Saturday, October 11, 2008

Movin' on up

It's late September and I really should be back at school - but that was nearly thirty years back for me and the boat has sailed. So late September or early October just means review time for me and the folks that I keep amused.

Top questions this quarter;

How do I move up?
When do I get a promotion?
Do I get a raise for attaining this certificate, degree, tenure?

It's got me thinking a lot about who moves up, who doesn't, and why. Or at least I'm thinking about who I want to help and who I don't care so much about helping. So here are some attributes in no particular order:

Focus more on making my life better. I don't mean kiss my ass or pick up my cleaning. I mean get better at your job so I can deliver good news in meetings with my boss.

Focus more on making your teammates lives better. Come up with, and share, better ways of accomplishing the mission. Cross train in their job so you can back them up when needed. Smile instead of frown. Acknowledge their value to the team and help them get better too. Give credit whenever you can - it makes you look better and builds trust.

Focus on making our customers happy and comfortable. Our customer is anybody we deal with outside the team - even the folks who service our requests. Be polite, humble, and easy to deal with even when the customer is wrong or is acting like an ass. I'll step in during those occasions and get things straightened out for you.

Get passionate about what you do, or find out what already turns you on and do more of that. Nothing is more frustrating to me than a smart person who just does what I tell them to do. I don't have the time, or inclination to tell you everything - show some initiative. If what you want to do is in a different area of the company I'll help you get there, if I believe your story. It's better though if you're excited about the job you have and want to make improvements there.

Think big and persevere. It can be frustrating because organizations resist change with more vigor than they do anything else; think big anyway and keep pushing forward a fraction of a step at a time toward those goals; it always takes longer than we want and still happens faster than we realized if we just keep moving.

Do the above and quit worrying about your career progression so much. The people that do this stuff have me working on their career even if they don't know it.

Thanks for reading - Mike


duane said...


your first suggestion...

a chief once told me the most important part of my job was to make my boss look good.


Jill Valentine said...

There is one thing that will make your life better (and easier):

You have to love what you do.

Love is ridiculous and you make stupid things for love, and since having to work late, on weekends or break your head just by looking a monitor is stupid, you will do it happily, just because you are in love.

lauran said...

I really like this post.
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Mike Coon said...

You're right Jill. I am fortunate that I have enjoyed all my jobs over the last thirty years.