I’ve had a slew of different jobs and while each environment has its own challenges and expectations, there are some simple things that really go a long way in the professional world. It may be a process to find the right place for you and the right people to work with, but here are a few tips to help you along the way.
1. Show Up Early.
This is a habit that I just can’t help but it's a great habit to have. I’m not perfect, and I do tend to be late sometimes, but being early to meetings, or work of any kind can prepare you to be in the right frame of mind for the day ahead and give you a window of time to gather your thoughts for any challenges that may arise.
2. Know the Personal Preferences.
In any work environment there are the professional expectations of the employer, and then there are the personal preferences of the employer. I have found that if you know the personal preferences as well as the normal professional expectations, you will be ahead of the game. Pay attention to the little things and be prepared to put in a little effort, higher-ups will notice and will appreciate your attention to detail.
3. Challenge Yourself.
This job may not be your career forever, but it can serve a purpose and in order for it to do that, you have to be open to the challenges that feel overwhelming. In any opportunity to stretch out of your comfort zone, take it. I promise it will prove worth the learning experience. At the end of the day, you can reflect on how you proved that you could do more than you thought you could and you will thank yourself for it.
Issues in work environments can be so touchy. I once worked
in an office environment that had some “drama issues” that were not only ever
discussed but were also being made worse daily. This is not healthy for anyone.
If at any point there is an issue between co-workers, or if there is a problem
that needs to be addressed between people, it is better to bring it out in the
open and air it out. It makes for a much better office vibe, though it may be uncomfortable, it will be for the best.
Some people might describe this as “Wherever you are, be all there”, and it’s true! It’s so easy in our culture to be distracted and to lose focus. Whatever conversation you are in, or whatever you are working on, make sure that you are giving it your full attention. You will accomplish more and you will be more relaxed overall as an individual because you are taking on one thing at a time.
6. Put in the Extra Time.
Going the extra mile for the difficult customer or putting in a little time helps you build trust with people and allows your employer to gain confidence in you. This
is not always easy as it takes time and can mean doing the dirty work, but this
is one of the best things you can do to gain respect and credibility with the
people that you are working alongside. It's just one more way to show people that you care and that you are willing to serve.
7. Dress accordingly.
Men don’t know how to have this conversation. Example, President Trump: “dress like a woman”, but seriously ask the question directly. Know the exact parameters and eliminate any question you may have in the way of wardrobe. It will give you confidence when working and help you feel good about yourself.And it may seem obvious, but then you wear something that is out of place and you know that the conversation is important. Save yourself the awkwardness and have the conversation sooner rather than later.
This one goes back to communication. But the truth of the matter is that conflict will always take place. The best thing you can do in any conflict is to be a good listener. Be aware of the people around you and their needs. Sensitivity and empathy can go a long way when working with people. It shows them that you are genuinely caring about unpacking the problem and reaching a common ground. So listen and let others do the talking so that harmony can really take place within your work environment.
9. Never stop learning.
As adult, we forget that we can still learn. To be willing to learn, we have to have humility in going forward. It may sometimes feel like you have “arrived” and that there is no need to learn from mistakes that are made, but there is always room for growth. In order to let growth take place, be willing to learn.
10. Be Yourself.This is so important. It sounds so cliché, but it’s one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my adult life. If you are not able to fully be yourself in a working environment, it may not be the place for you. You will only be able to grow in a place that first allows you to breathe freely in expressing yourself. Being yourself allows you to do what only you can do to your full potential, and in the right place, people will appreciate you all the more because you are yourself.
Hope you have found these little tips helpful. If you've learned something in a professional environment, feel free to share in the comments!