Timeless career success tips – by Frank Ofili36 views
During the last Christmas holiday, my son Frank asked me a question that jolted me for a minute and sent me thinking for several hours. He asked me “what does one need to do to be successful at work?” I was taken aback. Typical of an average Nigerian who answers question with another question, I asked him why he asked, to which he replied, “I’m just curious to know”.
My boy has always boasted that he would be one of the best engineers around, but to think of work even before finishing his tertiary education is for me unthinkable! Nevertheless, the question, innocuous as it seemed to be, sent me scratching my head for answers. Below points are what I came up with.
I have learned these lessons in the course of my own career, and also through studying the habits of some people I know who have made a success of their own careers. Advancement in technology has come with rapid changes in the world of work. However, these lessons are just as important today. Yours may be different, so feel free to add to the list.
- Be on time.
While it may sound simple and basic, the importance of this work habit cannot be over-emphasized. I know some who learnt this all-important work habit the hard way. Being on time is not just for the work itself, meetings or for important clients or your boss, but it is also a way to show respect (or disrespect) for everyone. Imagine that you have a scheduled appointment and you arrive late. What would the other party think of you?
- Be nice to people.
Be nice to all. Not selectively nice, but consistently nice to everyone. Working with difficult people is probably the thing that most people hate about their jobs. Being easy to work with can make up for a lot of other short-comings.
- Say nice things about your boss or co-workers.
Always assume that whatever you say about someone will get back to them at some point. So say nice things behind their backs. When someone is gossiping about someone else, assume they are gossiping about you too.
- Maintain good relationship
Relationships are the foundation of how work gets done. Maintaining good relationship is not just about your personal life, but more importantly about your job. It entails having good team spirit and interpersonal relations, because ultimately everyone must at some point belong to a team. In today’s networked society, it is more important now than ever.
- Focus on what is really important.
For some, work comes first before family. This is evidently a fall out of today’s economic realities. It ought to be family first before work, although some might argue that you need work to sustain the family. True, but the fact is you have family first before you have work. By God, work hard but do not become a workaholic to the point of losing sight of your health, family or relationships. These give you the emotional balance that enables you to succeed at work. In today’s economic realities, much more is demanded from parents in order to make ends meet. Sometimes you find both parents having to work long hours into the night. This, coupled with the rigors of urban life, invariably takes a toll on their health and family life. In fact, in Lagos for example, the situation is becoming such that some working mothers hardly have time to cook for their family. You find them contracting domestic chores such as soup preparation to vendors, or buying it outright from mega stores like Shoprite. This phenomenon is especially prevalent with corporate women. So, the bottomline is to work smart, not necessarily so hard, so that you can have time for family and leisure.
- Be a continuous Learner
Have a healthy appetite for new knowledge. Make it a point to add one bullet point to your resume every year. Develop yourself while you work. Undertake training seminars. If you can afford the time and resources, seek higher degrees, or venture into new terrains. Never be satisfied with what you currently know. Seek to know more.
- Do not complain
If you do not like something about your job, boss, or co-workers, you have 3 choices: Do something to make it better, accept it, or leave. Complaining about it will only irritate your co-workers, friends, and family and not change anything.
- If you have to resign your job, do it gracefully.
If you have to resign your job, do it gracefully. Never burn bridges, even if you feel that you have been treated unfairly. Remember, that your current employer would most likely do a background check from your previous employers. So, always strive to leave behind a trial of glowing recommendations.
- Network all the time
Maintain good contacts. Good networking is about looking for opportunities to help others, not just asking others for favors.
- Be a proposer, not an order-taker.
Yes we are all paid to do as we are instructed, but real success comes from coming up with new ideas that no one is asking for. Your ideas may not always be readily accepted, but they sure stand you out in the eyes of your employers.
- Have a can-do, positive attitude.
Look for possibilities, not just problems. Do not ever say that something cannot be done. Nothing truly is impossible, and no one problem has only one solution. Always look for positive ways to solve a problem. Positive and negative attitudes are extremely contagious.
- Never Compromise on ethics or integrity,
When faced with an ethical issue, ask yourself if you would be comfortable with your conduct being subjected to public scrutiny. Never allow yourself to be in a situation where you ask yourself “what are the chances of getting caught?” That presupposes you are about to do something morally wrong. So never compromise your ethics. It is the one thing where the “we get paid to do what we are told” rule gets overruled.