Survive Office: 7 (More) Tips For Moving Up Corporate Ladder

By . Filed in How-To Guides

Click here to read Part I.

We spend about a quarter of our life working. Other than choosing a job that provides food on the table and pays our bills, most of us also look for a career with meaning in our life, something which we are happy and passionate to be doing on a day-to-day basis. There’s a certain ideal which we aim for, and it usually takes some career advancement before we can actually reach there.

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Earning that promotion which you dearly want may seem like a daunting task at first sight, especially when you don’t know where to begin. Indeed, we reap what we sow, so it certainly takes some amount of hard work and dedication. However, there are certain aspects of work which you can focus on such that your effort can be realized.

Today, following the last post, we’re going to bring you 7 more valuable tips that cater about your reputation, networking, attitude and ultimately life goals in work.

1. Establish a Positive Reputation

Depending on what you are proficient in and what qualities the organization value for their employees, it is crucial that you build a positive reputation that others can associate you with.

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You can be known as a proactive employee who takes your own initiatives in your work and come out with valuable projects to tackle existing issues at work, or you can come across as a reliable and dependent person who gets work done way before the deadlines. Either way, people will start hearing about you and hand you tasks that allow you to grow professionally in your career.

There’s a catch here, however. Once you’ve develop a good reputation for yourself, the organization’s expectations of you would increase. If you should fail to meet these expectations, the harm to your reputation would be greater than if you didn’t build it in the first place.

Take for instance if you’re known for taking up assignments outside your scope, your fellow co-workers and bosses might start assuming that these are your work. What happens if you start rejecting them? They might think you’re skiving now!

Hence, there’s also a need to manage the expectations of the people who work with you. Make it clear that you’re doing something beyond what you are expected to do, so that your good reputation doesn’t backfire on you.

2. Networking

The amazing thing about networking is that it doesn’t seem to end. When you get to know your co-workers or get in touch with your ex-classmates, they lead you to their contacts as well and it just goes on and on. One thing is that you’ll never know when you’ll meet that somebody crucial that would offer you a job opportunity of a lifetime. The other thing is that it’s always good to socialize and get information on the latest development on each other’s career.

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Always maintain good relationship with people in your network because you might need their help for work someday. That doesn’t mean that you have to be pretentious when you don’t like a particular person; it just means you have to be polite on a professional basis and accept each other’s differences. There’s no concrete rule that says you have to be friends with him or her, so you still can draw the line clearly if you want to.

3. Having Good Relationship with Boss

Among the people you know and those you will get to know through your network, there is one particular person whom you have to work closely with if you want to climb up the ladder. That’s right, it’s your boss.

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Although some people may interpret this as “sucking up” to your boss, it doesn’t necessary have to be this way (if you don’t want to). It just means that you should always maintain a good communication channel with your boss so that he is aware of your aspirations, your progression in your career, your strengths and weaknesses, etc. In other words, he is like a mentor or even a wise teacher who will guide you where you want to go.

Talk to your boss on a regular basis and ask questions when in doubt. If you’re really serious about your advancement, you’ll definitely have some suggestions on how things should be done to improve the work situation. Let your boss see that you’re passionate about what you do and your own life goals, and you’ll earn his or her respect.

Again, you don’t have to be pretentious if you don’t want to. In fact, if you think kissing ass to your boss is a good idea, think again. When words get out that you’re a hypocrite, you might establish yourself a bad rep. It may turn out to be the greatest blow to the respect your co-workers, and even your boss, have for you.

4. Work Outside Your Scope

If you want to grow in your career, you must not constrain yourself within a small pond. Much as it is important that you fulfil what your job scope dictates, you need to step out of the comfort zone every now and then to learn more. Be ready to volunteer for work that will value-add you.

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It’s as if you’re a worker in the assembly line. No doubt every worker is valuable in itself for the entire process, but each worker cannot see the big picture of things because he or she is only assigned with one specific task. The person who oversees everyone and the process is the manager, and it is because of such insight that he has the power to switch the workers around to ensure optimal performance.

Therefore, if you expose yourself to tasks beyond your own, you gain the valuable knowledge on how things are run in the company. You will then make wise decisions and suggestions on how things should be done, thereby establishing yourself a good reputation of being proactive, efficient and insightful.

5. Adhere to the Organization’s Vision

A vision or a mission dictates the direction that the organization is heading to. It’s like the bio-feedback mechanism that exists in organisms to adjust and adapt to the changing environment to ensure survival. In other words, such vision or mission serves as a reference point for us so that the organization doesn’t stray away.

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In times when “the only constant is change“, such vision and mission are ever more practical for organizations. This means that more organizations are valuing them more and spending much resources to ensure that the employees believe in them as well.

If the company’s vision and mission makes sense to you, you will naturally do your work in accordance to them. Since the company believes in them, abiding by these guidelines would be an advantage for your career as you’ll be aligned with company’s progress.

6. Stay Humble, Ask Questions

This tip is especially applicable if you’re new to the organization/industry or a fresh on the job market as a graduate. There are bound to be loads of questions on the various existing work processes, office politics, management styles, etc. This is definitely not a time to be stubborn; this is the time to ask and learn as much as you can. Get familiar with the system and be sociable with your fellow co-workers.

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Even if you may not see eye to eye with certain company policies, accept them at the start. There is a reason why these policies exists, and you may not have been in the organization long enough to recognize their value. At the end of the day, try to adapt to the culture rather than change things initially. Question if you must, but stay open and receptive to what already exists.

If you’ve already been working there for some time, there are still things to clarify, learn and renew yourself. As the saying goes, “pride comes before a fall“, don’t let complacency get into you and end up making a grave mistake.

7. Set Career Goals

Apart from following the values of your organization, you need to have a direction for your life. But since we’re talking about career advancements, this tip will only touch on career goals. However, career and your other life goals can be intrinsically linked.

career goals
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What is your passion? What do you want to do in the long-run? What do you value in life? These are some of the questions you need to consider carefully as you progress along your career. Are you working towards where you want to be? If you are, what are the short-term goals you’ve set, and how are you intending to reach them? Answering these creates a greater sense of meaning in your career and motivates you to advance.

Sure, our needs and wants change with time, as we go into different phases of life: marriage, family, etc. Career goals, as with any of your life goals, are not meant to be cast into stone. They should be flexible and reflect what you truly value. The primary purpose of these goals is not to achieve them; rather, it’s a self-examination of our needs and wants and it sets a direction to head towards to.

Author:

Michael is a freelance blogger and regular contributor for Hongkiat.com. He graduated from the National University of Singapore with a double major in Psychology and Communications & New Media in 2011.He believes in the power of the written word to influence and inspire. An enthusiastic video gamer, Michael is also actively engaged in various physical activities in his spare time.

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