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How To Be Successful In Any Job
by Keith Rawlinson
Volunteer Budget Counselor
you are starting a new job, or you have been in the same job for quite
some time, you can be successful in that job. Now understand
I'm not saying you will become rich or will be promoted to a high
position in the company, I said you can be successful.
Most jobs sort of have a built-in limit to how much money you
will be paid and how high up you can be promoted, so those aren't the
things I'm talking about when I say 'successful.'
success in a job?
To me, success in any job means:
Being able to do that job well.
Feeling some sense of accomplishment .
Attaining the highest pay and position that job allows.
Being noticed and respected by your boss.
Being one of the last employees your company would want to
The key to success on the job is to stand out and be noticed.
As with many other worthwhile things in life, success at work is not an easy thing to
attain, but this actually works to your advantage. If being
successful at a job were easy, then everyone would be doing it and that
wouldn't leave much room for you to stand out. Doing the
needed to be successful in your job, is hard work, and since most people
shy away from hard work, the opportunity to stand out is yours for the
what are the things that need to be done to be successful in any job?
Well, first you need to realize that, right now, there is a
in American businesses. That crisis is trying to find
conscientious, hard-working, loyal, dependable employees who are
willing to work and take their jobs seriously. Finding good,
hardworking employees is very, very difficult to do these days.
personally know, and talk with, a lot of people who work in management,
or who own their own businesses, and I have yet to find even one
who disagrees. So, all you have to do to stand out and be
successful in your job, is to be a solution to the problem instead of
being part of the problem. It is very likely that you will be
considered a "brown noser" by your fellow employees.
may see you as a 'goodie-goodie' trying to make them look bad.
Just keep in mind that you are there for you and for your
employer. Always be polite and try to get along with
but don't worry if they become angry or dislike you because you are
willing to do the things that they are not willing to do to be
successful at work. Okay, here we go, here's how to be
in any job--these guidelines apply whether you are a cashier, or a CEO, and it doesn't matter if you are working at a
fast-food restaurant or a Fortune 500 corporation.
and most important, is your attitude. You have to be pleasant
and conduct yourself in a way that says that you want to be there. If you are one of those
who constantly complain about your work or your company, you are not
going to stand out. You may think that you are just grumbling
under your breath or talking to someone in private, but believe me,
word gets around and your boss knows who has a good attitude and who
does not. Here's a good rule to follow: never
say anything about your job, your boss, your company or your co-workers
that you would not want getting back to them--chances
very good that whatever you say, will get back to them. So,
your fellow employees are standing around complaining about their
employer, making fun of the boss, or gossiping about co-workers, don't
get involved. Don't make the same mistake they're making.
Just by not being one to constantly gripe, you are already
standing out from the crowd. I don't mean you can never have
complaint, I'm talking about petty griping. If you have a
legitimate complaint or problem, follow your company's procedure for
making it known, and do
Also, if it is something that really doesn't matter, then you
might want to consider just letting it go. Save your
for important things so you will be seen as a problem solver instead of
a complainer. A good rule to follow when it comes to
is this: try to
only complain about things that directly and significantly
affect health, safety or your ability to do what is required of you.
be respectful to your employer, your co-workers and your boss.
Even if your boss is a jerk (I've known a few of those) you
to show respect. You don't have to like your boss and you
have to be friends with your boss, but you do
have to respect your boss. Besides, if your boss really is a
jerk, he is more likely to make things hard on you for being
disrespectful. Being respectful to co-workers is just as
important. You have to be around these people every day and
can be a miserable thing if everyone is being nasty with each other.
As with the boss, even if a co-worker is a jerk, you can
respectful. That doesn't mean you agree with everything they
it means that you disagree with them respectfully, you don't get into arguments, you don't call them names,
you don't sabotage their work and you don't gossip about them.
And please think very hard before getting into any kind of
argument with your boss. You may be the one who's right, but
have to ask yourself if it is really worth the possible consequences?
If a promotion or opportunity comes up, do you think the boss
going to want to give it to someone who argues with him?
may be times in business when a disagreement with your boss is
necessary, but before you openly disagree with your boss, ask yourself
if it's really that important? Is it something you can
just overlook and let it go? Is it something that is truly
the risk of getting on the boss's or company's bad side? If
really is worth it, then of course go ahead; otherwise, it may be best
to just let it go for the sake of your employment and your future.
brag about your accomplishments, just wait for them to be noticed.
If you brag about your accomplishments, you may be seen as a
showoff, and appear to be insincere and trying too hard.
pretend to know things you don't. Just be honest and say that
don't know. If you pretend to know things you don't, you may
think you are fooling people, and at first you may be, but sooner or
later others will start to see right through it. After a
you will likely be seen as an annoying know-it-all by both your
co-workers and your boss. When you do know something, show it
doing it. When you don't know something, just come right out
admit it, then go learn it so you will know it for next time.
express false humility. When someone pays you a compliment
try to be modest by saying things like "It was nothing," or
"It really wasn't that great." or "I
could have done
better." For one thing, your accomplishments may not seem
big deal to you, but may be quite impressive to others. When
someone tells you that you did a nice job and you deny it, you are
basically calling them a liar and making their compliment
worthless--not to mention possibly hurting their feelings.
someone pays you a compliment, just smile and say a sincere "thank
you." That's all you have to do. They feel good
you feel good about it and everyone wins. Plus, just saying a
simple thank you when you are paid a compliment makes you appear to be
a more honest and sincere person.
of the most common traits you'll likely see in people who just don't seem to
get anywhere in their lives, is laziness. Just take a
most companies: people try to avoid work, they extend their
breaks, extend their lunches, come in late and leave early.
