Work in General
Below are some tips for guys just starting work (and really anybody working a job).
Depending on your job you might find it difficult to implement all of these ideas – you might simply have fixed work or be told what to do and how to do it – without being able to come up with ways to do it better.
- If possible try to understand Why?
People will often explain to you WHAT to do. But they don’t always explain WHY. You don’t always need to know the WHY, but sometimes it can help a lot with the WHAT.
For example you might realise that you could do extra of the WHAT to make sure you do better at covering the WHY.
For example – Often at clothing stores now they don’t ask “Can I help you” they just ask “How are you doing?”. The boss has probably explained the WHAT (to talk to the customers) but also the WHY (so that people buy something, or enjoy the experience more).
Clothing store bosses realise that people often don’t need help (or if they do they will ask you) – so don’t want to turn people off by having their staff harass customers.
Put this into action – LISTEN and practice active listening
Listen to what you are told to do.
Then you might sometimes repeat back your understanding of what you are doing (and perhaps the WHY you are doing it).
2. Big picture – you are being paid to…
You are employed to do your work and to make your boss money. The more money you make your boss – the more likely you are to be promoted, paid more money, get better work to do, etc. This won’t happen overnight but this is a key factor.
Ways to make your boss more money:
Be efficient – learn to do what you do efficiently. Maybe there is a better way to do what you do?
Be effective – being effective means getting results. Paretos principle – the 80/20 rule means 80% of the results come from 20% of the work. It is also that 80% profits of the business come from the 20% of the biggest customers. So you might focus on the work that gets the most results, or the biggest clients, etc.
Part of being effective might also mean prioritising or even not doing work. For example filing – it probably has to be done eventually – but might not be your first priority. Or course – if you are a filing clerk then it probably is your first priority, but you get what I mean.
Another part of being effective means asking questions to do things the best way. Or asking questions if you get stuck. Your time is valuable – no point wasting it doing the wrong thing or not being able to do something because you are stuck – get help straight away.
3. Remember -You are an important part of the team
Just because you are the new guy – you are important. Particularly if there was nobody to do the photocopying – where would we be?
If your job didn’t need to be done – you probably wouldn’t be employed (OK granted there might be a training period of a year or two before you are expected to ‘pull your weight’).
4. Try to be motivated
You might be given boring work to do. – do it to the best of your ability
Or you might feel you are capable of so much more than the work that you have been given. – show how well you do the work that you are given and you will be (one day) be given better work.
Everyone starts from the bottom (OK that is a lie – maybe you get a Doctorate and start from middle management). But starting from the bottom is a great way to really understand the detail of what goes on.
Because I started from the bottom –I still get a lot of detail questions from those above me who usually don’t need the details.
5. Don’t reinvent the wheel – copy someone elses best way, precedent, etc.
In school and uni, you get an assignment/essay and you start from scratch to prepare it (and maybe search the net for some quotes for your essay).
Depending on the work that you do – it is very likely someone has done something very similar or the same to what you have done.
For example – preparing a tax return – look at the tax return prepared last year.
Preparing a letter to a client – check if there is a “standard” letter or similar letter sent.