Wednesday, November 25, 2009

How to be a Top Dog...Without Drooling on Everyone

When it comes to working in industry, you will learn over time that there is a delicate line between being at the top of your game and being at the top of your game while keeping the peace with co-workers. While it is advisable for you to apply yourself at work and take care of your responsibilities, it is important to keep several details in mind. When you first start at a job, it is important for you to jump into the learning curve with both feet. Ask questions, seek answers, and find out who has the information you need. Always say "thank you" and try not to inconvenience people to the point of annoyance. The first few weeks on a new job are some of the most important. This can also be the time that you ask the questions that no one has thought of before or that defy the "rules" set by co-workers who have been staring at a problem so long that simple solutions may have been ruled out years ago for no good reason. A fresh perspective can be a HUGE asset!

Another detail that needs to be considered when you're a high achiever at work (I'm avoiding the term over-achiever) is to consider how your big successes affect other people. While coming up with the greatest new project is fantastic, you need to consider how it plays into the lives of everyone else. If you were given assistance on your project by anyone, it is important to acknowledge their involvement. Contrary to some thoughts, going it alone is not always best. If you have asked the appropriate sources for extra information and assistance and acknowledge that, it shows that you are not trying to hog the spot light and that you have done your research. Also, when you propose a project you need to consider the project scope from multiple roles. You should look at the project from an operations stand point, financial perspective, and give it a thorough technical review. Is your project going to benefit the company long term? Will this be a source of financial gain for the company? Is this project going to put your manufacturing floor at risk? What do you need to do to prevent health, environmental and safety accidents from happening? As many of my co-workers at a certain oil refinery said, if something is dangerous, you need to engineer the safety into it. This means reinforcing structures to add more support, adding in secure rails to tie off a harness to and clearly marking all safety and health risks.

The last detail to cover is something I've mentioned several times in the past. In many and almost all cases, respect leads to respect. If you respect someone's opinions, etc. (this doesn't mean you have to agree with them), there is a solid chance they will respect you in return or at least feel obliged to act respectfully towards you. Keep this in mind while working on projects that put you at risk of stepping all over people's toes. If you are informative and take responsibility for your successes and failures, you will hopefully succeed in winning over their approval. While there are always going to be people who don't want to have anything to do with you or your new project, in many cases, utilizing these tips will help you succeed.

That's about all for now. I'll be back next week for more fun with Eva McSpartan. If you have any questions please send them to or comment on an entry.

Like always,

Good Luck Job Seekers!
...and GOBBLE GOBBLE! Happy Thanksgiving!

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