may think they are getting away with it, but usually the boss knows who
these people are. You need to be the one who comes in a
bit early and occasionally leaves a little bit late. You need
be the one who comes back from break and lunch on time and works
consistently throughout the day. I'm not saying you have to
yourself out until you collapse in exhaustion, but you do need to do
the work that is expected of you and you need to be working
consistently all day long. Trust me, this is unusual in most
places of employment and will, sooner or later, be noticed.
just do your work, but really strive to do your work well. I
promise you that quality work is important and will, eventually, be
noticed. Why? Because it is so unusual.
employees just want to do the least amount of work possible.
make it fast and easy on themselves by sacrificing quality or taking shortcuts.
pride in your work. Whether you are designing spacecraft for
or flipping burgers at a fast-food restaurant, put your best
effort into it. Make your work count. Let
show that you care and that you are good at your job. When
work is presented to the boss or to the customer, feel proud that they
are getting a quality product because you cared enough to do excellent
work. Your co-workers may make fun of you for making the
effort to produce quality work, but they are average and you are standing
out from the crowd.
important person in any business.
most important person in any business is the customer.
the customer, there is no business. There isn't a single
on the planet that would make it without customers. I'm sure
you've heard the saying "the customer is always right,"
well, it isn't true. The customer is not always right;
but the customer is
always the customer! What this means is that you have to
customers as if they are the most important people in the world whether
they are right or not. And why should customers be treated as
they are the most important people in your business? Because
Smile when dealing
with customers. Make the customer feel like you are truly
that they are there (as you should actually be). Try to put
yourself in their place. How would you want to be treated?
Try to make that customer want to come back even if they have
complaint. And whatever you do, don't take it personally when
customer is rude or contentious. Be polite, be calm, be
professional and take care of that customer as best you can.
Even when customers are wrong, try to be calm and polite when
dealing with them. If at all possible, let the customer have
repeat customer is a very valuable thing to a business. If
deal well with customers, they may even start to ask for you by name
when coming into your business. Now that's something that
get you noticed by the boss!
Above and beyond.
be afraid to go a little above and beyond the call of duty.
other words, be the employee who is willing to do a little extra work
when needed. I don't mean that you should do other people's
for them or that you should let yourself be taken advantage of, but be
willing to do a little extra to help out your boss or to help out your
employer. Let your co-workers be the ones saying "that's not
job, that's not my responsibility, I don't have to do that."
You will be the one saying "sure, I can take care of that for
you." And maybe it really isn't your responsibility, maybe it
something you shouldn't have to do--but because you want to be
successful and get ahead, you're willing to do it anyway.
something that stands out and gets you noticed. Don't ever
that, while you are on the job, your time is not your own.
employer bought that time from you and it belongs to them--that's why
you get paid. So, as long as you aren't being asked to do
something illegal or unethical, and as long as your employer is making
a reasonable request, be willing to step in and help out.
Knowledge truly is power.
here is some workplace advice you won't see very often: once
learn to do your own job well, start taking the time to learn other
jobs at work--especially jobs that are the next step up from your
position, or are jobs you would like to be doing. If you ask in the right way, many of your
will be happy to show off their skills and show you what they do.
Sometimes, depending upon the situation, the boss may even be
willing to help you learn some other jobs at work. This
mean you have to actually start doing these extra jobs, but it
does mean that, when the boss needs someone to fill in for another
position and there is no one available who knows the job, you can step
right in and take care of it. It makes sense that if a
becomes available for a job you already know how to do, you would be
the natural choice to fill that position. That is exactly
this suggestion accomplishes--helping you to move up and get
promotions. Another thing it accomplishes is making you one
the last people your employer would want to lay off. Why lay
someone who can already do several different jobs?
(This is important so please read it)
doing all of the things we just discussed easy? Absolutely
It is very difficult; but that is why most people don't do
and that is why you stand out when you do. I'm not naive
to think that you can do all of these things perfectly every single
day. There will be days you mess up. When that
pull yourself together and get back on track.
It is very
important that you be realistic in your expectations when it comes to
employment. Don't expect to start in the mail room at the age
18 and be CEO by age 21. It is not realistic to expect to
that much in just three years. You should first just
on being the best mail room employee you can be. You also need to be
aware that your level of training and education also puts a limit on
how far you can go in any particular job. If you dropped out
high school, it's not fair to expect the same pay and opportunity that
high school graduates get. If you graduated high school, but
have a college degree, don't get your heart set on moving into a job
that requires a degree unless you are willing to first go out and get that
Don't fall into the trap of saying "I work as hard as
people with degrees do so I deserve the same pay they get."
perfectly honest, pay level is most often more about the training, education
and skills you have, than about the work that you do.
quite honestly, you don't
deserve as much pay as someone who has training or a degree
you don't have. If you refuse to admit to yourself that your
level of education and training puts a limit on how much you can
accomplish in the job market, you will never
be satisfied on the job. You will always feel like you are
entitled to the same things as people with a higher education, when you
aren't. That is why the goal at work isn't to become rich or
up to top management. The goal is to go as far as you can,
earn as high a wage as you can, for your education, training and skill
level. If you want a better position or more money, then by
means go out and get that additional education and training; then,
apply the things you've learned here to your new job when you get it.
It is true that when it comes to opportunities in the world
work, education is
all, be patient. This all takes time. Sometimes,
bit of time. If you really make an honest effort to do the
you have learned in this article, you will be noticed by the management
at work--it may take a while, but you will
be noticed. I can say that because I know how rare a good,
polite, respectful, hard-working employee really is. They are
difficult to find, and employers like to hang onto them. If you
such an employee, you will be given opportunity that others won't, you
will be able to earn more pay than your peers can, and you will get
more respect and leeway from your boss. When it comes to
successful at work, just remember this one thing...
The secret to
being successful in any job:
Strive to be the best employee your company has ever seen!
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