain period of time, and if you receive a positive reception discuss how you can proceed to reach such goals. Talking to colleagues who are also in the role or field that you are aspiring to could be beneficial also, even if it’s just learning further about what they do from a first-hand perspective and gaining a few helpful hints or tips.
- Take on tasks which could help you grow in your area of interest. – Take on assignment’s which would help grow your skills in your desired role even if not assigned specifically to you. This does not have to be limited to your place of work however, most especially if your workplace cannot offer it to you; you could be part of a society or join a charity whereby you could be given the opportunity to develop and gain the knowledge you are after.
- Nurture the right professional relationships – Cultivate relationships with those who realise your talent, encourage you to use them and create environments for them to grow.
How do you Work Smart?